We are back in Caramoan after a 4 month Home Assignment. A common question we get is, “so… what did you guys do on your vacation?”. I fully understand that question, as I worked as a network administrator at TRW (now Northrop Grumman) for 5 years, and Jacinda worked as the COO of a graduate school before moving to the Philippines. Having that kind of time without a full time job would be hard to imagine! Working full time plus overtime, you barely have time to do your laundry, feed your family, do your taxes, go to church, Bible study, kids activities, and on and on. We lived that life, but you may be surprised at how much stays the same. I will try to fill you in on “what exactly do you do with all of that time?!”, not in a defensive way (because I might have asked the same question!), but just to increase understanding.
Partnership Development & Maintenance
We rely 100% on donations from generous people and churches to be able to minister in the Philippines. Developing and maintaining this support base takes time, and Home Assignment is when we spend the most time doing it. We try to meet with everyone who wants to meet with us, serve in the churches that support us, and give reports and presentations to those who have been so faithful in financially supporting us. After 4 years on the field, we need to find new partners to join our team. How do we do it? We are not great communicators in front of large crowds and we are not good sales people. We try to just put ourselves out there and get to know people, and when people hear about what we are doing and get to know us a little, some of them want to be a part of what God is doing. This way of raising up new partners takes a lot of time.
We love to watch the show “Survivor”, partly because 2 seasons were filmed in our town. There is always 1 episode when the survivors get to see their loved ones after being away from them for a couple of weeks. They inevitably break down in a display of dramatic emotion to the sound of violins playing in the background. It’s all very touching. But c’mon. 2 Weeks? Really? My kids say things like, “We havent seen our family in 4 years!”. So, we have 4 years of catching up to do with our families. We try to get back into their lives, enjoy them, and serve them.
Mobilization and Reporting
Part of our job as missionaries is to pass on our heart for missions to the next generation. We speak at high school groups, AWANA, and other church groups about the need for people to go outside their comfort zone and minister to others, especially those who have no way to hear the Gospel. We also speak to young people who are interested in joining us, and we encourage others to consider planning a vision trip to discover if missions is what God has for their future. It is always a privilege to share the great things we have seen God do in various venues: churches, Sunday School classes, youth groups, people’s homes, and church missions’ teams.
Years ago this time away from our ministry site was called ‘furlough’. Maybe you can understand why it is now appropriately called Home Assignment!