Posted: April 5, 2018 by Patrice Miles in Jos Nigeria, Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Missionaries, Nigeria, Patrice Miles, Prayer, SIM

hiraethHiraeth: a Welsh word for homesickness (or nostalgia)

(n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the grief for the lost places of your past.

I don’t recall where I saw this picture but I saved it on Pinterest.  Lately, I have been feeling Hiraeth as most missionaries do. I sometimes wish I lived like the missionaries of the 40’s . They didn’t have Facebook, email or international calling plans. Seeing pictures of family get togethers on Facebook, receiving emails from friends about their life back home and navigating the six hour difference to talk to your family on the phone – it is always exciting, but it is also depressing.



I wonder if missionaries of the 40’s missed their passport country as much as I seem too? They never knew if someone was sick or died or if there was a birth in the family until long after it happened. Is it better to immediately see and hear what you are missing out on or to not know at all?  

I feel like you can’t truly connect with your host country unless you completely disconnect with your passport country. But it can feel like you are turning your back on everyone you love and care about. Where is the middle ground?

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 9.46.24 AM.pngLately, I have been going through old pictures online trying to categorize them.  I stumbled across a file that had pictures of the annual Polsgrove family trip to Gatlinburg. I remember how every trip resulted in a Polsgrove male breaking or wrecking something or offending someone. There were pictures of the five Christmas’s or the five hundred birthdays we attended every year due to our big, happy, dysfunctional family. I remember how Lenny and I complained about the stress it created and we couldn’t wait to get away from all the busyness and family whalla (problems).  

Now as I look at each picture I wish I could have those annoying times back.  I crave the family get together where someone offends someone else.  I miss the chaos of attending three different birthday parties in one weekend.  It feels strange to look at pictures of a life and a home that no longer exist and could never be the same if we ever returned- and it grieves me.

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 9.38.56 AM.pngI grieve the loss of relationship with nieces and nephews that will not know who I am. I grieve not being there to pray with a friend and hug them when they are going through tough times. I miss those deep relationships where a friend knows when you are not being your true self. 

So what do I do? I wish I could say I have the answer but I don’t.  I DO know God has called me to serve in Nigeria.  However, when times get tough, when I feel lonely or when I long for the easier life …. my thoughts turn toward my old home and I grieve. I know that grieving is normal.  I ask God to help me remember that I am his daughter in Nigeria and I am not missing out, but it is one thing to say it and another thing to really feel and believe it!  Pray for God to help me not just say that I believe in His purposes for my life but that I believe and feel it with my entire being!  I am sure my feelings are no different than some of you reading this email who have families living miles apart or SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAmaybe your families ties have been broken and you miss those better times.  I hope this blog encourages you to know you are not alone and that your fellow sister in Christ completely understands. Our feelings don’t mean we are weak or incapable but that we are human.  We are also daughters and sons of the Most High and He is our one true home! 

Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  (NIV)

  1. Beverly Sapp says:

    I know how hard it is to be away from family. My husband & I are both only children and there is no extended family left. Both our children live 700-800 miles away, and we only see them a couple times a year. I felt lonely sitting in church on Easter when other families are there together. So I know it has to be very hard for you, and I pray that you will feel God’s comfort & presence. You serve a faithful God whose name is El Roi, the God who sees. He sees you, He is thinking about you. When you feel lonely, know that God has never stopped thinking about you since the day you were born. He knows everything that is going on with you. He notices how hard life can be for you, and He notices every heartbreak, every tear. He rejoices over you with singing and is pleased with you because of your sacrifice and faithful service to Him in NIgeria. He is our one true and faithful friend who will never let us down, will never leave us or forsake us. (Duet 31:8). Praying your life will be full of joy and abundant with friends, that you will feel satisfied that your service is worth the sacrifice, Because it is.

    • Thank you so much for this! As soon as this blog went out I even started feeling the spirit of God shining down on me and could tell people are already lifting me up and praying for me. Thanks for this encouragement as it is exactly what I needed!

  2. mandmrearden@yahoo.com says:

    My heart is crying with you dear sister. We all have these times of longing. Thank you for being so vulnerable and open, and stating it so eloquently. We love you and keep you and your wonderful family in our prayers. Big hugs!

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. You and your family are a blessing and you have done what is called of you. We are all called to spread the Good News, but you acted and obeyed!! So very proud to even read this. Thank you for your sacrifices. They will be for His glory. -Chelsey 🙂

  4. Dale Butts says:

    Patrice! I am so glad you shared his! I appreciate your candidness & vulnerability. Grieving is a natural thing we as humans experience. I have family that lives on opposite sides of the United States & it grieves me that my mom wasn’t able to watch our boys grow up & attend their sporting events or family gatherings, etc. or when I see grandparents enjoying their grandchildren at a park, bday party. Nigeria obviously is much different than the US, as it is a third world country. I am in awe of you & your family and what you are doing in Nigeria. You guys amaze me and you have made such an impact on the folks you encounter! More than you’ll probably ever know!!😍 I love the bible verse in Isaiah you ended your letter with. Stand on that verse. For we are to move forward, new things are happening!!! And you guys are a part of all of it!!! Thank you being obedient to the Lord and following his calling on your lives. I will be praying for you. 🙏🏼❤️

    Love & blessings, Tracy Butts


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