Of hellos and goodbyes
All of us meet a lot of people, but most of those people never enter into any kind of relationship with us. Saying five words to the guy that just handed me my Starbucks coffee can hardly be considered as forming a relationship.
In missions, we work with people all day long, starting or nurturing relationships, be it with pastors, volunteers, missionaries, friends, people on the street…
Honestly, this is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of the work. Over the years, I have met more people than I can possibly count, and I have a relationship with people from all over the world. Technology is a great help in this matter and enables us to stay globally connected.
I love to hear the stories from the people I just met, to share thoughts and beliefs, and start a relationship. Is there anything better than to sit together, chat, and enjoy a hot beverage?
The downside is that it's simply impossible to maintain a good relationship with so many people. Often, when a conversation with a newly met person comes to an end, we say goodbye, knowing that we probably won’t every meet again. When the person is a Believer, at least we trust that we will meet again in heaven.
Over three years ago, I met a guy, and we instantly connected. We were working together for five days and then had to part ways. After many very good and deep conversations, saying goodbye was really hard, and we weren't sure if and when we would see each other again.
Just a few months ago, God made our paths cross again after three years. For a week, we enjoyed each other's company and talked for many hours. And then we had to say goodbye again. I don’t know when we will meet again (if ever), but I feel so greatly blessed and privileged to be able to meet great people like him.
As missionaries with a long-term (or very long-term) commitments that keep on serving in missions for years, we see many people come and go. Good friends go back home and continue their lives in secular jobs or leave for other ministries. The excitement while waiting at the airport for someone arriving for the first time and the tears we shed when saying our final goodbyes are both part of working in missions.
I sometimes wish I could maintain all the relationships I’ve made over the last few years, but that’s not possible in missions. But I also know I would have never met all those awesome people if it weren’t for serving in full-time missions. This's why I believe that being a missionary is the best job there is!