Almost twenty years ago, I left my teaching job in Wisconsin and headed off to Africa. Far away from family, I struggled during my first year as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia. The Liberians would say, “It isn’t easy-Oh!” Letters and support from my family provided daily strength for me to live, work and learn in that new place.
A few years later I again left home, this time to serve as an ELCA missionary in Papau New Guinea. Another new culture, more new challenges. Again my family cared for me as I entered a new world, just as Miriam cared for Moses in the book of Exodus. Family visits, letters and prayers sustained and strengthened me for the demanding work.
Certainly, not everyone is called to serve far away from home. However, each of us is called to serve in community and to encounter the many challenges of our time and society. Strong companionship from family, friends and community provides us with strength and courage so we can answer God’s call.
This message is adapted from a Women of the ELCA stewardship devotion, written by Kevin Jacobson, an ELCA missionary currently serving in Suriname.