“Aren’t you so happy to be back?”
“I’m sure it is a relief to be back to what is normal.”
These are only some of the things I’ve heard as I’ve returned to the USA, but I’m sure anyone returning to their country of origin has heard something like these sentiments. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure how to feel when I am told these things. Don’t get me wrong, I love being back with my family. I’m happy to attend my sister’s sporting events, have dinner with my grandparents, go on trips with my parents. I’m glad that I can go back to the church where I grew up and worship there again.
But, I do feel sad, too. I’m missing things back in Budapest. I can’t see my students for a couple months. I can’t worship in Hungarian. I miss spending time with my roommates and team. I long to travel by the metro to get to our office. I find myself craving a túrós táska or a csokis csiga.
As a missionary returning, I feel my heart pulled in different directions. How can it be that I am both happy and sad to be home in Pennsylvania AND happy and sad to be away from home in Budapest?
Home: Where is it really? In a sappy movie, home would be the place where you feel the most love, the place where you can be yourself. Or something cheesy like that. But, for me, a person who has lived in three different countries, where is home actually?
I have come to learn that home is not a physical place. My true home, my true place, as a Christian is in the presence of the Lord. And because I have a relationship with Jesus, he is with me all the time. Therefore, I am always home, no matter where I am.
I am comforted by the words of the Psalmists: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps 23:6) and “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Ps 16:11). Even more, I’ve been comforted and challenged by Psalm 73:21-25 (this is from the Message), “When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy, I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence. I’m still in your presence, but you’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.” The Father has taken my hand and walked with me through these many transitions and different places that are home, even when it is difficult or joyful, or sad. God is right in these moments with me.
So, I can rest easy knowing that no matter where I am, God is with me also making it my home.
– By Sadie Sprankle, OMS Hungary Team Member