Getting involved in missions as a family
I know of certain children of missionaries who grew up and came to a point where they vowed that they would never ever get involved with missions. I’m not exactly sure why this type of thing happens. It may be that the missionary became so involved with his missionary work that he totally neglected his family. It may also be that he did not radiate the joy involved with missionary work to the family. To be fair, many missionaries do not get much joy from their work and this would obviously influence how the rest of the family and the children, as they grow older, feel about missions.
What sparked my thoughts on this topic was when I received a phone call from someone in an old age home in our town this morning. I’ve never met him, but he has obviously heard that I am a missionary in Swaziland. He asked me to come and see him. So I drove down and went to the small apartment where he and his wife stays. He was born in 1921. He is fairly new in our town and therefore asked me to tell him about the work that I am involved with. I shared some of my experiences with him and his wife. Eventually he told me that he and his wife were sitting in their fairly comfortable apartment while it is bitterly cold outside (it is winter at the moment in the southern hemisphere and the cold fronts seem to be coming at us relentlessly!) He then said to his wife that it is not right that they should be enjoying the warmth of the apartment with an electric heater warming the room while others are living in circumstances where they may not even have a blanket. And this was the reason why he called me – to find out if they could contribute something to help to buy clothes or blankets for some of the orphans under our care in Swaziland. Of course I was very happy with this.
But then I found out that this man’s brother was a full-time missionary and later became a professor in missiology. The professor’s son is also now a professor in missiology. The brother’s daughter is married to a full-time missionary as well. And then I asked him where their interest in missions started. And he told me it started in their home, where their parents exposed them to missions, taking them on outreaches, where they built churches in remote areas.
How my own children will feel about missions as they grow older I will still have to see. But I am sure that their exposure to people of other cultures and languages influenced their lives in a positive way. Perhaps this type of exposure could be one of the greatest favours we can do for our children.
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