Building friendships has always been a struggle for me due to the fact that until I'm comfortable with someone, I'm very shy and hard to talk to. However, over the past 4 1/2 years I've learned a lot about relationships and how important they are. I've also learned that being a Pastor's wife does not quarantee that you'll have immediate friends. People often think you're too busy to spend time with them or they're just not sure how to include an outsider into their group of friends.
We were truly blessed in AL by another couple who immediately accepted us and became very dear to us.. they were AL transplants as well and I really believe they understood how we felt. MN was harder. It was so family centered and we moved in Oct and immediately jumped into ministry making it harder for us to be available. And this is where I learned that I had to do my part in developing friendships and not expect people to come to me. Although it took me awhile to discover this, I eventually stepped out of my comfort zone and left MN with a great support system that I will always cherish and one very special sister in Christ.
Moving to HK, I was prepared to step out the minute we arrived. I was determined to meet people quickly and start building those relationships early. How blessed was I to learn that in some ways it has been much easier to make friends. After being here two weeks we got a phone call out of the blue by another Youth Pastor (Dan) and Wife (Geeta) and went out to dinner that night. He introduced us to several other Youth Pastors and their wives and behold, we immediately had a support group. What made this so easy is that we're all going through the same thing... living in a foreing country without our families nearby and with one couple, having a baby. When you don't have family close it's much easier to step out and build your own family. The same thing has happened to us with members of our church family because we are an international congregation. There's just an understanding and bond that's hard to explain.
Mike and I always discuss how we fit together perfectly for ministry because it's easy for him to build relationships with all of the outgoing people and easier for me to reach out to those in need of a friend or just shy. I think this is because of how much I've treasured the friendships I've made and my heart goes out to those that have a harder time in this area. I used to think I didn't need friendships... that I could do things on my own but God taught me how special they are and how worth every effort it takes to strengthen them.
Thanks Tim, Cindy and Lillian for reminding me tonight how great spending time with friends is! Thanks to everyone else for making my life better for being a part of it!