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Great Faith Through Sacrifice!

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   As I was reading a devotional book this morning, I was reminded that great faith doesn’t come easy. I’m sure that when you think of people you know who have great faith, missionaries come to mind rather quickly. After all, the sacrifices they make wouldn’t be possible without a great faith!

  Their willingness to make such sacrifices never fails to inspire! Yet, there is another group of people whose willingness to sacrifice for the cause of Christ also reveals a great faith albeit from a different perspective. That would be the families who had to give up their loved ones to serve God on the mission field.

   In some ways, their sacrifice might be the hardest. They are the ones left behind. Birthdays, special events, holidays all must be celebrated without their missionary family members. Births are especially hard! Not being able to be physically present to welcome that precious new life and watch him/her grow up requires strength only God can give.

   But God is always faithful and for every sacrifice there is an abundant return! Recently, I heard from a missionary’s mom whose only child was called to the foreign mission field along with her daughter in law and grandchildren.  Because of her great faith, the pain of letting go did not overwhelm her. Though without faith, it would have. She was able to move forward, and by God’s grace did much better than she thought she ever could. Hers is a great faith!

   A great faith isn’t for the casual Christian. But then neither is the extraordinary opportunities to experiences blessings beyond what anyone could imagine. Just ask any parent of a missionary! 

 

Isolation and Togetherness; both are beneficial!

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I use these two words of contrast within the context of experiences known to a parent who has just bid farewell to their missionary child. It has been my reality that both isolation and togetherness have worked in tandem to bring me to a quiet state of acceptance and peace of mind with the departure of my only son and his family to the foreign mission field.

Of course, this work wasn’t accomplished overnight but overtime!

After all, it’s put pretty well in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV),

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.

My time of isolation!

My time of isolation began during the early days after my son’s departure. I poured everything out to God. I spent ALL the grief I felt over loosing the companionship of my son (And I can’t tell you how important this is). I had suffered a genuine loss and not only did I need to acknowledge that, I needed to mourn that loss.

God let me cry for as long as I needed.  He allowed me to say whatever came to mind, for He knew those thoughts and words had to be released and He was the only one I could trust to hear those words. With my Bible in hand and the Holy Spirit’s tender guidance, over time (and the length of that time will vary for each person) God lovingly led me to a time of peace and quiet resolve to accept His will. 

In time, I was able to rejoin the land of the living!

Gradually, I was able to answer questions from those who were concerned about how things were going with me and my son and daughter-in-law (for at that time my grandson was still a precious dream) without my eyes spilling forth with unbidden tears. That, my dear readers, was no small miracle.  

Then came my time of togetherness!

Recently, my husband and I were privileged to join a group of parents who’s children were serving as missionaries within the same mission organization as our son.  As we gathered together, we shared our struggles and experiences, finding understanding companions on every level.  We shared photos and identified with each others stories of our visits (of places most people only dream of) to where our children served. With these parents, I knew the freedom of honest feelings. With them I didn’t have to pretend I had it all together. They knew that as hard as it was to make this sacrifice, when it was all said and done, it was a willing sacrifice.  And being with these missionary parents, I realized a level of joy and happiness unique to that sweet fellowship.  I felt stronger (and happier) and possessed a greater resolve to focus on the abundance of positives I knew as a missionary’s mom. 

* * * *

So you see, we need both isolation and togetherness in times of struggle.  We gain strength to endure by spending appropriate time in both. Don’t stay too long in isolation and by all means don’t go there without God.  From that blessed time of healing, you will find the strength to join together with like-minded parents in coming alongside your missionary child in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel.  We learn how to focus less on our loss and focus more on what we and our children have gained; not to mention the people they have been called to serve. And my dear readers, that makes all we have gone through entirely worth it! 

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.

Me–A Missionary Mom!

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bobby & me

As my son prepared for the foreign mission field, he tried to find a book for me that would be a helpful resource as I prepared for my unfamiliar journey as a missionary mom.  I had been a minister’s wife for the past 34 years and my daughters were minister’s wives as well.  This path was all too familiar.  However, having a missionary in the family was a brand new experience for us.  Quite frankly, I was clueless as what would be required of me.  It would definitely be a ‘learn as you go’ experience.

I have recently created a blog to go along with my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, a book about negative thinking from a Christian worldview.  My son suggested I create a blog to share my experiences as I began this new journey as a missionary mom and I agreed.

Hopefully, as I share with my readers what I’m learning along the way, it will serve to assist them in the difficult bumps  they may face in their own walks with God.  For I’ve found that there are times such as releasing your child and his family to leave the land of their birth to follow God’s call, and that requires strength that comes only from God.

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