05 January, 2015

Unsettled reflections on our Christmas-time

In reflecting on this Christmas in Australia, a time for us when most people assume that that should be the ultimate in "good experience about being home". Now without being disrespectful to our families, I want to write that it wasn't the ultimate.

We had a wonderful time with family over Christmas. We travelled to three different locations in Queensland, travelling 2,200km, and saw all our siblings, all our siblings-in-law and parents and all of our nephews and nieces (barring one) over 16 days. It was great! No doubt about it. 

But it did made me feel unsettled about our calling to Japan. It would be all too easy to say, "This whole missionary thing costs too much personally, it means we don't see our families often enough." It would be all too easy for our families to say, "We hate this missionary thing you guys are doing, it means we don't get enough of you." To their credit, they don't say that (at least to us).

But on the other hand, to say, we're ditching "this gig" in Japan because of the above reason, would be to turn our backs on the gigantic needs there, citing our personal needs are bigger. But the reality is that our personal needs aren't more important. Our families carry on without us (though I'm sure they miss us, they've gotten used to our absence). We don't collapse in despair because we can't be in Australia for family gatherings (though this isn't without a sense of loss too).

I think the other thing that made Christmas challenging was that hanging out with people who don't have the same vision or mission as you do is always going to be a dampener on your own vision. In fact Christmas and staying with family is just a continuation of the whole of the dampener of home assignment: trying to convince people that mission is important and mingling with many people who don't quite believe that. The times we spend with supporters who truly do believe this and are 100% behind us is extra special.
Ruth and Gary Weston, our Australian colleagues who've
gone before us in Japan (they were "veterans" when we were
just starting out as missionaries).

So it was a wonderful joy to unexpectedly share lunch on Saturday with colleagues from Japan. A surprise because we'd organised a social BBQ with our state mission director and he and his wife suggested that these colleagues, who've only been here for a week and a bit, might come too. It was a wonderful few hours of refilling. Refuelling with passion for the work God has given us to do. Separating ourselves from the self-indulgences of the season for a time and refocusing.


Georgia said...

So happy you got to visit with Westons! They are special people to me as you and yours are. Great to be able to re-connect with your calling.

Wendy said...

It gets better Georgia (don't feel jealous), we get to have lunch with Ruth Page tomorrow too!

Shan in Japan said...

I remember being at a missionary weekend for several supporting churches and being reprimanded by our missions leader because all of the missionaries were standing in a corner talking together and not mingling with the attendees. It sure was nice to talk to people who understand!
Prayers for your next travels and that having a foot in both worlds feeling.

Wendy said...

Yes, being in our "home" country is so much about raising awareness and building relationships. It can be very draining and I totally identify with the situation you mention Shan. I wonder if mission leaders sometimes don't realise how much we missos need each other for encouragement and strength.

Sarah said...

You are doing what God wants you to, Wendy. Keep going! xx

Wendy said...

Thanks Sarah, I appreciate your encouragement.