During this Lottie Moon Christmas Offering season, when our hearts are focused on the global missionary task, understanding the unique challenges missionaries face is important. Here are the final ten missionary responses. By the way, I first shared this at a national meeting for missionary parents. One of those parents asked me to publish the list in my monthly column.
Things Missionaries Wish Their Parents Knew
10. Recognize the importance of respecting the rules the International Mission Board (IMB) has concerning parents visiting during the first term as IMB helps us acclimate to our field of service.
9. Try to understand the importance of visiting us on the field. It will open your eyes to many things and encourage us in ways you can’t fully understand.
8. Don’t buy large gifts for our children. Keep in mind what we have to pack in suitcases.
7. Support our family’s choice on education. Just because it’s different from the way you chose to educate and parent doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just different.
6. Please don’t get upset when our children call others “aunt” and “uncle” on the field.
5. Remember that when I get off the plane, I am so tired. I have just traveled across the world with these babies, and I am weary beyond all words. Hand me a hamburger, and let me go to sleep.
4. Ask me about my home, the one across the ocean. Ask me about my day, my friends, my struggles, and my loneliness, and encourage me in the task.
3. Keep in touch with us, even when I cannot respond because my internet is out. My tasks are so many that sometimes I cannot reply, but it means so much to get a text or picture. Please help me feel like I am a part of family events even when I can’t be there.
2. Know that I want to be there for Christmas. I want to see my nieces and nephews born. Know that I love you so much and sometimes wish my calling could be in the United States, but it is not. Getting on that plane again and again is the hardest thing I ever have to do.
1. Realize we are not running from you. We are running toward God! We love our parents with all our hearts.
May we do our part of the missionary task to pray faithfully and fervently for missionaries, missionary kids, and missionaries’ parents.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Sandy Wisdom-Martin serves as executive director-treasurer of WMU, SBC.