A light rain began to fall as we loaded our bags onto the motorbike taxi. Our driver covered them with the canvas top to keep them dry as we traveled to the crowded airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We arrived at the airport in good time. As we stacked our bags full of items for colleagues, donors and family on a tippy luggage cart, we thought about what kind of change might await us in the United States.
When returning to the States after being away a long time, generally Diane and I look forward to eating familiar foods that don’t require charcoal capsules afterwards. We miss eating salads regularly. In Cambodia we must wash vegetables several times to make them safe to eat.
But this time I wasn’t thinking about food, I was wondering about how life in the U.S. might have changed. The news seems to carry stories of violence and bombings more frequently. The word “terrorist” seems to be in every newscast from our homeland. I wondered how America might have changed because of these things.
More thoughts crowded into my mind. Would security be heightened at the airports and on the streets? Would there be more dogs checking our luggage? Would we see police in riot gear? Would there be curfews? When you have been away from the U.S. for a while, the news can paint a bleak picture.
We soon came to see that while some things had changed, many things had not. We saw a few demonstrations, and the U.S. election was the topic of conversation everywhere we went.
It is hard to describe the sensation of returning to one’s native land and feeling more and more like an outsider with each visit. But every other missionary in the magazine knows exactly what this feels like. It is an inescapable part of the calling.
Please pray for our missionaries in foreign lands as they work to create change one person at a time, one village at a time, for eternity.