It was a frigid February morning as I arose and watched my breath hanging in the air before my eyes. I knew today’s priority had to be finding kerosene to heat my apartment. Oil delivery to Armenia had been limited this winter making kerosene purchases an exhausting hide-n-seek game. As I ate my chilly goat cheese and flatbread a host of thoughts joined me at the breakfast table; I really don’t like eating alone. Does anyone know my struggle? What if I freeze to death? Must I always be brave? Why do I have to do this alone? Who can help me? Where are my students when I need them? Why don’t I have a husband? Why won’t Thomas ask me out? Suddenly I was astounded at how a simple lack of kerosene led to utter loneliness and sadness.
Serving single on the foreign field has numerous benefits of ease, simplicity, flexibility, time and exciting adventurous possibilities. Singles tend to learn new languages, develop national friends and adapt to culture, more quickly and smoothly. Housing and travel options tend to be greater and expenses fewer.
But as in most things in life many pluses often include minuses. The solo servant needs to be aware of and prepared for periods of emotional and spiritual loneliness. I believe for many of us single workers, loneliness is not a constant state of being but more a feeling which comes in seasons and waves.