The life of a missionary can often be somewhat nomadic. First, there is the initial move out of one’s home country to the place where the missionary will minister. Typically, missionaries have gone for a term at a time, punctuated by furloughs – also known as “home ministry assignment or HMA”. This can be a lot of moving around! Additionally it is not uncommon for God to move missionaries from one ministry assignment to another – whether in the same nation or in a completely different nation or even language group!
One question people might have is: Where do missionaries live while on home assignment? This is a good question because traditionally the missionary home assignment or furlough can be anywhere from weeks to a whole year! Most missionaries are by no means idle during their home assignment. They are expected to visit their financial supporters and sponsoring churches to give updates on the work on the field, giving glory to our Triune God for bringing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the nations!
Thankfully God provides for His servants, but it is not always easy for the missionary. Sometimes a missionary owns a home back in his or her passport country. But most often not. Some have generous relatives who may offer a place to stay. Others have financial supporters who share their home or open their vacation home for a season. A few churches have what is akin to the traditional parsonage or manse: the missionary house.
This is a home purchased and maintained by a church (or even an individual in some cases) for the express purpose of housing missionaries while they are on home assignment.
On our current one year HMA we have already had the privilege of experiencing all three scenarios mentioned above! We began our year living with relatives in California, then moved to a missions house and are now staying in a vacation home. Each of these places provides a “home base” from which we can travel and visit churches to give presentations about how the Lord is at work in people’s lives and building His Church around the world. Praise God for generous individuals and churches who are committed to serving the Lord in this way.
Does your church have a missions house? Purchasing and maintaining a missions house may be costly and involve much work, but from the missionary vantage point it is an invaluable service and we cannot express our gratitude sufficiently. The same goes for those who open their homes either temporarily or long term to missionaries back “home” on assignment. Thanks to all who opened their homes to us, including the Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church Missions House in Missouri!