This post is my own response to an article in “Askamissionary.com” “What do Missionaries wish they had known before they first went?”
“I wish I had known that we would be nearly forgotten by those who had been closest to us.”
I think that the number one thing a missionary going out for the first time needs to remember is that he is going on a mission for God, and he is giving up his life to do this.
If he never comes back, that may well be possible. But absolutely, while he is on his mission, life “back home” continues on, and when he returns, everything has marched on and left him behind, and now is different.
His friends and acquitances all have forgotten him mostly, and worse than being forgotten, they have new friends, and they simply don’t care about him or his life or ministry. Most of those friends just “disconnect” with him, and don’t want to keep up with him. If you go to the field thinking that all of your friends are going to stop their lives where you get on a plane and fly off, you are wrong. They go on living, and they do that without you. Get used to the idea.
Make friends of those God puts in your path, and enjoy those friendships. If you can keep up with people back in the states, do so, but don’t get upset if you slowly drift apart. You will always have Christ to comfort you. That is heaven in a nutshell; salvation is going to be with our best friend Jesus!