I hope you're enjoying your summer break!  Technically speaking, this is my winter break.  This is Tanzania's cooler season.  Our "winter" is about 30 degrees Celsius.  I don't even bother looking at the thermometer during the summer, for fear that self-pity might drive me insane.  

                         We went to a popular coffee shop while in Zanzibar
Since my sister and I are out of school, my grandparents came over to visit for a couple of weeks.  We had a blast with them, and got to take them over to Zanzibar for a couple of days, to the island for snorkeling, and down to the Peninsula.

When I told one of my MK friends that my grandparents were visiting, he mentioned that his family hadn't seen their grandparents in over five years.  I felt awful.  I couldn't imagine not seeing my grandparents for such a long time, but I know that tons of MKs have to struggle through that.

What can make it worse is that they think they are just supposed to mask their disappointment, that they shouldn't show how much they miss their relatives.  Some MKs feel torn.  They love the country they're living in, and the people there that have become family to them, but they also miss their passport country and the people there that they love. It took me awhile to figure out that I don't have to feel guilty. Saying we love one country does not mean that we have to say that we don't miss the other one.  We can love both countries; we shouldn't have to choose one or the other. (Please don't ask a MK which country they like better!)

If you're an MK, I would encourage you to keep in contact with family in as many ways as possible.   I know from experience that family loves to receive greetings or small updates, whether it's through email, letters, social media, or even through Skype or FaceTime.  When you put an effort into keeping the relationship between you and your relatives strong, it makes saying goodbye not as hard.

If you're the one who has an uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, nephew, or grandchild that's a missionary, keeping in contact is vital; even if it's just a short email saying that you're thinking of them  It does a world of good.  When missionaries are on the field, many feel the pain of being away from family, feeling like an outsider, like they are not a big part in the family.  Some think their relatives have just forgotten them since they are on a different continent, and sadly, sometimes that's true.  
                Our cousin Tiffany came to visit us a couple of years ago, She helped with our schooling while mom and dad worked.

My family in the States has tried their hardest to keep in touch, and they've done an amazing job.  My mom's cousins will call us with any important news or updates before they put it on social media.  They WhatsApp us just to ask how school went, or how the school play is coming along.  My grandparents Skype us every week, and they will email us just to tell us what's going on back in their lives.  Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends have even come to visit our home here in Africa.

We had a ton of fun with our uncle and aunt 
when they visited.
My mom's friend, Heather Storrer, visited us, and we took her to St. Lucia to see the hippos.

 I can't even begin to describe how much this affects me.  It shows that my family remembers us even though we've been living on a different continent for over nine years.  When they actively try to keep us as involved as mush as possible, whether it's calling us during the family reunions, or emailing us just to say how their day went and ask how school is going, it makes me cry.  When they do that, I can see that no matter how far away we are, our family will always love us.  Although these things may not seem like big things, it means a ton to me.  As the saying goes, it's the little things in life that often have the biggest impact.

Our cousins, Josh and Jess, visited us a while ago, and we took them to one of our game parks.                             
                                                                                      My mom's aunt Sherry visited us also, and we enjoyed taking her to the beach while she was there.

So, I leave you with a challenge. Whether you are on the field or supporting others in missions, keep in contact and strengthen the relationships you have with friends and family, no matter how far away they are.  It may seem like a trivial way of saying "I love you" to send an email about how your day went, but it will show them that you still think of them often, that you haven't forgotten them.

My grandparents came to visit a couple of years ago, and we had a ton of fun with them.  Our grandpa helped build a rabbit cage, we took them to the water park, and played a lot of 
                              outdoor games with them.


  1. Abby,
    I love reading your blog!! Keep it up!!
    Aunt Sue


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