Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Home assignment

Recently Jeff and Peggy Heidorn returned to America for their first furlough or what is now often referred to as ‘home assignment’. Words and the meanings they convey are not always readily understood. A desire to change a name when a part of the definition could confuse others is appropriate. Furlough is defined as “a leave of absence from duty granted, especially to a soldier”. Our missionaries arrange their absences considering the needs of their fellow missionaries and the churches and people they seek to serve overseas. Their absences are keenly felt and their input hard to replace. Most extend their terms in efforts to cover all the ‘ministry bases’ or at least in an attempt to help the ‘troops’ on the ground to not be so thin. But at the same time they must consider the needs of their own family and their extended families here in the states. "Furlough" meaning an absence from duty communicates well when thinking of the gaps left when they leave. It doesn’t mean a vacation from the duty to serve the Lord when they are home. This second definition sounds like that: 'Furlough' – to lay off from work.
Far from “laying off from work”, most missionaries will tell you their home assignment times are exhausting. Extra travel, many speaking opportunities, re-entry language difficulties, and much temporary housing can take its toll. Any change of routine, even vacations, which are much needed diversions, can be tiring as well. Most missionaries stay at work sharing their ministries and opportunities with those interested in what God is doing through them. God often uses these stories to stir our hearts to further faithfulness and service.
Jeff and Peggy spoke at our church last Wednesday just before they departed for several appointments in multiply states from the South through the Mid-west. They did a great job and their video report was excellent (you can get it at the website). Pray that God will use them and other ‘furloughed’ missionaries to inspire others to answer God’s call in going or in sending others who can share the Gospel of redemption with those who haven’t heard. Please pray for their safety in travel.
Thank you for not “taking a break” in your work for the glory of God. Your consistency will bear rich dividends for eternity!

"And when they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles." Acts 14:27


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