As most of you know, during the past six months, Melissa and I sold our stuff, attended orientation for new Presbyterian mission co-workers, and began traveling, visiting churches and other groups, doing our sending interpretive assignment. We left our home, our church and our old friends, setting out to share our work with individuals, groups and churches. We’ve been working our tails off, raising support. And we’ve been making lots of new friends.
One of our stops along the way was in Union Mills, North Carolina, during the last two weeks of January, where we attended a Second Language Acquisition course.
One topic we read about and discussed, was the assertion that missionaries are between people. One of the assigned readings for our course was Am I Still Me? Changing the Core Self to Fit a New Cultural Context, by Lois A. Dodds and Lawrence E. Dodds, who served over 20 years with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics, before founding Heartstream Ministries, which serves the needs of missionaries and other cross-cultural workers, worldwide. Looking back to their first day of linguistic training, the authors wrote, On our first day of linguistic training, Dr. Cal Rensch of SIL told us, “Starting today you will never fully belong to the people you are going to work with or belong fully to the people you are leaving. You will be people between”. During orientation, we also touched on this subject, although I’m not sure I understood the implications until we began living out of our suitcases for several months, staying in a different place every night at times.
We will rely on our many friendships, both old and new, as we grapple with our new identity and home. We know it won’t be easy, but we’ve got each other, and we have you. Please pray for us as we navigate these changes in our lives.