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Pondering My New Home

Pondering My New Home

Editor’s Note: As she begins her time on mission in Jamaica, lay missioner Susan Sarkissian embraces this season of transition.

I just arrived in Jamaica for two or more years of service, and I am experiencing what is commonly known as transition. This is that period where you are unfamiliar with your surroundings, clueless to social norms, and just not quite sure of your role in a new community. We all go through this on some level when we move, change jobs, or perhaps start a new school. In FMS Formation, we had several discussions about transition, but the things we learn often have greater meaning when they are put into practice.

As I take in the sights of Kingston and spend time in the community, I am naturally drawn to comparing Jamaica to the US. There are huge differences in climate, culture, and social norms. Many here have shared with me the challenges of using public transportation, the high cost of living, increase in violent crime, inadequate healthcare, and burdensome government bureaucracy. They could have been talking about the US. These observations are interesting, but I didn’t come here thinking I would fix those problems.

So where am I with all this? What comes to mind is thinking about how our mother Mary “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). I value all the wisdom that is shared with me because I know that is given in friendship. I will hold it in my heart, but also will leave plenty of room for me to fall in love with Jamaica and its people. I know there is goodness here and lots of it. I look forward to discovering the blessings of this beautiful country and sharing them with you.

Question for Reflection: Reflect on a season when you experienced transition in your life.

Susan is from California and enjoyed her role as wife and mother for 17 years. When her husband died, she put her degree to work teaching math to high school students. She retired in 2022 so that she could dedicate time to nurture her newfound faith. Living simply was born out of necessity, but it also allowed for greater freedom in looking for new opportunities. FMS was one of many doors that opened for Susan in her journey to seek others who share her faith as well as a desire to serve. As a long-term lay missioner, Susan looks forward to the opportunity to build relationships in her new home, as well as develop a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those marginalized in society.