Dealing with Homesickness
on the Field
By Angie Wheeler
I can remember back 20 years ago, when I first left home and family to serve Jesus in Mozambique, Africa, and how hard it truly was. I was homesick all the time and on several occasions, I was ready to quit and go home. I knew deep down I would not do that as I had made a commitment, but being away from the ones you love, living with people you don’t know, dealing with a language you seem to butcher and endless cultural barriers were very hard.
I knew I was going to complete my year working at the orphanage because I knew God had called me, so I prayed all the time for God to help me and guide me. I remember once while living in one room, God said, “Learn to serve me, worship me when you have everything, and when you have nothing.” So, I did that, I began worshiping the Lord and prayed without ceasing, and it got easier even though not much changed. I fell in love with the kids and teens at the orphanage, made some great friends for life, and to my surprise that one-year commitment has led to me serving in Mozambique for 20 years.
God used my year at the orphanage to teach me, train me, and then give me a vision for the ministry I founded and served with for the last 18 years. God has a plan bigger than we can ever imagine for our lives and will use us to complete His vision and call He has on our lives.
I miss my family so much! I have lost many family members and could not get home to grieve with them. It’s so hard and the only way to get through this is with Jesus. I did make friends; I remember one year we all celebrated Thanksgiving together and there were 7 different countries represented.
God has given me two families here in Mozambique. One is my two children, Enia and Peter who I have adopted. The other is my staff who I have known all these years and love them like my family as they love me. I have so many teenagers who have been through the project that call me Mom. I still miss my Mom and sisters, niece and nephew, my home church, and friends. Yet I feel that Mozambique is my home. This is where God has called me to serve and my children’s country.
For me, I dealt with the loneliness by praying and crying out to God. I have had to worship Him with music and without music as I gave Him all of my cares. I made friends, learned the language, which helped so much, and then learned the culture. I used WhatsApp to call or video chat with my family as much I can and I still do that often.
Many of you reading this post may think I could never do that, it’s too hard. It is hard, but God has a plan for your life, and he can take the loneliness and fill it with Himself. My family is amazing and calls all the time and sends care packages of some of my favorite things. I feel that satan will use anything to get us to give up even in our loneliness. I encourage you that God’s grace is sufficient and He will help you in everything you do in every area of your life.