This is from some Team Expansion missionaries from the US to Italy…
I just went outside and looked at the odometer on the van we’ve been using. Total miles traveled since we’ve been in the US: 5,985. And we’re not done yet.
That is a lot of time in the van with the kids. Lots of corn fields in Iowa. Lots of hunting for a Redbox to entertain the back seat. Lots of sermons and NPR podcasts listened to. Lots of breaking up the fights over who is on who’s side. And there have been times when I have thought, “What on earth am I doing? Is the travel worth all the headache? Does anyone really care if we’re in town or not?”
Once my pity party is over and I settle down a bit my mind wanders back to the many conversations we’ve had with our supporters all over the place. I remember the churches we’ve visited and how they’ve went out of their way to make us feel at home. I think about the little bit of time with my nephews and my mom and my sisters and brother and grandma and cousins and aunts and uncles and maybe even my in-laws*. And all of that really does make all the miles worth it.
I love talking about the church in Ancona. I love bragging on all the great things that God is doing. I love talking about the eight people baptized since the last time we were in the US. I love dreaming and praying about the future and what God might have in store for us.
But I miss home. The kids miss their rooms and their stuff. I’m so tired of digging through luggage to find clothes for the day. I miss my awesome teammates. I miss the church, and how Italians hug and kiss hello and goodbye. I miss the smell of the Adriatic and how it reminds me of Beach Church.
Can you tell my emotions swing back and forth when I come back to the US? I think every missionary who had ever written a newsletter while on furlough has said something about the difficulty of defining “home.” All of this is temporary until we are all united together on the New Earth. So true, isn’t it? It’s great to be in Ancona, making sure the Anconetani are invited to the party.
*Just kidding. I like my in-laws!