Being a missionary is often a lonely calling. Some of us are fortunate to live in a great community of other missionaries, others work in a place where they are alone. But to be alone is defined in many ways. I can be alone when I am surrounded by a crowd of people. I can be alone because there is no one like me for 100 miles. I can be alone because I am fighting a spiritual battle and have isolated myself from others.
A missionary is always alone in some way or another because very few have experienced what he/she has experienced. Whether in their homeland or their “other” home, they are different than most people around them. But we need friends.
We need support from coworkers, our agency, nationals, and supporters. We need friends that are there for us not just praying but also asking questions, even when they cannot understand the answer. I ran across a great article from A Life Overseas That One Safe Friend.
I wish I had known this before. I wish I could share this with everyone that comes out here. I wish I had that friend. Since being in the middle of no where, I had friends that Have come and gone. I have some I made while they worked alongside me, but when they left the communications faded. Others have moved into authoritative roles which means I cannot bear my heart out to them like I used to. Others have faded away because life has taken them away from the Lord.
I had friends that used to ask the hard questions, but somehow this role I have has changed that. I am too far away, communication was so little for so long that we lost touch, they don’t like to write (I hate that excuse because it is the only way I can communicate!). Some think I am a spiritual leader and they are not so they cannot ask me those tough questions. – Hey I’m human!!!
All my friends have now gotten married and I am still single. They have lives with kids and husbands and we have so little in common anymore. It is all excuses.
Anyway, I can go on and on, but I recommend you read the article and find that friend. I will be searching for my “safe friend”.