I distinctly remember walking into each of our four new homes, fresh off of a 24-hour journey. One was bigger than expected. One was so white (freshly painted walls), paired with hospital-grade light bulbs, I felt blinded. One was so dirty it turned my toddler’s feet black within a few steps.
Yet with each unique physical home, we were warmly welcomed by our new family, our team.
In all but one new home (and that one was found and rented the day before we arrived!), everything was cleaned and prepped. Sheets on the beds, towels in the bathroom, and floors mopped. Breakfast foods, snacks, fruit, and necessities were laid out on the table. What a blessing to have teammates that know exactly what it’s like to land on foreign soil, jet-lagged, and willing help others land as softly as possible.
I even learned how to enjoy canned tuna after one return. We had been on a home assignment for 8 months and arrived in our new city at midnight, with a 5-year-old, 3 year-old, and 3-month-old. Nearly the whole team met us in the stairwell to hug our necks and welcome us. We had never met them before! As we started to settle over the next few days (read: unpack, snuggle baby, unpack, feed baby, unpack, check on older two, unpack), I found myself ravenous. We didn’t know where anything was, so we were relying on the table full of food our teammates had lovingly provided for us. There was a stack of tuna cans that I knew had the protein I needed to keep up this pace, but I had never been a fan. Finally, I caved, so hungry after feeding the baby. I had to call my new teammate to find out how to make tuna salad. *insert all the laughter* I’ve been able to enjoy it ever since!
If we’re honest, I bet some of us can remember a time or two that we were weary of welcoming yet another new teammate. This call of overseas living seems to have a revolving door sometimes, huh? I’m right there with you. It’s exhausting to pour ourselves into new friends year after year, especially when you don’t even know if they’ll stay very long.
Some of us are in orgs that have a mixture of long-termers and short-termers. The newbies need lots of hand-holding and help with daily tasks, but they are often young, energetic, and bold in building relationships with the locals. But it starts to take a toll on the long-termers. We get drawn away from the reason we uprooted our lives to live and serve the locals in order to help our fellow teammates. It can get frustrating.
But can I encourage you to hang in there? I think of all the people Jesus dealt with on a daily basis. We know his close 12 didn’t change, but we see over and over to whom he clung to consistently—his heavenly Father—when times got chaotic and people were begging him for answers. He patiently dealt with them, then retreated, but he always came back, knowing there would be more waiting for him.
As veterans, we have the privilege of showing the newbies the ropes. Our attitudes can leave a lasting impression for the good or bad. God may be using us to lead those who were on the short-term boat to re-think their calling. In the least, He can use us to speak into these (perhaps) young lives, one can of tuna at a time.
What have been your experiences in welcoming new teammates? If you’ve endured high turnover, how do you continue to open your arms and heart again and again?
I share this recipe several years ago and decided it was time to share it again! This galette (think tart, but free-form) is super simple to make with simple ingredients. I have even taught locals how to make it, and they love it! Not too sweet and not complicated for those who have never baked. Enjoy!
Time: About 2 hours, including chilling and baking
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick or 85 grams) softened butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 1/2 Tbsp chilled water
3 small or 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced*
2 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp sugar
*If you’d like to make a simple glaze, save the peels and cores. I have never tried it, mostly due to laziness. Check out the original recipe if you want to give it a shot.
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend with pastry blender, fork, or hands until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
Dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through your fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon of water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Or something like that–I never measure! It’s free-form, right?!
Place dough on a lightly greased baking sheet. Heat oven to 400°F.
Overlap apples on dough 2 inches from the edge. Make a pretty pattern if you wish. Working your way around the edge of the dough, fold it inward, then make folds as you go around, about every inch or so.
Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle the sugar over the whole thing. Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg if you like!
Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate it every 15 minutes.
Cut into triangles or rectangles to serve. Enjoy!
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