For the first eight years of my missionary appointment I served in Siberia, Russia, where the nearest AGWM missionary was an eight-hour drive away. The second closest was either a five or six-hour flight. Or if you were in no hurry, you could get to either place in three or four days by train.
When we dealt with issues — culture shock, chronic headaches, or even burn out do
to the stress of missionary work and government hoops — a phone or internet call was all we had. Even then you had to be careful of what you shared, because it was always possible your emails were being read or phone calls were being listened to. Hugs, a kind hand, or a shoulder on which to cry on were few and far between.
In April of 2012, I had the opportunity to attend Connect 2012, IMM's birthday
celebration. I remember being amazed and almost envious of the community and family
atmosphere that appeared present at IMM. From my first meeting with the Godwin’s to tours with Jerry (IMM's director at the time) and visiting the IMM office building, there was just something different, something special. Every encounter with IMM was like a warm hug.
Fast forward 6 years and I now find myself a part of IMM. What I thought was good back
then has been even better. I left family in the states, but IMM has become my new family. Having the ability to share my prayer requests, having someone to talk to, pray with, or just vent to when culture shock gets to be more than you can handle, feels even better than I could have ever imagined. IMM Forever is a phrase that has been stated a lot in recent weeks. To me it doesn’t refer to just a media organization, but a family and a culture that will transcend the test of time.