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NL Missionaries: Loved, Remembered, Known

Posted by Megan Lucas on

Over spring break, five New Life members – Cody and Chelsea Groves, Julie Burnham, Emily Greene, and Victoria Sobol – visited Central Asia to encourage our New Life missionaries families, both sent by New Life to serve in Central Asia. While there, they were able to give them encouragement, meet their local friends, watch and teach their children, as well as explore the city together.

“We tried to insert ourselves into their lives and serve them as best we could – from helping around the house and doing dishes to hanging out with their kids,” Cody Groves said.

The group stayed with both families over the course of the week, visited the local villages and met their language teachers, an experience Cody found particularly eye opening. “[The teachers] were amazingly hospitable. Because they knew we were their special guests, they treated us as such. It was a very eye opening experience for us - especially as Christians. I think we were all really challenged to consider if we are truly hospitable to the sojourners in our own country - whether that be someone in our neighborhood or workplace or at the grocery store.”

Emily Greene said she was surprised about how similar life in Central Asia was to life in College Station. They made coffee and smoothies, ate, and played games together. “My favorite part about the trip was getting to see what their daily life looked like for the most part,” Emily said. “We played out on their huge porch with their kids. Several of the guys played Wii for an evening once too...surprisingly similar to life here, except you go outside and all the signs are in a different language.”

Cody also found similarities between the missionaries’ lives in Central Asia and their lives in America. But he also noted significant barriers they face as foreigners in Central Asia. “In many ways, they carry on with the normal tasks of everyday life as we do, yet, they are dealing with pretty significant language and cultural barriers,” Cody explained. “They have sought to adopt some of the customs and practices of the culture around them in order to be all things to all people.”

These barriers make transitioning to life overseas a long and difficult process, according to Emily. She said the trip revealed to her the church’s tendency, and her own, to forget or ignore teams overseas.

“I think we underestimate the difficulty of the transition overseas and we also underestimate the value of a simple note. I think we need to be very aware and sensitive towards that and we need to take more action steps to remind them they are not forgotten, they are loved, and they are known.”

Sending well is an area where New Life is constantly striving to improve. Visiting our missionaries, seeing their everyday life and coming alongside them in ordinary tasks is helping us to become better senders all the time. You don't have to go visit them to make a difference in their lives; pray for them and look for opportunities to step in and encourage their hearts, even from half way across the world.