Home means something different, in these days of living in a country that’s not your own. When we’re in the UK, we always refer to going home to Liberia, but the same is true the other way around.
This Christmas, we’ll be at home in the UK.
It’s the first time since 2016 that we’ll be outside of Africa for Christmas.
It’s not a trip to raise support. We won’t be speaking at any churches. We’ll be taking twelve days to spend some time with family, to attempt to unwind and to enjoy our first cold Christmas in seven years.
We love our lives as missionaries, and the work we get to do with MAF, but life in Liberia hasn’t all been plain sailing. A combination of climate, culture, understaffing and more has left us feeling drained. Some downtime is needed, if we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing for as long as God wants us doing it.
And yet, there’s a strange sense of guilt that comes with it. A feeling that, by leaving our host country for something other than support raising, we’ve failed on some level. We weren’t strong enough to cut it. We’re letting down our supporters, MAF, the people of Liberia. We’re wasting money on flight tickets.
All of that is ridiculous, of course, we know that deep down inside. And yet, the feelings persist.
Why do we do this to ourselves as humans? If I were speaking to some other missionary who had the chance to enjoy a bit of time out after a busy and stressful season, I would tell them to jump at the opportunity! Why are we so much harder with ourselves than with other people?
Why are we so quick to berate ourselves for accidentally smashing a plate? For stubbing a toe? For making a mistake? We certainly wouldn’t be so harsh with anyone else for the same minor misdemeanours.
It’s a lesson I’m still learning, to be gentler with myself, to be kinder. The principle of loving others as we love ourselves, means allowing a bit of self-love in our lives.
We’re so thankful to all of our wonderful supporters for your ongoing encouragement and prayers. I say it all the time, but it’s because it’s true – we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. If you would like to contribute to the cost of our Christmas trip, you can do it by making a donation to MAF through these links (flights at this time of year are not cheap!).
In whatever you’ll be doing this Christmas time, be gentle with yourself. If you need some time to rest, that’s okay. If you need to have a cry, that’s fine. Jesus did both of those things in his time on this earth. He’s a good model to follow.
We truly do wish you a wonderful Christmas, whatever that looks like, and wherever in the world it may be!