New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie
Posted: 13 Feb 2021 05:55 PM PST
The Wildauers are en route to Belize as I write this. What joy that on pandemic day 333, the Lord of the Church is sending new workers into His harvest field.
But wait. They were a part of the DR family…of the Cerro Alto family…and now they’re just gone? Why did they stop by my house one afternoon last week to say goodbye? Similar days have been some of my most difficult in 2 1/2 years on the field – tearful curbside hugs, airport runs I was utterly unprepared to make, and the like.
When I signed up to be a missionary, I signed up for one heart wrenching farewell, as my family faded into the crowd at Lambert airport while I shuffled into the line at the American Airlines check-in counter.
Or so I thought.
Turns out, transition is part of missionary life. Sometimes, a sucky part.
I did know a few things going in, like that Santiago was the seat of LAC’s regional headquarters and constantly had people passing through for orientation. It’s fun being one of the first to meet new team members, show them some Dominican hospitality, and teach them how to maximize the asset that is short-term volunteers.
And I wasn’t born yesterday. People switch jobs like they change their underwear, even in the Church. Research shows that across denominations, a missionary’s average length of service is three years.
What I’ve learned is how the field unites diverse personalities in bonds of friendship that cement into something more like blood relations. We commiserate with one another, celebrate with one another, get one another. And then, sometimes, some within our ranks move on to ventures within and beyond OIM that mean they up and leave. They leave, and they leave us, the ones still here, with a whole mess of complicated feelings and emotions. It’s not a stretch to move through the five stages of grief you probably learned about in Psychology 101. Yes; no missionaries are harmed in the process, but it’s like mourning a death. While I can’t universalize my experiences, changes to the fabric of the missionary family often stir up:
Let me give you a visual.
The Warrens, who redeployed to St. Louis in December, bequeathed me an addition to my wall decor. (OK, I was nominated as the one most likely to maintain it. I’ve done one round of adding/updating so far, and I have a running list going for a second.) The photos on the map represent each LAC missionary household. The photos along the bottom edge represent LAC missionaries who left the field during the Warrens’ 5 1/2 years in the DR. In line with every statistic, about half of them have been since I’ve been here.
The map hangs in the corner of my dining room. I look at it everyday, and it’s definitely what you could call a conversation piece.
It’s a reminder to thank and praise God for my colleagues, my friends, my brothers and sisters who have paved the way for me, those still scattered across three continents, and those who are somewhere in the discernment process or will enter it in due time. And there WILL be those! The mass of photos afloat in the North Atlantic represents the DR contingent; they’re roughly in order of on-field tenure, and I’m the 3rd one in the 2nd row. Transition goes both ways. It’s part of missionary life. Sometimes, a wonderfully blessed one.
I didn’t know where this blog was going when I started the Draft, only that it had been on the tip of my tongue (pen? keyboard?) for some time. But hear this: God isn’t transitory. He’s sure and steady and unfailing in His desire for all to be saved.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:14)
Each of us has a role in the indestructible Kingdom of God. For some, it’s foreign missionary service, replete with stinging hasta luegos but also with festive bienvenidas. No matter where our Kingdom roles take us or when, we rejoice in the fact that one day we will stand as the great family of God in His presence for all eternity.
Until next time, blessings!
|You are subscribed to email updates from missionaryMAC.
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States|