I love relationships. Relationships are hard work. Relationships require twice as much hard work when you and your husband live in England and you have family and friends in the US.

There are two parts to being a missionary. There’s the actual “missionary work” that we do here in England… and then there’s the partnership side of things. We need to keep in contact with our friends and families in the US so they know what’s going on in our lives and can support us through prayer and finances. In order to do that, my husband and I have to work hard at maintaining the relationships we have with our friends and families back in the US.

Visiting with former college roommates while on home assignment this year

It may be more challenging than it sounds. Sometimes we have to stay up late so we can phone people in the US (because of a 5 or 6 hour time difference). We make every effort to reply to every email we get. It keeps communication going. We send out monthly ministry updates. I keep this blog. There are a number of other things we can do to continue our relationships!

The blessing is that it’s worth it. It’s worth it because strengthening and building these relationships is part of our ministry as missionaries. I never would have imagined that 2 years ago long before I married my husband and joined OM! Building relationships is a part of our ministry because we’re sharing our lives with our friends and families. We’re also sharing what God is doing through our ministry and encouraging our friends and families in their walk with the Lord.

This year we had the opportunity to return to the US on home assignment. Last year while we were on home assignment, we spent most of our time meeting with my husband’s friends and continuing those relationships. As a result, didn’t have a lot of time to meet with my friends. This year we spent more time meeting with my friends. It was great because Leon could get to know my friends (and vice versa).

It’s a blessing to feel like we have the same friends now and knowing that we’re keeping relationships going. It’s a blessing to know that keeping these relationships going is a part of our ministry. It’s a blessing to know that because of these relationships, we have people praying for us and supporting us.

Did you form any new, or strengthen any existing, relationships in 2011? (Today’s prompt is by Besottment)