Being far away from home, family, friends, and other native English speakers is not easy.
The people in my community are wonderful- welcoming, caring, hospitable, and very kind to me and that makes it easier; but every now and again I have the overwhelming realization/reminder that I am far away from home and loved ones!
My first walk through the main street of Fianrantsoa (in my first week) was one such occasion:
I had found the vendors I needed to buy the food, so my focus was drawn more widely to my surroundings. All of a sudden I experienced a wave of, “Oh my goodness! Here I am- in Madagascar, in the country where I will be for a whole year all by myself!” There was sweet-bitter joy-grief in that moment as I paused inwardly and noticed all the commotion of people and traffic and music! Then, it was right then, that the words of a song overpowered all the rest, singing: “Everything is going to be alr-i-i-ight!” I smiled and thought to myself, “Yep, it sure is!!” (and I didn’t even get lost walking home!)
Another experience of feeling very much alone came to me on Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday:
On Sundays I attend worship at a church very near to the SALT campus. Worship begins at 9:00am and usually a friend meets me to translate the service. I was unaware of whether someone had been arranged to meet me on this week, so I walked down the road on my own and into the very large worship space thinking that I would sit in a mid-section row as I had on previous Sundays. However, as I walked into the space I was overcome with the sense that I was alone. Before me were sooooooooooooooooo many people who I did not know and I no longer had the energy to find someone whom I did know. I sat down in an available pew near the back and prayed for the strength to make it through the service. I opened my eyes, feeling sure that they were going to tear up at any moment. I blinked to hold back the tears and, seemingly out of nowhere, two of my friends appeared on either side of me! One to greet me, the other to announce that he was my translator for the morning, kids in tow! No longer alone- there was much to be thankful for!!
God is great!