Moving Overseas: My Perspective on Homesickness

aerial perspective of foreign nation

Photo by Michaela Potterbaum

Sometimes I think to myself: Why did I move to Florida?


Florida is hot, humid, there are no mountains and pretty much no seasons (all things I personally love). This is a question I’ve been asked a lot. To a non-Christian, it sounds foolish to say “God told me to move here.” In those moments, when I miss home, I search the mighty Google for pictures of Aalesund or Norway and think about how much easier it would be to be there.


When I was out hiking with my dad as a kid, I would sometimes jump over stones, run under trees and dive through the bushes, thinking it was all great fun. My dad didn’t always understand my shenanigans and would ask me: “Why do you always have to go the hard route?”


The essence of this question is interesting. What is really being asked is: “Why do something out of the ordinary? Why do the uncomfortable thing?”

I think a desire that lies in the heart of every daring trailblazer is the desire to truly make a difference in the world and participate in something bigger than themselves. If someone hadn’t blazed the new and difficult trails, we wouldn’t have discovered places like Australia, Hawaii and the Americas! But I am sure it wasn’t easy for those discoverers.


Every adventurer, pilot, businessman, and missionary will eventually encounter the urge to go home - home to their house, back to the normal, back to family, friends and apple pie.


missionary at work

Five years ago, I graduated high school and thought to myself: I should do a Discipleship Training School. It was wild, it was out of the ordinary, but I knew I had to do it. It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. After a secondary school here at Youth With A Mission Orlando, I went home for a bit to figure out what I should do next. After a few weeks in Norway, I was invited to a wedding back in Florida. While there, God spoke to me very clearly, leading me to come back on staff with YWAM Orlando. After some fundraising and preparations, I left Norway and went to Florida to become a full-time ministry worker.


At first, everything was golden and fun, but, after a few months, I started to miss home. I started to doubt if God was the one who really led me here or if it was merely my childhood adventurer speaking. In a way, I again felt like that kid running through the forest, taking the hard route. Wouldn’t things be so much more comfortable and easy at home?


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In the midst of this questioning, I had a powerful encounter with God. He confronted the doubt in me and reminded me of His unfailing good and perfect will for my life. He reminded me that He hadn't led me to Norway for this time of my life, but that He really had brought me to Orlando.


Even after being here for about two years, I still miss Norway, but in my homesickness, Jesus meets me. I’m sure He knows what it feels like.


In Matthew 4:18-22, we can read about the disciples leaving home. Jesus was calling them into something bigger. These men were probably in their late teens. I believe Jesus and Peter were the only guys in this crew who were over 18. When Jesus called them, they didn’t see the full picture of what He wanted to do, what He was about to do, and, even less, Who He was. When He said “Follow me,” He invited them into an adventure and to be a part of the biggest movement the world will ever know. They counted the cost and decided that Jesus was absolutely worth it.


His disciples went all over the world. Thomas went as far as India. Paul did multiple trips around the northern and eastern areas of the Mediterranean, and Peter went to southern Europe. In a time without Facebook, Snapchat and FaceTime, I’m pretty sure these guys wrestled with homesickness and the desire to be somewhere comfortable and safe - BUT they still did all these things. Just like with the disciples, the Lord is asking you to follow Him. Maybe that is cliché to say, but it doesn’t make it any less true.


Listen, homesickness is a legit thing. Sacrificing the comfortable is real. I’ve been there and I know the feeling. Maybe you have Googled my hometown by now and are also wondering “Why did he move to Florida?”


"Even after being here for about two years, I still miss Norway, but in my homesickness, Jesus meets me. I’m sure He knows what it feels like."


Just like many others before me, I heard the Lord calling me into missions. How could I hold back the very thing that gave me life when there are people who have never heard the name of Jesus? The last thing Jesus told the Disciples before leaving earth was “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I see that what looks like the hardest and toughest route to some people was exactly what I needed to grow deeper with Jesus. To endure homesickness was, for me, such a small price to pay compared to the joy of seeing people transformed and changed by Jesus. He is so worth it! I look back at how different life could have been if I had stayed home after my DTS or if I had never done one. What a loss it would’ve been if I had stayed and not done what God asked of me!


Someone else would’ve received the crown and the opportunities intended for me.


What if Loren Cunningham had not done what God invited him to do? What if Martin Luther King had never had a dream? What if the twelve disciples had never shared the gospel after Jesus went back to heaven? What if you let homesickness hold you back? Yes, homesickness is real, but Jesus is bigger and so worth it. He is a joy to do life with and will fulfill you, no matter what He leads you into.


What part of the world will you go and change?

Eivind Photo class

Written By:

Eivind Lovund | YWAM Orlando Staff