Coming Back Home

Posted on July 18, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

There were many points along our journey to Southeast Asia where we could easily have been tempted to forfeit our return tickets and just stay and continue ministry in the places that represented 23 years of our life. After becoming president of the IMB, people would ask us if we missed the mission field. That would immediately elicit an emotional response of how we longed for the familiar cross-cultural lifestyle in Asia. However, the Lord convicted us that such an attitude was dishonoring to Him. He had led us to a new responsibility in America; we had learned obedience and had responded to His guidance to a new leadership responsibility even contrary to our own preferences. Therefore, we needed to accept with joy the new setting for fulfilling our mission call.

We have gone through much the same process in retirement. We miss the direct involvement in the work of the IMB and the meaningful relationships that were our lives for 17 years. Yet there is a sense of joy and confidence in making Mississippi home, and excitement about the continuing opportunities for ministry and mission advocacy. Regardless the fulfillment of a vacation, mission trip or travel to new places, it is always good to be back home in the warmth and security of the familiar and to sleep in oneʼs own bed.

However, getting back to Mississippi from the other side of the world was quite a journey; it began with a 2:00 am wake-up for departure to the airport. As we boarded the plane for the 13-hour non-stop segment from Tokyo to Atlanta the agent said, “Mr. and Mrs. Rankin, we are so sorry that we are overbooked in economy; we are going to have to seat you in business elite.”

Due to the frequency of my travel I often get upgraded on domestic flights, which means nothing more than a wider seat and getting peanuts with your complimentary drink. I started to object, arguing that we had only paid for economy seats, but decided to cooperate and accommodate the airlineʼs dilemma. So here we were in private cubicles, seats that fully reclined with full-sized bed pillows, endless movies on demand and elegant meal service. That, indeed, made the longest segment of our 26-hour travel home a little more endurable. However, that luxury was offset by cancelled flights and an 8-hr delay trying to get home from Atlanta!

We have highlighted the joys of indulging in the indigenous foods of Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, but honestly, it is good to get back to cornbread, collards, barbeque and homemade vegetable soup! We have been consumed with domestic chores as the houseplants were desperately thirsty, the yard needed mowing, flower beds weeded, laundry done, bills paid and beds made for anticipated company.

Our daughter and family have been on stateside assignment in Orlando this year but are preparing to return to Central Asia at the end of the month. They have arrived to spend the rest of the month with us, so cooking, cleaning and family activities are the focus of our attention for the next two weeks. They will be gone for three or four years so this a precious time we dearly cherish.

2 Comments on “Coming Back Home”

  1. Carra

    Glad you had a great trip. Will be praying for you and your daughter & family.

  2. Bettie Rose Addleton

    It’s so good to be in touch with you two again. Quoting from David Bottoms, a Georgia writer/poet: “The past and the present are now walking together. They are singing a hymn” expresses my sentiments regarding the multiple journeys and ministries that have been ours. Every day is new and exciting, isn’t it?

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