Explore News: "What's it like being overseas as a missionary during the holidays?"
November 2022
Living overseas means you don't always spend the holidays with all of your family and friends but there are some good things that come with the experience too. Our missionary panel briefly describes their experiences in this month’s Explore News.

Share Old Traditions

“Holidays can be a hard time, because I do tend to miss my family and the traditions we do. My first thanksgiving in Spain I decided to share the tradition with my friends here and invite over a group of girls for a full thanksgiving meal. It was my first time ever cooking a turkey! I spent three days shopping, watching YouTube cooking videos, calling my mom for family recipes, and preparing everything. It was such a special night when all my friends showed up and were able to celebrate their first thanksgiving meal ever. Now every year they ask me to celebrate thanksgiving because they loved not just the food, but the time of community we had together.”

Create New Traditions

"The holidays are some of the hardest times due to being away from family and friends during these special times of year. However, they also become some of the richest times overseas because of the new and special traditions you create with your new 'family' overseas. It is also fun to observe and enjoy the new holidays of your host culture. When I miss my family or friends, I call them. The technology we have these days makes it really easy to stay connected with important people back in our home culture. Maybe too connected sometimes.”

Brooke carving a turkey for the first time. They don't typically teach those skills at Bible College!

Be Intentional and Creative“Holidays can be a time when I miss family. It can also be a fun time of sharing your cultural traditions with your new home culture, as well as exploring some of the traditions in your home culture. If holidays are a time you miss family, you can be intentional and creative in the ways you connect with people in your home culture, and also find some ways to make sure you are making those times special, even if it's different than your used to.  About 6 months into being on the field (also in the middle of COVID which added stress and emotion), I began to feel lonely and realized it might take some time before I could create some deeper friendships in my new culture. I miss my community when I just want to connect with someone and not have to explain myself in the relationship and can be fully open. These friendships come, they just take time in a new place and culture."

Experience Host Culture Holidays

“The holidays overseas are a mix of joy and sadness. We definitely miss our extended family during the holidays and miss some of the traditions, foods, etc. But we have noticed that God has blessed us with great friends and teammates who function in some ways like a family for us during the holidays. We have made up new traditions, shared some old traditions with friends where we live and now we feel like whether we are in our home country or our host country we miss the other during the holidays.  In fact there are some holidays that we have come to enjoy even more in our host country because of some of the ways they celebrate, not to mention that you get introduced to brand new holidays. As far as what we do when we miss family and friends, we work to find times to connect with them by voice and video calls, text and video messages. It is okay to be sad and miss people, this is natural, and it helps to be honest about this while also looking at the blessings of where God has you at the moment.”

Maybe their experiences have prompted you to take your next step on your missions journey. We’d love to talk to you about it!

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