Ongs in Malawi



6-month blues?

Posted on January 20, 2013 at 1:25 PM

On Friday, we celebrated our 6 month anniversary in Malawi.

Wow how time has flown. On the one hand it feels like we have been here forever, on the other hand, it feels like we only just arrived yesterday!

They say 6 months is when you hit the '6-month-blues'. When the frustration of language hits you and you hit the peak of homesickness.

As we approached the 6 month mark, we prepared for the worst and so far it has been ok. My theory is that when you are a family with kids, the homesick blues hits you earlier, as I remember feeling very down at around 3 months. As a parent, on top of being culturally overwhelmed and trying to adjust to a new country yourself, you also bear the weight of shouldering the emotions of your children as they too find their place in a new land whilst at the same time grieving all that they left behind, yet lacking the understanding to make sense of it all. I would have to say that has been the hardest thing since arriving in Malawi, but we continue to be amazed at how God has given our kids a love for Malawi and nurtured their blossoming confidence to operate in their new surroundings.

A lot has happened in the past 6 months. God has been our rock and has carried us through so much. He has enabled us to get a grasp of a new language. He has sustained us when we have been sick. He has protected us when Pete was in hospital. He has helped Caya learn to walk and talk. He has given Teaghan and Lucas the courage and confidence to make new friends. He has given us strength to get our home set up. He has blessed us with 6 pets plus fish. The new-to-the-country fog is starting to lift at the foot of our Malawian mountain.

Now that we are settled into our new home and finding places to buy things, I'm beginnig to see that the sacrifice of leaving Australia has not so much been material but relational. God has blessed us with every material thing we need here as well as given us contentment where we're lacking. But the distance between us and friends and family back home will always be felt.

The hardest thing has been taking the kids away from their grandparents. It has been heartbreaking to watch them miss Grammy, Grandma & Grandpa with all their hearts, particularly for Teaghan who sobbed and sobbed at the airport as she farewelled her beloved Grammy who she misses having tea parties with.

6 months on and we're starting to miss being there for friends. We miss being there for birthdays, pregnancies, births, engagements, weddings, crisis, dramas, etc. While we were in Australia, we deinifitely took for granted the ease with which we could communicate with friends to be a listening ear during times of trouble or share a simple hug during times of joy.

With time, we know it wil get easier.

With time, we know we will make new friends.

New friends will never replace old friends but will sure distract us from missing them.

But for now, we feel the distance.

For now, we thank God for email, Skype, and Facebook :)

~ Jo

Us on our first day in Malawi

Us on our 6-month anniversary in Malawi 

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Reply Rachel
2:24 AM on January 21, 2013 
Thankyou for sharing so honestly. 6 months already! I so empathise with the difficulty of leaving behind people vs. material things... we're looking at moving to Sydney to go to bible college, I will miss my support network and they'll only be 3 hours away! We've been praying for your family with our children at night, thanks again for this post that will help guide our prayers for you. We'll continue to pray that you will be strengthened as a family and within the community that you're in, and that you will be blessed by Him as you are blessing others :)
Reply Emily
2:29 AM on January 21, 2013 
It's so amazing what you're doing. Thank God for people like you! Praying for peace, safety and support for your family.
Reply howard zhang
7:32 PM on January 27, 2013 
Hi Peter and Joanne,

I just read about your mission newsletter in Malawi from my church.
I hope Peter will get well a.s.a.p and may God bless him and heal him.
All best wishes to your family , mum and three kids.

Psalm 41:3 (KJ21)

3 The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing; Thou wilt turn him on his bed in his sickness.

In Jesus
Reply amy monty
9:16 PM on February 8, 2013 
Praying for you guys... :)