I read this post from my friend Maureen, who is living and serving in Israel. I totally understand and relate to what she shared and it made me stop to think of others I know living away from friends and family, especially those living in other countries.
Being on the mission field, loving on people from another culture and striving to share Jesus with them can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. At the same time, it can also be one of the most challenging ones. It's not so easy to just pick up the phone and call someone we love when we are feeling sad and lonely because of the cost and time differences. It's not possible to hop in the car and drive to be with family for a wedding, tragedy, or other important family function. Being far from family and friends has definitely been the hardest part for me during my time in Botswana. I don't regret being here at all, but do feel sad for the things I've missed out on and the people I rarely get to talk to.
Some friends recently shared about this website, http://www.incourage.me/, and it looks like it's going to be a great one to visit! One of the posts asked for people to share what encourages them. That's what inspired Maureen's blog post and I'd like to answer it too. For me it is the simple things that really encourage me. An email saying hello or sharing inspiration with me, a card with a heartfelt message in it, spending time with people over coffee or a meal just talking and enjoying each other's company, a small gift that shows someone was thinking of me, and of course, hugs!
I'm so thankful for every person who's emailed me, followed my blog, sent me a card or package, or called me on the phone over the past year and a half of being away from home. I just want to encourage you today that if you know any missionaries or even someone doing other work far from home, could you do something small today to let them know you are thinking of them? If you don't know anyone personally, you can check out the blogs of a few missionaries I know and leave them a comment just to let them know they are appreciated. (You can find those links on the bottom, right hand side of my blog.) It will mean much more than you know! And don't stop there. Find someone close to you who needs uplifting and encourage away! :)
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11