Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Working from Home and Missing the Office

Working from home isn't new to me. I've taken sabbaticals to write before, and spent long months in front of my computer, putting words together to make stories. This time, however, I'm not on a writing sabbatical. I'm home to care for a dying man. 

Unlike practicing medicine, best done in person, a ministry of prayer and outreach doesn't require a specific location. As a Global Outreach missionary, I'm still working. I'm calling this time a "short term mission trip," and it is, with the exception that I'm doing it from the comfort of my own home. 

Part of my mission is the digital outreach of blogging and social media. That's always been done from home, so it's no different. 

By the time I start my day at Home Office, I've been working for hours. My role there begins with morning prayer time. The staff gathers in the board room for a short devotional and to pray for our missionaries and supporters (we pull their name cards from a stack) and for any of our Global family who have specific needs. 

After prayer time, I take the cards and write emails to all those for whom we've prayed and ask about their needs. Some missionaries reply with additional prayer requests. Of course, I pray for them and reply, but I also forward those to home staff.

Once that's accomplished (which takes more time than I ever expected), I move to the work of coordinating the other mission projects that are ongoing, preparing for upcoming speaking engagements, and work on ongoing writing projects. 

The days are long.

I wasn't sure how I could continue those efforts from home, but it's worked out better than I expected. Prayer and Outreach have continued. Most evenings, I write a short term mission trip update for home office so we can stay connected. (And so I can feel a sense of accomplishment in this work of caregiving.)

The thing I've missed, however, is sharing prayer time with the others at Home Office. I'm surprised it took us so long to think of it, but, yesterday, I joined the group via FaceTime. I saw the faces of everyone in the group. We talked together, shared a devotional together, and prayed together. 

I felt connected again. 

After we signed off, I realized how very much I'd missed the people I've grown to love over the last year. I've missed going from office to office to pray for the people and the work in those rooms. I've missed sharing burdens and praying big into the most unlikely of situations. 

I've missed being part of the team, and I savored that time together all day long. 

This morning, I'm pondering the implications of yesterday. If I, as a full-time, in-home caregiver for a mere two weeks, sometimes feel disconnected from the outside world, what about the people who've done it for months? For years?

I'm astounded by the numbers of people who are caring for family members at home, who spend long days and nights doing the hard work of beside care. Lifting, turning, bathing, dressing, washing, folding, cleaning. 

Helping. Loving. 

The body of Christ has been incredible in helping me care for Sam, but what about the people we don't read about online? 

What about the family down the street who's taking care of a grandparent? The mother with a chronically ill child? The wife whose husband has dementia or other illnesses that prevent him from leaving home? 

Who cares for them? Who helps them stay connected?

I don't have answers, at least not yet. Instead, I want to hear from you. Are you an in-home caregiver? How do you stay connected? How do you get relief when you need it? 

If you're not giving care right now, how willing are you to visit the home-bound (patient and caregiver)? Would you be willing to help someone with a respite for a few hours? (sit with the patient and allow the caregiver time to run errands or take a break for lunch with a friend) 

In what creative ways are you willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus?

As I mentioned, I want to hear from you, so comment below or message me. I'm eager to hear what you have to say.

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40 niv
Please like and share if this blog post has touched your heart. It extends our digital reach in significant ways. Thank you.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Caregiver Chronicles: How Pro-life Are We?

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Middle East, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line