When I first accepted my call to Cambodia, I was nervous. After talking with the country coordinators at DIP, it seemed to me that not only was internet not available most of the time, but that mail was also not plausible. As someone who has struggled with abandonment, I could not help worrying that I would be completely cut off from everyone in my sending community. Anxious thoughts led me to think that this meant I was abandoning them, and that would make it easier for them to abandon me. The more I learned about my call here and the more I talked with friends and family at home, the more my fear of losing anyone was ebbed. I knew that no matter what amount communication ended up being available, those that loved me at home would figure it out with me.
Luckily, I have been overwhelmed by the ability to communicate with those back home. I know that I am very, very fortunate in this regard compared to some of my own cohort, and to YAGMs in other country groups, and I am indescribably grateful that this has been the case. However, that is not what I want to focus on in this post. Rather, I want to focus on the people who wrote me notes and letters when they thought I could hardly communicate.
My sending community is full of amazing people that are full of love and encouragement. For many of them, when I said I was not going to be able to receive mail, they wrote letters. I had cards for major holidays from my grandma, notes written by family and friends at a party before I left, and letters to help me through a whole year from many different friends. At this point in my year, I can say that these letters have been an invaluable part of my time here. To read one of them was to know that I was holding something sacred. Whether they were full of messages, memes, silly jokes, song lyrics, inspirational quotes, doodles, or small reminders of home, each one has left me with a warm heart, and renewed energy to serve here.
Some tell me the date they are to be opened, others name a feeling or scenario like “when you get settled,” or “when something doesn’t go as planned,” and then there are the few that are just for whenever I need a note from home. They have made me laugh, cry, think, roll my eyes, cherish my time here, sigh, remember, sing, and ponder the amazing people who are supporting me from twelve time zones away. I have written so much about my community here, and rightfully so. But today, I want to thank the people who sent me and recognize that without those amazing people encouraging me at home, I would never even know the amazing ones here.
To the ones who raised me to be the woman I am. To the ones who pushed me to turn in my application. To the ones I have known forever and the ones I have known only a few months. To the ones who supported my passion to serve. To the ones who wiped my tears and hugged me as we said goodbye. To the ones who helped me pack and prepare for a year I could never prepare for. To the ones who reassured me that distance doesn’t define relationship. To the ones that I could never truly describe how important you are. To all the ones who sent me here to answer a call that kept me away for a long time, I love you, and I thank you.