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     Tomorrow, I will give my son, daughter in law, and 2 grandsons the hug I’ve been yearning to give them as soon as I heard they were on American soil. I’ve already told them this may take awhile because I’ve got a lot of hugging to make up for!

     Then, my daughter and I, along with her family are prepared and ready to listen and then listen some more because it is important to us to try and understand what life was like for our loved ones while they were living in Africa. This is our first stateside experience and though it is the first, it’s not going to be typical–for us anyway. Typically, missionaries prefer to plant themselves in a place they can call home while stateside. That’s understandable as their own place would give them that down time  they need to be real with each other and living with extended family may not give them such an environment. 

     But in our situation, our missionaries will be here only a few months and come August will be leaving again to study abroad during their stateside time. However, they are having the opportunity to be in a place of their own during a portion of their stateside and for the last portion they will be living with us. Fortunately, we have the room and we are all prepared to give them the space they need to readjust to reconnecting as family. 

     Not having done this before, we are doing our best to educate ourselves on how to make their re-entry experience as smooth as possible. Some things, I’m sure will just come natural, we are a close family and we share an abundance of memories that we will want to hash and rehash while we are together. But like I said in an earlier post, for the last 4 years we have been moving forward without each other and our memories are not so common anymore. We’ve got to find a way to fit back together again!

     I am asking extended family and friends to be aware that this particular homecoming be approached by keeping in mind that while some things remain the same, some things are different now! It’s been 4 years since my missionaries lived in America (while my grandsons never have). There will be much, of course ,that hasn’t changed about the character of my missionaries. That will be the common ground you will be able to use to reestablish your relationships with them as you set about making new memories. But be sensitive to the influence a vastly different culture may have had on their behaviors and attitudes, as you find your own way to reconnect.

     Knowing our imperfections but counting on the depth of our love for each other, this following verse will be my anchor during this fun, wonderful, and challenging time,

1 Peter 4:8,  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. NIV