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What’s the Cost of Living Internationally?


It was 6:30am, and I forgot to silence my phone. I didn’t want to look, but curiosity got the better of me. I unlocked the phone and was surprised by what awaited me there.

It was a cartoon picture of my friend riding an eagle with an American flag. Underneath this picture was a banner that read Happy 4th of July.

I giggled to myself at the absurdity of the picture and then realized

“Oh, wow, today is the 4th of July.” (It was actually the 5th of July in Thailand)

Living internationally has many perks and fun times. However, the one thing that is often missed is the holidays from your home country.

After that statement I realized that another American holiday had come and gone without any change in my daily routine. I got dressed and went to language school without being any the wiser.

No Hot Dogs, No BBQ, No hanging out at the Lake with friends and family, and No watching the fireworks downtown with thousands of strangers.

It is these moments where homesickness quickly comes in. I miss these days. I miss the opportunity to sit and laugh with people on a good ole American holiday. For the most part almost every holiday I grew up looking forward too is meaningless here in Thailand.

That is a cost of living internationally.

You come to a circle headed culture as a square head. Before you know it you have a hexagon shaped head. You are no longer square and you will never completely be a circle. Your worldview is forever altered.

This is a cost of living internationally.

However, every April the whole country goes crazy with a giant water fight for three days. Strangers dance in the street and bless each other with a cool dousing of water on a hot day. This is known as the Thai New Years or Songkran. This could possibly be one the greatest community holidays I have ever seen.

This is a cost of living internationally.

You give up a lot when you leave your home culture. You say goodbye to family, friends and a way of life that you have grown so accustomed too. However, what you gain is something that can’t be fully expressed in words. It is an experience that alters your perception.

As a missionary, you try to describe it when you visit churches or talk with people that live in your home country. You try to describe your home country to the people that live in your new area. Try as you might but Both groups can’t fully grasp the stories you share.

It is an experience that that can only truly be understood firsthand. It is an adventure you must take for yourself and I promise you this. It is worth it and you will be the better for it.

This is the reward for living internationally.

Noah & Maria Ward

Will you pray for Workers in the Harvest Field?

  • Pray for missionaries when they miss national holidays from home to be able deal well with any home sickness.
  • Pray for missionaries to be able to remember some of the blessings of living internationally too.
  • Pray that God might use occasions when homesickness comes to also remind workers that their true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20)

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