25 July, 2009

Yah for friends

I didn't realise how much I missed friends until the last couple of days. Our heads have been down. Focussed on getting boys settled into school, getting our house liveable and our Australian lives up and running. Not, on catching up with friends.

We've not lived in this particular corner of South East Queensland before and we have almost no close friends nearby. So, most of our conversations have been with people who we either have never met before or who are only vaguely familiar with us and our 'edge of ordinary' lifestyle. Hence a lot of the "what do you do?" conversations. That is tiring and stressful, even for an extrovert.

 Yesterday afternoon and into the evening I struggled with our internet service. It kept dropping out. Because I was trying to book aeroplane tickets simultaneously with a friend in another part of the city, it became a hugely stressful situation. (Long story about why I needed to do so, which will wait until another blog.) I was additionally pressed for time because a group of friends were coming to visit us in the evening.

The tickets got booked, in the end, but our visitors copped a bit of an earful. Not all complaints, but simply an overflow of lots of things that have happened in the last couple of weeks which I haven't been able to share with our new acquaintances.

 My husband gleefully observed as we flopped into bed last night, that I'd hardly stopped talking all evening. Not too unusual for me in a social situation, but last night I felt particularly pressed to share lots of stuff, and not all of it important to my listeners!

 Thankfully they are good friends. Actually they have a special place in our lives. The Australian branch of our mission insists that all missionaries have a group called a Home Ministry Committee or HMT. These are the people who've been finding us a car to drive, a house to live in, furniture to fill it and people to move the stuff.

They've been busy on many fronts and praying too. We are incredibly grateful for their ministry in our lives. Some of them are part of our home church and the rest were also part of the same church at one time. They only number nine adults (and eight kids, not counting adult children), but we are blessed because of them. Last night their main ministry to us was being friends and actively listening to the many things which have been going on for us. 

Today we visited friends, very good friends, whom we haven't seen for four years. It is the first time in nine years since we've lived within an hour's drive from each other. Nine years ago when we said goodbye to them at the airport, we had three children between us, now we have eight (seven are boys!). Much has changed. Little has changed. That is the way it is with good friends.

Oh, how I've missed them (and others). And I'm looking forward to spending more time with them during this year in Australia.

Moving overseas away from your support systems makes you more independent. It is easy to forget after a while that God designed us for long-term relationships. It is shocking to remember what it is like to have friends who knew you before you became a missionary. And to realise that you have stopped feeling that lack in your life.

 Praise God for friends. Specifically I praise Him for the timing of the visits with these particular friends, before I started to get too stressed by my lack of social life.


Shan in Japan said...

Amen! I loved your line about having friends from before becoming missionaries. I have become even more independent since becoming a missionary and have had a similar realization since coming back to the US, that God designed us for long-term relationships.
I'd love to hear more about your HMT, what they do, how they do it, how you 'recruited' them, etc. sometime when you have time! My email is shaninjapan atmark yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Hippomanic Jen said...

Yes, old friends can keep us honest and knew us before and still love us! Yay for friends, indeed!