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Responsibilities of a missionary’s mom

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Stay in contact with whatever means possible

   Thanks to that beautiful satellite that circles the earth, we don’t have to feel so disconnected from our children when they leave to parts unknown. And thankfully communicating via the internet, doesn’t cost us anything! Back in the day, when people traveled across the ocean to answer a call from God, their parents didn’t know if they would ever see them again. In our day, we have been spared that burden. We have much to be grateful for, don’t we.

Pray and share with our children how we are praying

  Praying constantly for our children across the seas, is a given. We don’t have to be told to do this, do we! I suggest finding bible verses that address their particular needs. This would be helpful and encouraging to them.

Stay informed as to  our children’s prayer requests

   We should also ask our children for their prayer requests. And when appropriate, recruit others to pray for those needs. The more people that are praying for our children, the better. But remember:

Keep confidences

   Security levels vary depending on where our children are serving. Seek their permission before sharing their prayer requests. Become informed as to how it should be worded, if it is to be shared. It is not necessary or wise to give too much detail.

 

As a general rule, be vague about using personal and place names

   Many of our children are on Facebook, so check out how they present information there. Follow their lead when you share anything online. Personally, I limit myself when giving out details concerning personal and place names. My children’s service area doesn’t require this, but I prefer to play it safe when I am writing my blogs. And with all that’s going on with Facebook these days, we should be careful about any information we place there. 

Keep them informed of what’s going on back home (the good and the not so good)

   Being so far away, our children loose touch with the daily goings on. Even though they may miss being with family and friends back home, they still want to stay connected. So, keep them informed of the major events and be sensitive about the details you choose to share. Some things are best not to share. Depend on God’s leading in this. 

Make sure our children have no doubt of our support

   Our children have made some radical changes in their lifestyles to follow God’s call upon their lives. They need to know that their families back home not only are praying for them but support them wholeheartedly. They have enough to deal with. We only add to their load if their family back home, for whatever reason, can’t release them to their calling. Let’s keep our focus on what is best for them. We have God’s grace to give us the strength we need to let them go. 

 

Technology! A gift from God!

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   Today I just want to express to God my gratitude for the technology that makes remaining connected to my son and his precious wife and boys possible. Because of that beautiful satellite, I can hear their voices and see their faces. I can see places where they live and people who are their friends. We can share  birthdays, holidays, and special moments even though we are on separate continents.

   My son can even send me a paper he has written for his university class for me to edit. And considering how grateful I am to be able to be of genuine help to him this is a ‘HUGE’ blessing for me!

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FaceTime is always exciting!

   Today I got a FaceTime opportunity with my son and grandson. I couldn’t help but notice how my youngest grandson is growing in body as well as speech. What fun is was to watch his expressions and listen to his voice (his dad had to act as translator you know).

When I first started writing this blog back in January of 2012, God comforted me with the following thought:

I told someone a few days ago, that when God calls you to do hard things then He builds in special comforts of blessing for you. Ours today was video chatting with our son and daughter in law and sharing this Thanksgiving Day with our 3 daughters and their families. We were all together and even if we weren’t all together under the same roof, we made some sweet memories nevertheless. November 23, 2012

 

  That post was written only 11 months after their initial departure (5 years ago now). We have had numerous comings and goings since then. And God continues to shower us with comforts such as I have just described. Enabling us to do what is still a very hard thing! 

BIRTHDAY HUGS AND KISSES ACROSS THE MILES. . .

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Happy Birthday my little man!
Happy Birthday my little man!

My grandson turns two today.

My trial in all this is not being able to be with him on this happy day.

 My blessing is that I got to video chat with him this morning,

  and without being prompted he called me by my grandmother’s name. We gave each other hugs and kisses, played peek a boo, and he even tried to feed me some of the cereal he was eating–all thanks to this wonderful invention called Facetime!

   All along I have prayed that God would make up for the distance between us by blessing our relationship with a closeness that would transcend the distance. Happy moments like we enjoyed today, inspire me to believe that is indeed God’s plan!

   So I will resist, by God’s grace, the temptation (fiery dart*) to feel sorry for myself at being so far away from my little guy on his birthday!

(What good would that do anyway? It’s a fiery dart meant to make me miserable and create a burden for my son and his family. Nope, that’s just not going to happen!).

   Instead, I will reject such thoughts and replace it with the ‘Truth thought’ of rejoicing that his parents love God and are willing to be obedient to His call upon their lives and make the most of every bit of communication that God blesses us with.

My heart is full of joy and there’s simply no room for anything else! 

*For more on fiery darts check out my blog:

http://fierydarts.wordpress.com

or my book entitled:

Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.

You can order it from my fiery dart blog. Blessings!

Live and Learn!

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Recently, I learned an expensive albeit embarrassing lesson and since one of the reasons I write this blog is to prepare the way for other parents who are new to the missionary life, I am honor bound to do what I can to allow you to benefit from my mistakes.  Ok, here goes.  It’s embarrassing (b/c I can’t believe how naive-ok ‘dumb’–I was!)  but if you will benefit then so be it!

When my son got settled in his new country, he soon thereafter purchased a cell phone.  And up until Easter, he always called me using a phone card.  Researching the ways and expense of calling overseas was something I had on my list of things to do but alas there was no check beside it. Oh, you know, just never got around to it!

Right before Easter I had been checking with my son about how to call and he had put me in contact with a friend of his who had called him on his cell.  So, I messaged this young man and he told how to dial the number.  So armed with this info, I impulsively attempted making a call.  I had waited long enough; the time had come to do this thing.

My first attempt failed. By the way, I was using my cell phone and simply tried redialing my son’s number.(It was the same # my son’s friend had given me, right?)  However, that didn’t work.  When I went to Skype on my computer and dialed (so to speak) that same number I was informed that  the number I had entered was not a working number.  Also, since I had never tried using Skype for an overseas call, I had not selected a payment plan and therefore, couldn’t make a call until I had. There wasn’t anything for me to do but google “how to make a call to an overseas country”.  So, in earnest I began my search.

My search revealed that the first 3 digits should be 011 ( US exit code; must be dialed first for all international calls made from the USA or Canada) the country code ??? then the area code and finally the phone number.  Check the following website for  more details:

http://www.howtocallabroad.com

At this point, I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number.  I considered (ever so briefly) that this call, if successful, would cost me $3.99/minute! (I had done enough research to know that much!)   Well, the conversation would be short, obviously, so surely, that wouldn’t cost me too-o-o-o much!  And even if the call was steep, hearing my son’s voice would be so worth it!

(Boy, did I get tested on that statement! Still holds true though!)

To my delightful surprise, the phone began ringing!  Then when I heard my son say, “Hello”, I yelled, “Bobby, I did it!  I figured out how to call you from my cell !”  To which my son responded laughingly, “Well, Happy Easter Momma!”  Oh, the conversation was sweet and I felt such freedom now knowing I did not have to limit our communication to occurring only when he called me!

 I love cell phone technology!

A few days later, being giddy with my new found freedom, I called my son again!  And again it was a short conversation because at this point I still had no idea how much it was going to cost me.  Curiously, I checked my phone bill but could not find where I had been charged anything! (Unbelievable!)  I  saw where I had made the call but the charge was $0.  In looking back at the phone calls my son had made to me previously I saw no charge there either.  So, in my ignorance (and this is the embarrassing part) I began wondering if I had even been charged for these phone calls!

I shared this amazing but puzzling news with my Sunday School class and they didn’t have any answers for me either at that point!

(I now think they were just being kind and didn’t want to burst my bubble!)

 It was something I gave thought to calling the phone company about but was afraid my contact with them might reveal a mistake so I decided not to mention it!

(Are you laughing at me yet?)

The day of reckoning soon came when the next billing cycle revealed the shocking reality of  a total cost of $115 for those 2 short conversations!

(Remember now that’s on top of my normal bill.)

 So have you figured out how it was that I thought I hadn’t been charged for those calls when I checked the bill?   Yep, no charge had been set b/c the billing cycle wasn’t complete!  I know, I know…”

Shortly after this personal financial fiasco, I began researching a calling card a friend from church had told me about.  For reasons that still puzzle me, it took 6 attempts at ordering the card and at this posting, I still don’t have the card!  It will be much cheaper whenever I do get around to using it but in the meantime I’m still having to wait for my son to call me!

(Good grief, it’s been almost 2 weeks since I ordered that card, ugh!)

Today my son called me and after we hung up I thought of something else I needed to ask him.  BUT I WAS NOT going to call him on my cell!  I mean my funds have taken quite a blow.  Then I thought of, SKYPE, why not try Skpe?  So, I got out the ole computer, clicked on Skype and while it wasn’t as inexpensive as the calling card it was WAY lower than using my cell.  So, I bought an hour’s worth of time and paid around $13 and made the call.  That’s when I discovered that I didn’t have to dial the 011 part of the number b/c Skype puts a + in place of the 011.

Bobby was pleased I had finally learned how to use Skype for he had suggested it before.  And until I was able to use my calling card, I was grateful to know I had another alternative.

So, there you have it!  Now, you have been spared all the bumps on the road to figuring out how to make an international call to your missionary child.  The main thing I want you to remember is this:

DON’T USE YOUR CELL PHONE TO MAKE AN INTERNATIONAL CALL!

AT&T charges $3.99/minute YIKES!

(They do have a international calling plan, but it’s doesn’t come close to Skype or a calling card!)

Calling cards are cheapest!

I use Union Telecard:

www.uniontelecard.com

Skype is a viable option.  Cost me about $13 for 60 minutes

(You’ll have to download Skype onto your computer and

there’s an app for it on your smart phone as well.)

Now to put the finishing touch on this intriguing faux paux of mine, AT&T  has what is called roll over minutes and the calls Bobby made to me didn’t cost me because of the minutes I had accumulated.

Live and Learn People, Live and Learn!

or better yet;

Let Others Live and You Learn!

Communication makes hard things doable!

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 My son and daughter-in-law have traveled to a city where she can get a medical checkup concerning her pregnancy and to take care of all those things missionaries have to take care of to resupply.  Had to have some work done on their truck and get new tires for it.  Seems the wear and tear on vehicles there is monstrous!   But the great thing for me is that they are able to access the internet and our communication has increased abundantly.  Still hoping for a video chat and hopefully that will happen soon.

My sweet daughter-in-law did something pretty wonderful for her family back home and I highly recommend that if you have missionary kids you ask them to do the same for you.  She gave us a glimpse via the family blog of a day in their life.  She started with their wake up time in the morning and took us through a typical day.  She spiced the blog up with pictures of the things she was describing.  YOU MUST DO THIS FOR IT HELPS SO MUCH!

I can’t remember if I’ve shared this or not, but before my son and daughter-in-law left, we came up with the idea of a family blog.  The only readers of it are just us!  Often times missionaries have to be illusive about giving out information for security reasons, so a blog limited to just a few people is a helpful way to communicate and be protective of them.

Also, in my blog I deliberately try limiting the information I share on it.   The old adage, It’s better to be safe than sorry, is a good one to go by.  So when communicating online with your missionaries decide before they leave what to say and what not to say.  We live in a different day and giving out too much information could put them at risk, so get all that nailed down on the front end.

Tips:

I don’t use their names very often.

         I don’t give out place names very often either and when I do it’s broad.

         Know the security level for your missionaries.

3 is the highest; 1 is the lowest

         If it’s ‘3’ then you should come up with code words for the things you want to

communicate to them about.

If you blog, then be careful of the type of information you give out on it.  Don’t give out too many details.

Also, a blog like a family blog is helpful–limit the number of people who can read it and/or post on it.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Remember, you are going to have times when missing them becomes very hard, but being able to see their faces (pictures, video chatting)  and reading their posts online and through email are the ways God provides for you to be able to deal with the separation.  Even though there’s an constant ache in my heart (and now with a grandchild on the way, whew it’s going to be even more intense) God’s grace proves time and time again to be sufficient.  God didn’t just call my son and daughter-in-law to be missionaries but called their families to let them go as well.

When God calls you to something, He always equips you to be able to deal with the difficulties that calling will place on your life.

So while I would prefer to have my son and daughter-in-law living here in the United States, the reality is that they do not.  I’ve got to depend upon and trust God to help me with the hard things, especially with the separation that this reality brings.  Wishing it wasn’t so just complicates everything.  Accepting God’s will brings peace.  Therefore, I choose peace!On our sunset cruise!                                          A moment we captured of our sunset cruise.

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