North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Opinion

September 26, 2012

Danielle Pelkey: Tough times do not last forever

COMMENTARY — Are you going through a hard time in your life? Some hard times seem to sneak up on us and knock us off our rockers; but other tough times creep slow like Christmas.

One rough time that my family deals with every year is knowing that my parents will be making their journey to India for a few months. Since they are missionaries to that foreign country, it would seem that we would all be used to the fact that they pack and leave for several months each year. But it seems to do both — sneak up and creep up on me.

In one aspect, I know for almost six months that they will be leaving in September. They’ve done it for years now, but just like Christmas, it seems that one day that is an eternity away and then you turn around and it’s that time again.

To some people, having their parents out of the country for a few months probably sounds like a much-needed break, but my parents are quite different than most parents. They still have all of their children’s families over for dinner at least once a week and we all get along really well. No fighting in this family — it’s just uncalled for with this group. But you do have to have tough skin because the ridicule and jokes are rough on a person, but the love is much deeper than any sarcasm that can be flung your way.

After our dinner on Monday, we drove them to the airport Tuesday to bid them farewell as they boarded the plane headed halfway across the world, quite literally.

Thanks to modern-day technology we are now able to talk with them on the phone, and usually on Thanksgiving we get to video chat with them. But for the most part, it feels like a vital part of my very being has been amputated for the time they are away.

God has called my parents for a higher calling, but with my parents’ calling, the whole family really has to answer. Their decision to become missionaries not only affected them, but their children and grandchildren also. They have to leave behind the life they are so accustomed to, to get reaccustomed to the life of India. There is always a level of shell-shock when they come back, because they get so used to doing things like the Indian people that the American way seems foreign to them.

I try my best to be strong and not weep when they leave, but I often find tears rolling up inside when they come home. It’s tough to be in a missionary’s family, but our God has been faithful to keep our family strong through all of the changes. I do request that you pray for their safety while in India and that they will do great things for the kingdom of God.

Missionaries miss out on a lot while serving in foreign fields, but God makes up for what they miss out on by blessing them with a foreign family filled with love. My parents aren’t losing their family for half of a year, they are gaining another whole family to share their lives with. We are quite blessed to live in this unique way. I wish it were easier some times, but I’m sure they wouldn’t change it even if they could.

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