Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Missionary Kids and Other Strange Species, Part Two

Our son-in-law's father was a missionary kid who grew up in Brazil. His parents were pioneers with a long and distinguished ministry on the foreign field. To my knowledge, he never made a credible profession of faith in Christ. The man turned from the gospel, never bothered to attend church, and came to a very sad and lonely end. Missionary kids face many unique difficulties and their stories do not necessarily end well. Before there were computers, e-mail and Facebook, missionary kids came home out of touch and out of date. Their clothes and language were behind the times. Fortunately, missionary families do not have to be quite so disconnected these days. Still, missionary kids are a strange species when compared to families in the average church State- side. One missionary couple we know have reared a family of five in Europe. Nearly all the children were born overseas. As a result, the children do not consider themselves Americans (although they are), and they have a distinctly European cultural mindset. They do not fit in with America, and return to the States only on occasion to visit relatives.
The challenge they have faced is the same for missionary kids everywhere. That is, the fact that they were born to missionary parents in a missionary family does not of itself make the kids missionaries. Sometimes they resent being pressed into service and do not understand why they have to live under difficult circumstances while other kids in other places are enjoying a much more pleasant existence.
When we faced the challenge of having to prepare our own kids for the mission field, we tried to anticipate the difficulties by teaching our kids two facts: 1. That being a missionary was a great adventure. They were going to do things and see things most kids only read about.
2. That being a missionary was a great privilege. The greatest thing we can do in the world is lead a soul to Christ. We never let our kids forget these two facts. We never allowed them to feel as if they were being deprived.
If you know a missionary kid who is feeling left out because of the time they had to spend away, let them know they are the ones with the advantages. The shallow culture they left behind cannot compare with the privileges and opportunities they enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment