Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 16, 2002

Goodbye, Michelle


This week I had to say goodbye to my sister, who is leaving for Australia for missionary training.

Even though we've known of her plans to go for quite some time (and strongly support her), as long as I can remember, she has always been within driving distance. I am really going to miss her.

What a strange feeling it is to know she will be in a different country, experiencing a different lifestyle and different climate. She's so excited.

She'll start out with three months of training, and then three months of outreach. After that, she says she will go where she is led, whether that be South African, Central America, or Chicago.

My sister has always been strong in her beliefs. Even when she had difficult times in her life and wasn't necessarily making the best decisions, she always had her beliefs in mind and a strong faith to back her up. And she's always shared her faith with anyone who was interested in hearing.

Her testimony is fascinating, and certainly doesn't lack interest. She's just like the rest of us ­ had ups and downs, trials and tribulations.

I'm so proud of the person she has become. Since her decision to become a missionary, she has a whole new outlook on life, and a softness to her that comes from feeling at peace with what she is doing with her life.

I have no doubt that she has made the right decision for herself. What surprises me is that she didn't think of it sooner. For her interests and strengths, it fits her like a glove.

She is, however, excited that she was pointed toward Australia. She will be arriving during their springtime, and for the first time in her life, will be missing our Minnesota winter. (I don't think "missing" the winter is how she's looking at it though!)

I am excited to hear her stories. A missionary doesn't lead a glamorous life, from what I understand, but I'm sure it will be different from rural Minnesota. Just the cultural differences alone will make good reading.

As she was getting ready to leave my house during our goodbye time, she promised to bring me some kind of souvenir from Australia. I'm hoping for a baby kangaroo, but it didn't look too hopeful. I guess I will have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I will be happy with the e-mails, pictures, and videos that she will send back home.

And at the same time, I will be happy to see that she will be fulfilling such an important need, for both the people she will be working with and for herself. She deserves it.

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