When Your Child is Called to Full-Time Mission Work
“So, what are your son’s plans after graduation?” – I just stared at them blankly. How do you respond to this? How do you explain to the world that your child feels called to full-time mission work? Christians look at you in sympathy. The world just gives you a blank stare. They don’t get it. Maybe, you don’t really get it either.
My son made his big announcement in church without telling us ahead of time. We knew he wanted to go into ministry. Up until that time he had talked about preaching or music – and then, WHAM! Full-time mission work – in MONGOLIA! I sat and cried. I couldn’t help it. Sure, I wanted God to use him, but MONGOLIA??
He was convicted and excited, and I don’t think it occurred to him that I might not feel the same. God helped me adjust. It just took prayer and a bit of time. Now, I am content. I want God to use him in a mighty way.
Later, when my other son announced he felt called to Thailand, I still shed a few tears, but I found peace sooner, knowing God was in control.
Below is a letter that shows the vulnerability of our children and their need for our support. Whether your child is headed overseas as a full-time missionary or just venturing out on their own, these words explain what they need from us, their parents.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I Want Your Blessing
Since a young age, you taught me that the Bible teaches us to honor my father and mother. That started early when I asked you if you liked my crayon picture. I craved your blessing. I wanted you to smile and tell me it was beautiful – even if it wasn’t.
When we tell you that God has prompted our hearts towards full-time mission work, please don’t balk at the idea. It’s taken a long time for us to make this decision in our hearts. Now we’ve finally built up enough courage to announce God’s direction for us to the world – starting with you. One sad look, one gasp, one upturned might cause second thoughts. Our utmost plea is that we have your blessing.
I Want You to Be Proud
Our friends’ parents always talk about “my kid is going to be a fireman” or “my daughter is graduating law school,” We know that going into the ministry is not the most lucrative of occupations. It may even be hard for you to verbalize, “My kids serve in full-time mission work overseas.” The last thing we would want is to bring embarrassment to you. Nevertheless, we want you to be proud of what the Lord Almighty has chosen us to do.
I Don’t Want You to Worry
Being so far away in such an unknown place may bring trials. Please don’t worry about us! If we are truly in the center of God’s will, there’s nothing that could happen to us outside of His allowance. You may not hear from us every day. That doesn’t mean something bad has happened. It probably just means we’re busy serving the Lord. You could make yourself sick with all the “what ifs” and “I wonders.” Keep your mind on the Lord and know that He’s watching out for us. Remember He is the Ultimate Parent. He can love, provide, and protect better than anyone, so it’s best to leave us in His hands.
I Want Your Support In Prayer
More than care packages and Christmas cards, what we really want is your prayers. While we know our home church prays, it’s a different depth of prayer from a parent. You know us inside and out which means you can best pray for us. You know how to pray for situations that would be undiplomatic to ask prayer for in a service. (Like digestive tract problems when we first adjust to the strange new food) Knowing that someone will stay up late to pray, or wake up in the night when prompted by the Holy Spirit, eases our minds. The power of prayer is the most precious gift you could ever give us.
I Want You to be Okay with the Distance
Yes, it’s far. Yes, it’s probably a country you threatened to banish us to as a disobedient child. But now that we’re actually going there, we know you want us here. Just remember you’re just a phone call, video chat, or 36-hour plane ride away. Back in the olden days, either you’d never see us again or you’d have to ride on a boat for 4 months just to get there. That’s encouraging, right? Even though we’re not around the corner or down the street anymore, we are still close, if kept in the heart. Again, partnering in prayer can close the distance gap and make you feel a part of our ministry. When we come “home” for visits, furloughs, or emergencies, please understand that we miss it here. But now we have a second home there among the people to whom God has called us. And that’s okay.
I Don’t Want You to Be Upset About the Grandkids
Thanksgiving and Christmas will never be the same, we know. Keep focusing on the fact that we’ll still have eternity in Heaven together forever. A time of separation here is nothing compared to timeless togetherness in Heaven. Is Christ worth it? We promise to send pictures, videos and make sure our kids know your names. They’ll be different, growing up as third culture kids. They may not understand American jargon or ways of living, but we know you’ll love them anyway. Just think of all the wonderful, unique experiences they’re getting that other people’s grandkids aren’t!
I Want You to Come Visit and Help with Our Full-Time Mission Work
Really if you want to truly understand our life, come and see. We can’t always pack up and head to the States on a whim. But since you’re going to be empty-nesters soon, might as well travel, right? We want you to see first-hand the places we live, the people we’ve won to the Lord, and the ministry God has grown. If anything, it will help you pray for us better and more accurately. We want you to be a part of our lives. We’d love to show you around. Remember, this is our calling and our life’s work, we want to share as much of that vision with you as we can. So go ahead and sign up for that credit card that earns you free airplane flyer miles, because we’re already getting a guest room ready for you!
Your Loving Daughter,
About the Author
Kim and her husband, Craig, live in Overland Park KS where she successfully manages a marketing company and homeschools her two children still at home. Twenty-two years of juggling business and homeschooling has taught her a thing or two about time management. In addition to work and family, Kim helps her husband with the College and Career class at the church and also directs the Children's Music Ministry and drama team. The Submissive Spirit was born from her desire to reach out to other Christian women across the globe and share encouragement and the love of Christ.