Nomad or Missionary?
Nomad –noun [noh-mad] : person who moves to a foreign place 2. A member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land. 3. A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.
(Sorry, I haven’t posted in awhile…we moved and then it was Thanksgiving and I haven’t sat down at the computer in about a week)
I feel like a nomad. I’m sitting in the middle of boxes, and I should be unpacking more boxes, we moved…again. This was the 20-something time I have packed up my stuff and moved in the last 15 years. You’d think I was a pro at packing by now but I’m not. One positive thing about moving so much is that I don’t have tons of stuff…right now I do admittedly have more than I did 5 years ago. Five years ago I moved from California back to Colorado with all of my earthly belongings fitting in my car. (BTW I was single at the time…now I’m married with two teenage step-kids)
Most of the missionaries I know have had to move a lot…they move from their home culture to their place of service and then often they are either forced to move (houses or cities) because of security issues or because their landlords raise the rent etc…they often feel like Nomads.
When I lived in Afghanistan the house I lived in was sold by our landlord and we were forced to move. The city had many foreigners looking for places to live so rent was very high. It was hard to find a place to live. Eventually we found a place that was just a few blocks away. Our moving process was pretty interesting! We hired men with carts pulled by them or their donkeys…it was like a parade from one house to another with loads of the stuff belonging to the foreign girls.
One of the big “stressors” in the lives of people committing to live in another culture is the lack of stability. Often people changing cultures not knowing whether they are both coming or going—because they are both coming AND going, feel like they are vagabonds or nomads.
This and many other stressors can lead to burn out. This is one reason that I think it’s very important to be well prepared (trained) and to have lots of support in place (encouragers, church partners, sending agency, counselors…)
Here’s an helpful article about dealing with stress and burn out.