When I left for the mission field in June 2004, I was so excited to be on the field that I had no desire to return back to America. Nearly nine years later, I still love being a missionary and definitely prefer to be on the field.
So, you may ask, “Why did you take a furlough?” Furlough is a concept that is sometimes questioned and even criticized, so I thought I would write a few thoughts about the benefits of furlough for Christians, churches, and missionaries to consider.
Before we look at the benefit of furlough to the missionary, let us look briefly at what furlough is. The word “furlough” essentially means “a leave of absence.” In the early days of missions when travel was much more difficult, I don’t think they took many furloughs to go back to their home country. But in recent years, most missionaries will spend 1 year out of 5 back in their native country resting, reporting in to their supporters, and reconnecting with their families. With the ease of air travel, some are able to come home more often for a shorter periods of time.
In this series, I would like to look at the benefit of furlough to: 1) the missionary, 2) the missionary’s wife and children, 3) the missionary’s relatives, 4) the missionary’s supporters, and 5) the mission work. Stay tuned for this series.