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An Open Letter to Missions-Minded Parents

04.08.20
in Blog, Child-student ministry, Mission work
What do you really want for your kids?

Dear Faithful Missions Supporter,

You are one of God’s greatest blessings to me and my family. Every time you mention that your family regularly prays for ours, my heart fills with gratitude and a sense of our unworthiness. Your faithfulness in giving your resources is deeply humbling. And the way you parent your kids has been an example to me.

I see you raising your kids to be followers of Jesus, dedicated to His church and generous with their money. I watch you teach them to pray for cross-cultural workers like me around the world.

There’s something I want to ask you.

Do you also raise them with the expectation that God may lead them to serve in cross-cultural ministry one day?

When you dream about where your kids will be at 25 or 45, do you picture them living near you, perhaps married and raising your grandkids, with a successful career they love? That’s a beautiful dream, and one I, too, sometimes picture for my own kids. While that kind of life is truly good, how dear to you is that (or another) dream? How are those dreams shaping your parenting?

What if your son graduates college and abandons the career he’s been preparing for, to work in an orphanage in Romania? What if your daughter, a successful engineer with a promising offer from a fortune-500 company, instead takes a job with a tiny company you’ve never heard of and moves with her husband and your three grandchildren to Cambodia? Does your heart leap with joy or fear? Or both?

Please don’t think I’m elevating certain careers above others. Every career is a calling from God. Rather, I’m encouraging you to fully surrender your kids and their future to God, to raise them to pursue God’s kingdom locally and globally. No, God doesn’t need your child in a certain country to accomplish His work. But He is calling — really, inviting — you and your child to actively participate in what He’s doing around you and to the ends of the earth.

I say this knowing first-hand the pain that comes with living thousands of miles from family. I mourn that my kids don’t see their grandparents in person very often. Every reunion is sweet but every goodbye hurts. I’ve had to accept that my choice to live overseas means my kids probably won’t live near me after they grow up.

The truth I cling to is that God has felt the same pain. When I’m grieving the most (usually after yet another airport goodbye), I know He is drawing near. I have learned to trust that my physical absence from my parents’ lives, and my kids’ likely future absence from mine, does not diminish the value of our relationship.

Most likely you’re already surrendering your kids and their futures to God. I hope so. Let us add to our prayers for them a specific request — that each one will grow up with a heart to see God’s kingdom advance throughout the world and courage to follow where He leads.

Much love,
Your Missionary

Crossworld worker Chloe Wilson (a pseudonym) and her family make disciples in East Asia.

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