Are you about to get on a plane and head “over there”? Have you just landed in your new place?
As someone who has been around a while, let me tell you that you are so very welcome! We are very excited to have you! We have been praying for you, rooting for you, preparing for your arrival and we are so glad you’re finally here!
Are you young, maybe fresh out of college? Do we all seem so wise and experienced to you? And old, probably, but let’s not talk about that 😉 Do you worry you might not have anything to contribute? True, we have learned a few things along the way. We have also developed blind spots. We need you and your fresh way of looking at things! We’ve seen disappointment and lost hope in places. Your enthusiasm and “naivete” help revive our souls.
Dear new graduate – you are so welcome and we’re so glad you’re here!
Are you arriving with young kids, uncertain how to support them through the transition? Wondering how you could possibly be involved in ministry, learn the language? Are you worried you might be a burden rather than an asset to the team? For sure, those are not easy challenges to navigate. There is not one right answer, not the perfect way to live this. But one thing I do know. You are so valuable! What a treasure it is to have young families on the team. The fun, the mess, the questions – the whole lot of it! And you as a person, the unique “you” the Lord created – we are so blessed to have you!
Dear young mum, young dad – you are so welcome and we’re so glad you’re here!
Are you single and worry you’ll be isolated? There are people and things back home (or in your previous location) that are on your heart, and that no one around you really understands. It’s hard being the only link between your different worlds! It’s hard not having at least some community that arrives with you. Hard – but also an opportunity! Doubly hard if you happen to an introvert (speaking from experience here!). You have to build community to survive. Don’t wait for others to include you (though if they do, that’s just the best!), take the initiative. And no, just because you’re single does not mean you have to work all hours of the day and night! Build a life! Play! Rest!
Dear single person – you are so welcome and we’re so glad you’re here!
Are you the quiet type, maybe an introvert? Do you feel you’ve landed in a world of extroverted, loud, visionary people? Are you not sure what you might have to contribute, if your quiet voice will be heard? Let me assure you, your quiet voice is so needed! You will be able to see things, hear things, connect with people in a way that others can’t. I know being an introvert in a communal culture can be so hard. There are ways of doing that well – seek the wisdom of others who have gone before! And if nothing else – thank you for keeping me company in the introvert corner 😊
Dear introvert – you are so welcome and we’re so glad you’re here!
Are you the odd one out? Maybe you’re from a different country than everyone else on your team. A different age, life-stage. Maybe everyone else has been together a while and you’re the only new one. Truth be told – most of us probably feel like the odd one out much of the time. Feeling like everyone else belongs but we don’t. And yet. And yet there truly are added challenges for those who are a minority on the team. Oh but how much we do need your voice! The perspective only you can bring. Will you both challenge us and give us grace when we go into “majority mode”? I wish that didn’t happen but most likely it will. I am so sorry.
Dear “odd one out” – you are so welcome and we’re so glad you’re here!
“But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Cor 12:24b-26)
Here we go then!
How have you experienced the “hellos”, as a newbie or as someone who has been around a while? What has been helpful in overcoming some of the challenges?
This post has been linked to Velvet Ashes, an encouraging site for women serving cross-culturally.