No Place Like Home [ARTICLE – Melissa Hainline]

Tears trickled down her face as she gazed longingly out the window at the home she had known for so long. As the airplane rose higher, the landscape of her home grew fainter and fainter. They were leaving! They were leaving home! How she had loved the thirteen wonderful years her family had spent as missionaries in Kenya. She reflected on the past few month’s events: furlough, the offer for her Dad to work at Heartland, the night her parents answered “yes,” the last several weeks in Kenya packing up and telling everyone goodbye.  Now they were en route to America. “America.” She thought. America was the last place she wanted to live. She had even prayed “Lord, if we have to leave Kenya, couldn’t we just be missionaries somewhere else? I don’t want to live in America.” Questions flooded her mind, “Will I be happy there? Can I have as close friends in America as I did in Kenya? Where will home be now?” She reasoned “If I can be happy living in America, then I can be happy anywhere.”  Sadly, she pressed her forehead against the airplane window, straining to see the last view of Kenya before it disappeared behind the clouds. “No place is like Kenya.” She whispered. “There is no place like home.”

Twelve years later, this same girl made another move; a move she hadn’t thought she could do. This time it was not an ocean away, but merely five minutes up the road from her parents’ home. She was moving as a single girl to her own apartment. Often she had thought she would be too sad to live on her own. It has been two months though now, since she made that move from her parent’s home. So how is she? Is she sad? Was she happy after moving to America? Did she make friends? Did she find a place to call home?  I am sure she won’t mind if we check in on her. Just open her apartment door, walk down the hall and look into her room on the right. There we will find her sitting at her desk writing in her journal. No tears are on her face this time, instead only a contented smile.  And if we could peek over her shoulder and peer into the pages of her journal, we might find her writing something like this:

“Dear God,

It has been twelve years now since my family moved across the ocean to Oklahoma. Since that move I have discovered that I can be happy in America and that I can make wonderful and close friends here! America can be home, too. And even now, as I have moved from mom and dad’s home to my apartment, I have found that I can be amazingly happy! I feel right at home in my own place and it does not bother me at all. I have learned that joy does not come from the country you live in, the job you have, or circumstances in your life; rather, joy comes from You and being exactly where You want me to be. It makes me think of heaven. We have joy in heaven, but we do not have joy because of the streets of gold, the mansions prepared for us, or the loved ones we see. We have joy because You are there. It is home because of You! And on earth, we can have a home and we can have joy not because of the place or the people here, but because of You. Whether in Kenya or America, single or married, no matter the circumstance, I can be happy if it is where you have lead me. No place in the world could be better than being right where you want me.”

As she rests her pen on her desk and closes the pages of her journal, her eyes travel to the Africa-shaped clock hanging on the wall in front of her. Reflections of life in Kenya and life in America flood her mind and a smile begins to fill her face. “Home is wherever God leads me,” she says, “and there is no place like home.”

Author Bio: Melissa Hainline grew up as a missionary’s kid in Kenya, East Africa for thirteen years. Then in December of 2004 the Lord transitioned her family to serve at Heartland Baptist Bible College. Melissa graduated from Heartland in May of 2011 with a Missions major and began working in the finance office that following June. She attends Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and enjoys teaching a 5-year-old girls Sunday School class, helping in nursery, and serving on Bus 11.

 

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2 Comments
  1. Melissa’s testimony has been a tremendous encouragement to me! I’m so thankful for her friendship and godly influence!

  2. Melissa is my favorite!!

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