With a day and 6 hours to go until I board a plane for Cambodia, the reality so clear in the title above is beginning to dawn on me. Mission can sometimes, perhaps even often, mean saying goodbye to all sorts of things.
A journal I wrote back in the start of May reflected something I had come to learn. Giving up my job and my possessions and all of that will be easy. I have had no problem whatsoever with having a break from work, or leaving behind my laptop and my trappings of western life.
The most difficult thing, I wrote, would be leaving behind the people. My friends, family, workmates and my church. I’m going to miss terribly the relationships I have built over the years.
Over the last couple of days, I have been saying goodbye to my family and my friends for the first time. This has been really hard – even harder, I think, knowing that in July I will be forced to say goodbye again for an even longer time.
I’ve had to say goodbye to ministries I have served in for years on end. The youth we serve every Friday night and the kids we serve on a Sunday morning in kids church and the media team with all the screens and lighting for the service.
I’ve had to say goodbye to my job for the time being. For almost 3 years I’ve had financial stability and security, to now be living off my accumulated savings for the duration of my time in Cambodia.
My studies are more or less on hold while I’m in Cambodia. I’m doing a unit over there, which requires me to write a 4000-word reflective journal. I have a feeling that that will not be an issue.
I could mean saying goodbye to hopes, dreams and the image of what you think your life should turn out to be like.
While away, I’ll be writing a newsletter – its a small way to keep people in the loop of what is happening in my life and for you to be involved if you so wish in praying alongside me while I live for that short time I will live in Cambodia.
Amongst all the excitement, it is easy to forget about the personal sacrifices involved. It’s easy to think it will be easy… because it’s God’s work, isn’t it? Whether going for 6 months, for two years or for longer, for me the hardest part is saying goodbye.
Looking forward to and incredibly excited about the new experiences of the work of God in a new place amongst a new culture – but how difficult it is to leave behind friends, family and the home you love.