Wednesday, August 14, 2013


So many of you prayed for my quick trip back to the States (maybe more prayers for Kyle and girls!) And I thank you so much.  It was a great time to reconnect . . . see my brother's new baby girl, see my other brother living out in California, hang out at my cousin's wedding and eat a lot of fondue with the Fankhauser side of my family.  I was only there for 5 full days, but we made the most of them (thanks Mom and Dad for driving me all over).

But, on a more serious note, I learned a lot.  Learned a lot more about the grieving process  - the process people go through when they are not physically present to grieve with other family members. We deal with sickness, death and grieving on a daily basis, but the grieving is done as a family unit and sometimes quite public.

Missionaries and others who are far from home don't have this support system to help them grieve.  Sometimes the grieving doesn't even happen.  We have a good cry, tell our coworkers, then move on.  There's no funeral to go to and no hurting family members to hug.  It is awkward to grieve far away!
I couldn't believe how healing it was to physically hug my aunt who had just lost her husband.  To tell my cousins "I'm sorry" in person instead of on the computer.  Until I got to Michigan with them, I didn't realized I had stopped the grieving process.  Didn't realize how incomplete my process had been.

So what did I really learn. . . . to pray even more for my coworkers who lose loved ones while on the field.  To encourage them to have as much contact with family as they can over the weeks following.  And whenever possible to buy that plane ticket and fly back to be there.

                                                  Aunt Sherry and her just married son Tyler

                                             My brother Dale, his wife Briana and new baby

                                                                Fankhauser Fondue

                                                                   Meeka and Me :)

                                                    Tyler (my cousin), Ansley, his new wife

1 comment:

Lori Harrell said...

Hi Heather, My name is Lori Harrell and I live in Horton, MI and attend Bennett Community Church where Ed Utz is my pastor. The leadership of the church met recently and asked if anyone would like to be a contact for each of our missionaries, We have a "Mission Minute" each Sunday morning during the service and I requested to be paired with you, Kyle and the girls. My goal would be to prayer for you daily, follow your newsletters and bring back to the congregation prayer requests/praises in order to have them pray more specifically for you. I was reading the newsletter that Ed forwarded to me in order to make contact with you. I wanted to read your "rambles" and I am encouraged by what you shared. I am so glad you were able to get back to the states and have that time with your family. Sharing about the grieving process when you are missionaries on the field is something we take for granted here in the states. I hope to be partners with you in the gospel cause. Take care, Lori