In Mexico, the community was growing always, but deep, intimate friendships were made due to living so much of your life together (ministering, playing, families, church, etc...). Then you have your community of your family and close friends, which is also more deep, yet more controlled, if you will. You can make more choices of your own due to just less people being involved. It is still good and the Lord grows different muscles in that environment than he does in the larger one.
But, living here in Nigeria, there is a different sort of community. One that is completely connected and dependent on each other, yet completed separate and individualistic at the same time. It is the "larger missionary community", where missionaries from Sweden, Ireland, Canada, Great Britain and the USA and others have this deep understanding about what it is to be a foreigner here, which isn't always easy. People don't necessarily live by one another and we all focus on different areas of need here, ones that the Lord has individually called our ministries to be a part. I have had to make more of an effort in this one because I find since I don't live right next door to them, it could be easy to think you are an island and "others" are just there for when you want them to be there. But, through time, I have formed about three unique friendships that have ministered to me, encouraged me and helped me along my Nigerian path. I really love these three women. They are all different, all involved in different ministries from me and each other and all have drastically different personalities. Yet we all get a long well.
Something that is so unique about it is the idea of living life with these women and the larger community with my hands open. No expectations and no walls because this community is completely transient. People are always moving away or just beginning life here and you never know when it is time for people to go and follow what the Lord has next for them. In some ways, I find myself at home here because my life has shown itself to move around a lot and you just get up and go, no questions asked. Every missionary has that temperament, to some degree anyway. But, what is new here, is I am used to being the one moving away, not others. To become close to someone realizing that it is probably just a matter of time before one of you moves is strange. Knowing that at the beginning, before you even start. The desire to protect yourself could be there and your lack of effort to build into others could also be there, but surprisingly, as you move forward, it happens. You knowingly walk into a friendship realizing it is temporary but the Lord has something for you in it. So you walk forward and enjoy the moment.
Now, I am not sitting here saying it is easy always and sad never.... but what I do realize is that one of my close friends is moving home for awhile (if not longer) and I might not ever see her again and it is okay because I have so thoroughly enjoyed her while we have had this time, and my hands being wide open will (I know and trust) grow me in ways that the Lord will continue to lead me down his path and this is just part of it. Plus, she and I are shopping for new material for some cushions tomorrow morning before she moves because she just so happens to be my friend who has a lot of style..... See, God always works the details out!!!