Monday, December 8, 2014

Who Is A Missionary's Friend?

Who is a missionary's friend?  That's a question that I have been pondering lately.  This is coming, of course, from a feminine perspective.  Guys might have a different definition or different needs.  I am also looking at this question from a missionary's perspective but in the end, I think, that most of us want/need very similar things from a friend.

Missionaries need friends, too.  As we are off, living in places outside of the United States - we have left so many relationships behind.  This is a bit unique to missionaries as most people do not move as much as we have in our lives.  Each relationship that I have physically left (or they have left me) has broken a piece of my heart.  It never gets any easier.

How can you be a missionary's friend?  STAY IN CONTACT WITH THEM.  This is huge!  There are so many ways that you can contact your friends - email, Skype/Facetime, text (yes, you can text us over here for not much more money) or you can use apps like 'WhatsApp' that allows you to use your data plan to txt for free and/or a phone call (a short one would not cost as much as you think).  Whether you are an old friend from the States or a new friend that was discovered in a new country, this applies to us all. 

I have been gone from the States for a little bit over five years and I do not have anyone who has kept in consistent contact with me.  Yes, that's right - no one. This does not include our immediate family. 

When we were at orientation before coming to Zambia, we took the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory.  After you take the test, it gives you four letters that describe your personality.  One of my letters was F for feeler.  As I found out later, I was actually a perfect 30 as a feeler; the most possible. I think that makes friends even more important to me.

We need friends who will ask hard questions to us and expect honest answers.  We need friends who will challenge us to grow spiritually.  We need friends who will listen as we process the hard realities of living in a third world culture.  We need friends to share our lives with us.  We even need mentors - older women who would take a specific spiritual emphasis in our lives.

I know the old adage says, "To have a friend, you must be a friend."  Friendship is a two way street.  We meet each other, coming and going.  It is give and take.  So, I am also shouldering the responsibility to BE a friend.  I want to know about your everyday triumphs and struggles.  I want to be connected to you in some way.  

This is not just a post about me, please don't misunderstand.  The is a post about all women.  We need significant relationships with other women.  Whether you are a homeschooling mom who seems tied to her house or a working mother who seems not to have enough time in the day or a missionary who just wants someone to walk beside her in life, we all need Christ centered relationships to encourage us in the difficult times and rejoice with us in the everyday wonder of life.

So, BE a friend.  Hug your friend if you are blessed enough to actually see them.  Take a few minutes to call them or a little bit more time to sit down and email a faraway friend or even more time to go have coffee with them or out to eat.
Relationships are so important and worth the effort!
Let's do this together!

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