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It’s Not About Us; Lighten the load

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The 6 of us

He’s on his way!

“Mom, I have some news for you and it may not be easy for you to take. I feel God is calling me (and my wife, or and my wife and children) to the mission field.” 

     For many parents that’s a bombshell of a newsflash. Depending upon the family status of our child, it may throw us into a chaos of emotions. 

     Perhaps, having undergone such an experience myself, I could offer some advice on what to avoid.

   As parents (and family members), thoughts begin to flood our minds of all that we will have to sacrifice. Yet as soon as the initial storm has subsided (and that time varies for everyone), we must come to terms with its effect.

     Even though their news strikes us at the core, we must be sensitive to the agony our children are experiencing. Remember, this is a calling God has placed upon their lives. Before coming to us with their announcement, our children have spent much time pondering and praying over their decision. 

    For the sake of our children, we must be willing to scrutinize our reaction to their news. Were we more concerned over how this will affect us? Of the sacrifices and the pain that will now color our future? On behalf of our children, we must not be afraid to ask ourselves the following question:

     Have we made this all about us?

     We must not forget that as our children serve on the mission field, they will face difficult days and situations. The difficulty of saying goodbye to their families is only the beginning. If we are in despair over their leaving, we must understand that only adds to the burdens they are already carrying.  

     Yes, we are hurting! There’s no need to pretend we are not. But our children need to know that we are depending upon God (not our child) to carry this burden.

The end result of our resolve will serve to lighten their load.

Because we have chosen NOT to make it all about us.

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. 

 

Dreams, God covers the details!

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You Can’t Buy Happines but you can go to Scotland and that’s pretty much the same thing 

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 For many years I had a dream of traveling to Scotland. Can’t really explain why I became intrigued with that  extraordinary country. Maybe it had something to do with her breathtaking scenery

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or those happy clear water streams of the Highlands. Perhaps it was the appeal of quaint and misty isles that allows one to step back in time to a slower paced life. Possibly it is the lure of the castles, and the images they inspire of knights and jousts, lords and ladies, or kings and queens dressed in medieval array.

   I just know when listening to the captivating music of the kilted bagpipers something deep within my innermost being is stirred. I am at a lost to explain it. But bagpipe music and that lyrical Scottish brogue never fails to draw me in. 

   I did explore the possibility of Scottish roots using the DNA test. While it did not reveal a direct Scottish ancestor, my roots could be traced to the area of Ireland/United Kingdom. I felt I had a good reason to hope my roots could be traced to Scotland, albeit more likely Ireland. But I hold on to that small hope.

   But come Friday, I will travel to Scotland for my third time since 2016. My son and his family have lived there for the past 9 months while my son has been working on his master’s degree in linguistics. We will all return together in early June as his term of study is almost up. He will finish his dissertation in the States and return to the mission field in August. 

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   About 13 years ago, my dream led me to establish an e-pal relationship with a precious pastor’s wife, named Ruth, who like me had 4 children. We formed a sweet friendship. So when my son told me that he was considering studying at the University of Edinburgh, the dream of going to Scotland and seeing my friend face to face began to materialize.

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   Alas, a year before Bob and I, along with our son and his family, actually made it to the shores of Scotland, my dear friend passed away. But her legacy to me was two beautiful daughters that opened their home to us for a visit. My friendship with her blossomed into a friendship with her pastor-husband, an older missionary couple, and the family of a church member. 

   These new dear friends welcomed us to Scotland and went above and beyond in helping our son and daughter in law to get settled in Edinburgh. It would have been so much harder on them were it not for the support of these new friends.

   I wonder, did my dream of going to Scotland have more to do with God providing a support group for my missionary son when he arrived in Edinburgh? I think so, and He granted the fulfillment of a life long dream for me in the process. God covers the details!

The facets of support!

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Supporting our missionary children has many facets.

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The Facet of Prayer

   Obviously and most importantly, supporting our children in prayer is our most helpful and greatest responsibility. (Actually, that goes for any parent. No matter what our children are doing) Our children can assist us in this venture by sharing their prayer requests. And, depending upon their security level, we can share these prayer requests with our friends and other family members. (But remember there are tips we need to learn in sharing these prayer requests safely when their security level requires us to do so.)

   But whether we have specific prayer requests or not, we need to be faithful in covering them in prayer. Personally, I have found that praying bible verses that apply to their particular situations is most helpful. Following are a few suggestions:

Prayers for peace – Philippines 4:6-7

Prayers for protection – Isaiah 54:17

Prayers for deliverance from fear – 2 Timothy 1:7

Prayers for cooperation with God’s plans – Philippines 2:13

Prayers for waging spiritual warfare – Ephesians 6:16

Prayers for strength – Psalm 105:4

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The Facet of Financial/Legal Support

   While we might be limited in what we can give, remember God isn’t. Remember, a little here and a little there goes a long way. Supporting their particular mission organization’s fund raising efforts and encouraging others to do the same is also a significant way to help.

   If your child keeps a bank account in the States, then helping them manage that account can prove invaluable to them. In our case, we have certainly found this to be true on many occasions!

   How about having power of attorney? For example, we have found that when our son needed transcripts sent out, having power of attorney permitted us to sign for the transcripts. There are various reasons why having power of attorney would be a vital help to our missionary children.

   As the above signs implies, support is not limited to monetary gifts. Knowing we are available in giving  assistance and guidance in financial/legal matters lessens  the load they must carry.

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The Facet of Emotional Support

   I will never forget my daughter in law’s words to us as they left for the mission field for the very first time as she hugged me goodbye, “Knowing you support us like you do, makes this so much easier!”

   I can’t imagine the struggles and the burdens that making a new life in an unfamiliar culture and often unforgiving environment must have on my children. Their load is heavy already. By withholding our emotional support, or sinking into despair because we feel they are abandoning us, we only add to their burdens.

   If as a parent, you are struggling emotionally because your children and grandchildren are separated from you, try looking at it from their perspective. If the situations were reversed, what would your children need to do to make it easier on you to follow God’s call? Sending them off with our full support (no matter how difficult it may be on us) gives them the lift they need to fly successfully. 

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