Teri and I are blessed to have wonderful families and friends who are so supportive of us and the work to which God has led us. We also have many supporting churches who faithfully pray, give, and encourage us each month. At the heart of our support team is our home church, Vision Baptist Church.
We recently returned from a ten-month furlough, and I wanted to take some time to write an open letter of thanks to Vision for all that they do for us and specifically for how they blessed us while on furlough. Vision Baptist Church is truly a model church in so many ways, not least for how they train, send, and hold the ropes for missionaries. So, without further ado, here is my letter:
Dear Vision Baptist Church,
One of the highlights of our furlough was to spend so much time there at Vision. Though we had our families and many other churches to visit, we really enjoyed the times we were able to be in the services and spend time with many of you. Teri and I just wanted to thank you for all that you do.
Thank you for having such a large heart to receive, love, and invest in us. Thank you for wanting to develop real friendships with us, even though you knew that soon we would be thousands of miles apart for many years.
Thank you for trying to understand us and letting us be ourselves around you. We know that we are to be examples, but it is great to know that we can relax around you and don’t have to always put on “the missionary smile.”
Thank you for having patience with us as we adapted back to American culture. Being away for many years at a time changed us, but you all were so patience as we went through some awkward reverse culture shock.
Thank you for treating us like normal people. It was wonderful for us to just “hang out” with many of you, to attend birthday parties, to go out for ice cream, to work and serve together around the church, and to just generally feel like one of the gang.
Thank you for asking questions and being genuine interested in the work here. You could just tune us out because you have heard much of it before, but you asked questions, you talked to us, you allowed us to miss our home on the field, and you were patient with us.
Thank you for serving us. Even though you have many missionaries coming and going and the home team often gets overlooked and unappreciated, you guys went out of your way to serve us. You set up our home for us with furniture, you put food in our fridge and cabinets for when we arrived, you lent us vehicles to drive occasionally, you sent us away as a couple for a few days and watched our kids, and you helped us with practical questions about lawn care, mechanics, and where to buy certain things.
Thank you for honoring us. You know our weaknesses, our failings, and our fears, yet you honored us. You unnecessarily had a big welcome party ready for us at the airport, you allowed us to preach and teach, you gave us opportunities to explain our ministry, and you made us feel that our work was appreciated and important.
Thank you for committing to keep in touch with us. It is nice that even though we are now many miles away and in a different time zone that many of you still communicate with us and pray for us.
Thank you for being an example to us. Your faithfulness, your sacrificial giving, your service, your authenticity, and your hard work are a continual challenge and encouragement to us.
We love you and want you to know that everything you do is not in vain. We love you.
Travis, Teri, Grant, Darci, and Cali