Question about Singles/Families for missionaries:
"How do singles deal with loneliness and isolation overseas?"
In a new place, it's an easy trap to think that you are the only one who doesn't fit in, that everyone else is already set in a group, and that there is no room for you. Those are lies. God has gone before you to provide people to love you and to care for you as you care for others. Continue seeking his face first, and then look for those women (if you are female) who may be used of God to care for you.
I strongly recommend against finding men for this role, even "father-figure" type men. A more seasoned missionary once cautioned me, "No matter what the man calls you, sister, daughter, or friend, he still sees you as a woman."
The challenge of building such deep relationships with other missionaries or nationals is that, at some point, your paths will part... and the separation will be painful. But again, the pain of losing close relationships is worth the joy and security you will have experienced while you were together.
As for isolation, if you are the type of person who needs close relationships and regular social interaction, do not chose to go to a place where you will live isolated from people with whom you can build friendships. It takes a special type of personality to thrive and remain healthy in a lonesome environment.
Not every couple is looking to expand their family, but if you can be available and flexible, there will be families who love having another adult to talk to. The single gains a home to drop in with and someone to confide in, but also needs to be willing to pitch in and help make the family work like any other family member. Maybe rather than confidantes over a cup of tea you will bond in prayer and conversation while shopping, cooking, or doing laundry together.
Our children loved having "aunties" to replace far-away extended family members. Three of my five closest missionary girlfriends overseas were singles. A single can consider same gender friendships with members of married families as one coping mechanism that's a win-win solution.
Loneliness can be very hard, but your relationship with God will be what sustains you. I pray frequently to develop friendship relationships and that God would bless me with a wife and children. But my rest is in him.
One thing I would suggest is that you don't separate nationals and fellow expatriates. If you go to work among locals and then, whenever you need refreshment, go back to fellow foreigners, you will not be able to bond with the nationals. I believe it will be a hindrance on your ministry long term. Seek friendship from the local believers.
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