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Missions Emotions—When Leaving Home Hurts


garage sale sign

May 2, 2017

Missionaries are natural communicators. It’s just part of the job. And while many circulate stories of bold adventures or miraculous challenges, there is one familiar event shared by most missionaries that is almost never recounted—yet it can carry as much substance as a spiritual awakening.

It’s a final garage sale.

This popular post-commissioning ritual seems innocuous enough—a simple tabletop display of everything from a weathered toolbox to dented serving spoons. The event even comes in a wide variety of colloquial prefixes—yard, rummage, porch, moving…

Yet it represents something much bigger—the physical expression of leaving behind what is familiar—for the sake of a call.

Anna and Adam Day just went through this revealing process. They are new missionaries with WorldVenture, just finishing their training and preparing to head to the Philippines.

As we share from a recent discussion with Anna, her honesty and eloquence may jar some familiar memories for those of you that have been on the field for a while…and hopefully you will find encouragement in her fresh, expectant perspective.

Seeing our life condensed down to 10 boxes made this decision to move very real to usAfter years of study, months of planning, and finally wrapping up their own garage sale, the Days pared their Southern California life down to a few boxes—mostly books, a few toys for two-year-old Luke, and a couple of keepsakes to help them feel at home.

After realizing that all of their possessions could fit into a car trunk, Anna and Adam lost any sense that this change was anything but permanent. “Seeing our life condensed down to 10 boxes made this decision to move very real to us,” Anna said.

”I don’t tend to be super sentimental or attached to a lot of things, but I did find that our sale was a strong physical representation of the bigger changes going on. You have to kind of let go of one thing before you are able to grasp the other, so that transition period can feel precarious.”

She sees it as “shedding our old life and putting on a different one. Everything else is going to be new…and Filipino.”

What I didn't expect was this process of grieving for the life that we are leavingPeople often ask Adam and Anna if they are excited to finally be taking the next step of moving, fulfilling this years-long dream of working overseas. “Yes, it is exciting,” she explains, “but what I didn’t expect was this process of grieving for the life that we are leaving.”

She describes it as a kind of tearing. “Leaving our family and friends and community is where we really feel a separation. As a woman and mother, I care deeply about our home and being the keeper of our family. I think that’s a lot of what this season is about…shedding and letting things go.”

But, even in the midst of this challenge, Anna found an appreciation for the value behind the small but important events, like a garage sale. “God is so kind not to ask us to make this move in just one big leap. He’s allowed us to take these smaller steps where he’s been preparing us along the way and affirming his direction, clearing barriers away.”

However, they would not have step alone into the unknown. Thanks to their strong and supportive family and community at home, and the WorldVenture family of missionaries,  Anna, Adam and Luke are leaving with just 10 boxes, but with thousands of people behind them.

“In the midst of this new chapter, we also have history that links us to people at home who help us in meaningful ways—including financially and prayerfully, as you would expect.”

Anna said they also found support in something as practical as banking. For nearly 10 years Anna worked on staff with Evangelical Christian Credit Union, and she still appreciates the 10,000 ECCU members who share a long and strong commitment to serving missionaries.

“Missionaries are seen as family at ECCU, and they are protected and provided for in that way.” Even she was surprised to learn missionary members saved more than $1 million in international fees last year*.

the Day Family“That’s particularly meaningful to us, now that we’re on the other end facing foreign transaction fees and trying to figure out how to bank from thousands of miles away.”

Whether watching her possessions being carried away from a garage sale, or making decisions about banking abroad, Anna cites Jesus’ perspective in Matthew 6:21. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” She believes it’s a matter of putting your money where your heart is.

Adam and Anna have just completing language training in the U.S. before they leave permanently for Manila this summer. Read more about the unusual path that has led them to live abroad for the sake of the call.

Share the Day’s story with friends and missionaries

If you would like to support the Days with additional prayer or financial support, please visit their profile page at WorldVenture.


Category: Missionary Minded