By Julie Paden, missionary in the Philippines—My daughter was recently doing a report for school and asked me, “When you moved overseas the first time, how different did you find things and was it hard adjusting?”

Her question made me remember back to those early days when I first arrived in the Philippines. Everything was different—weather, culture, food, people, language. It was all an adjustment. Everything was hard.

But it got easier. I have now lived in the Philippines for more than 10 years, and sometimes I forget how far I have come. The things I used to think were hard and that drove me crazy are now a normal part of daily life and routine.  

Which is why I sometimes am at a loss for what to say about our lives when we are on home service (a.k.a. home assignment or furlough). By God’s grace, we have adjusted so well to life in the Philippines that we forget how to describe it, because to us it just looks normal. 

But sharing about our lives in the Philippines is one of the main goals of our home service. This is our third home service with SEND, and each of them has looked a little different, but they share the same objectives—the 6 R’s of a successful home service.  

  • Rest. 
  • Recoup (family time, self care). 
  • Report to our churches. 
  • Remember where we came from (enjoy American culture again).
  • Raise our support team.
  • Return to the field as capable workers ready for another term of service. 

In the last few months we have shared in many churches and with many small groups about how the Lord is using us to instruct and send out the Filipino people in missions and discipleship. We are so thankful to him for the partners we have all over the country who may not make the trip across the ocean themselves, but accept their role in making it all possible. We can’t do it on our own!

We miss many things from the Philippines (see the beautiful poem my daughter wrote about this) but we also love many things about being in the States. Such is the life and challenge of people living in two different countries; a part of our hearts are in both. 

We can even relate this to our Christian life. As believers we are not called to get comfortable and make this world our home, because our home is in heaven. Sometimes when I start to feel sorry for myself and want what others have, it does me good to remember this truth. 

Julie and Gilmer Paden serve with SEND’s Philippine Sending Council, mobilizing Filipinos to reach the unreached. The family is in Arizona for a year of home service.