When missionaries gather we console each other. We encourage each other. We laugh together. We gripe together. We solve problems together. A particular consolation comes up frequently in my corner of the world. When things get hard or lonely we say,
Some missionaries a long time back would pack their stuff in a simple wooden coffin instead of suitcases. The regions God called them to often did not participate in the practice of burying their dead. The trip was one-way because of cost and the extensive time to arrive. Aside from sporadic letters through the postal service, the missionaries sent so far away were rarely heard from again.
My have times changed!
Missionaries now use tools like airplanes and the internet. We can call our loved ones in our passport countries with relative ease. Even those working in rural regions, cut off from communication methods, can hop in a motor vehicle to get to an urban city pretty quickly.
So we tell each other in short, “Things could be worse. Things have been worse. Be grateful.”
Maybe one day, way far off in the future, missionaries will console each other by saying,
“At least we don’t have to travel in clunky old airplanes now that teletransporters exist.”
Could happen, right?
Where do you find consolation? How have things changed since a hundred years ago in the region you work? What contemporary tool are you most grateful for?
– Angie Washington, missionary living in Bolivia, South America