We called it furlough back then. Now they call it “home assignment.” Every fifth year as missionaries we spent “Stateside.” Our rotation was mixed up a bit by an emergency medical leave we took when I was five. That six month leave put us on a rotation different than the one we would have had, so we were back in the US for my fifth grade year and then again for my tenth grade year after which we did not return to Bolivia.
The purpose for the change of labels for that Stateside year was to take away the impression that it was a year-long vacation and reemphasize that the year was to be spent doing deputation. Dad did a lot of preaching that year we were in the US when I was ten, and we most often went along. The four eldest of us five were regularly asked to sing for the congregation a Sunday school song or two in Spanish, a display of which we were not all that excited to be a part.
I remember once grieving to Dad about some part of this ministering we were asked to do. I suppose there was not much excuse I could give, so my complaint took the form of telling Dad that we didn’t know anybody. He most likely instinctively drew on something his mom or dad may have said often to him and replied, “Ya, a monkey doesn’t know anybody, but everybody knows a monkey.”
There is something comforting about knowing and being known. Maybe that’s why the Holy Spirit inspired Pastor John to remind us that we, the children of God, would not be known, would not be welcome in this world. The world does not know us because it does not know God, but we don’t need to be known or accepted by the world because we are known by and know God and are indeed His children.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.