Did you know that missionaries get lonely? Of course it is not a surprise, but it is more true than you may realize. One of the greatest gifts any person in the mission field can receive is the presence of their family or their friends with them. I remember when David (Allison’s father) came during Thanksgiving. It was a short visit, but all of us lived off the memories of the visit for several weeks. He brought a suitcase filled with gifts as well as things we miss from the United States. It was like Christmas in November. Will’s mother (Ruth) came for a week during Christmas. It was possibly our best week of the year. We cooked a traditional American Christmas dinner and showed her the sights around San Jose. The kids still talk about both of their grandparent’s visits. We were so thankful to have them with us.
If you ever feel like visiting a friend or a family member in the mission field, I recommend that you do it. They may be busy, but they will be glad to share their day with you as you see what their normal life is like. You can understand their world better, and they will be more thankful than they will probably be able to express. This is something I did not understand before I left the United States. I underestimated the value that my friendship and my actual presence would have for my missionary friends. We supported many, but we always waited for them to come home to see them. I wish I had known, because I actually wanted to visit them, but I didn’t pursue the idea because it seemed impractical. I realize that many people do not have the money to visit different countries, but your presence is felt when your missionary friends receive cards, Skype phone calls, comments on their blogs, or emails. Even a “like” via Facebook lets your friends know they are remembered. I wish I had known the difference it made in the past, but I am learning how to be better in the future. So to all my friends who are missionaries, I am going to try and do better. To those who are supporting others, please know that every little action makes a difference. And to my friends and family back home, we miss you and we will try and be better about reaching back home to let you know we remember you as well.