Ongs in Malawi



"How ARE you?"

Posted on November 18, 2009 at 4:50 AM

Generally, before you can go on missions, you need to raise financial support and prayer. To do this, you go around churches and share with them your plans. This comes once your application is successful.


Financial and prayer support is important, but what about emotional support?


Having been on a short term mission before, I know that can be easier for people to pledge prayer and even financial support than it is to maintain emotional support. Yes, it's great to know that people are praying and that we have food on the table to eat, but it is also important to know that people haven’t forgotten you. When I was all by my lonesome self in Ethiopia last time (Pete was stationed in a rural part with only twice-daily publicly broadcasted radio contact), I remember wishing that people from home would email me. Having said all that, I too am guilty of not keeping in touch with missionary friends.


I've been feeling depressed and down lately. Feeling like nobody cares. I feel that no one cares enough to listen to me. Like talking to a brick wall. I'm feeling anti-social and hiding away from people.


This feels all too familiar. I've been here before. I was here years ago in my 'Dark Days'. I thought it was strange that this was happening again now. I thought I was better now. I thought I was over that. Out of the valley.


It all started when I got upset after what I felt was a lack of response from friends after sending out a message about how I was going. Is this what sending out missionary newsletters is like?


4 weeks on, and it finally dawned on me last night. This is a 'spiritual attack'. This is Satan's way of snuffing out my passion for missions, finally rekindled after being 'in the wilderness' for years. This is the first time I'd felt like this since my Dark Days, though not to the same degree. He's doing this now because things have been hotting up in the past few weeks as we began the application process to SIM. The devil is trying to bring me down because he knows this is where I'm vulnerable. My greatest weakness is the need for friends to show care. I was just sharing with my Bible Study group this week that I was worried because if I've been feeling depressed and 'friendless' now though I'm surrounded by friends, how then will I survive being away from all this in the middle of Africa?? How can I go on the mission field??


This is exactly what the Enemy wants me to feel!!


I know Jesus is my friend and he is all that I need, but sometimes I also just need to ‘see’ Jesus through people, to feel a hug, to hear a kind word.


So where to from here? I think it might be wise for us to begin to make plans to raise 'emotional support' for when we leave for Africa, to form a 'home support team', as suggested by a friend from my Bible Study group. We need to form a group of close friends who will pledge to maintain emotional support. I've heard that there are mission agencies out there who train up friends and family at home to care for missionaries, to educate them about the emotional peaks and troughs of missionary life, so people know how to show care. What a superb idea!


Perhaps part of the 'training' to care for the Ongs, would be for me to tell friends how I need to be cared for. Everyone perceives care differently. I'm sure people care, but people just have different ways of showing it. All I need is friends to sincerely asks me, from time to time, the simple question of "How ARE you?" and listen when I tell them. What I need is for friends to care and ask me how I'm going in the everyday things of life, not just when I'm in crisis mode. I don't need dinner made for me. I don’t need a babysitter. I just need a message. I don't need an essay, I just need a simple "how are you? thinking of you".


I know :o) As one of my close friends told Pete at our engagement party: "You know Jo's high maintenance, right?!!" :o)


I am, but like anything, the more effort you put in, the more satisfying the results :o)

Categories: Thoughts, 2009

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