I was the newestglobal worker on the field. She was a young adult in the church where I ministered; she was also the only girl in the young adult small group until I arrived. Two girls against three guys—we had to stick together, as girls so often do. Our friendship formed quickly. She taught me how to properly make tea and coffee for small group. She went with me to look at apartments and talk to real estate agents. She helped me shop for furniture and curtains. She was fascinated by my American cookbook and could not wait to help me try some of the recipes. I sought her advice on different cultural adjustments, like buying a garden hose and finding cute clothes. I bought her lunch or ice cream during our shopping excursions. Together we worked with the youth, leading games, making snacks, building relationships. I helped her plan the kids’ Sunday worship time. In a few weeks, I was going to join her in leading that time. We discussed the possibility of leading a girls’ Bible study together. I was excited to have such a close friend, as well as someone in whom to invest spiritually.
In those first months on the field, she was my lifeline, the one person I knew that I could ask any question about my new culture and not feel completely awkward. She laughed at how American I was—baking cakes only from a box, not putting sugar in my hot chocolate—and I tried to keep her from feeding the storks outside my apartment. We were more opposite than alike, in age, appearance, and favorites, yet we connected as girls so often do.
All of that time spent shopping and drinking hot chocolate became the foundation for what was to come. Two months after we met, I survived a very serious and traumatic home invasion. She was one of the first to know and to help. She helped clean my house after the police left, putting away my shoes in a nice straight line because she knew how organized I was. She went shopping for new clothes for me, purchasing and returning items because we were not sure exactly what size I was, and I did not feel comfortable going to the store. She spent time with me during those next days, crying, laughing, and talking about what had happened. As we said goodbye two weeks later, I knew that our friendship would last. The last two weeks had bonded us more than the previous two months. She had walked with me through the beginning of a dark valley, simply because she cared—as girls so often do.
At my commissioning service before I left for the field, one of the pastors had prayed that God would send me a friend to help and encourage me, as girls so often do, while I adjusted to a new culture. She became that friend. It was not until I was back in the States for a time of healing that I realized how God had answered that prayer so quickly, knowing that I would need that friendship for what was to come.