At a recent retreat in Alaska, an InterAct missionary gave a beautiful word picture that caused me to reminisce. The missionary kids (MKs) were gathered for prayer at the front of our meeting room. The designated leader strode to the front while asking the kids a question. “How do Yaks protect their young?” One bright MK quickly responded, “They circle around the babies when there’s danger.” The adults in the room were then instructed to make a circle around our precious and often vulnerable MKs.
MKs can live in very difficult environments without any friends who share their values and faith. The need to pray for these children cannot be stressed enough. As we gathered around them, fervent prayers were lifted to God on behalf of our children–infants to young adults. We prayed for safety, courage, personal commitment to the Lord and for their families’ ministries. It was a precious time. I doubt many of the kids encircled by the caring mission family immediately recognized the impact of those few minutes. But the time spent reflected hours of prayer that have been lifted up on their behalf.
As we prayed, I recalled when we were raising our own children on the field, they were exposed to lifestyles and struggles from which most parents choose to insulate their kids. Suicides, accidental deaths of young children and deeply broken lives far from God were commonplace to them. Desperate conversations at the kitchen table were easily heard in our small home.
On the other hand, they were also exposed to the richness of cultures not their own. They were impacted by the cultural importance of relationship, the value of family and the amazing transformation of a person who allows God to invade his or her life. We have come to believe that being a missionary kid, with its unique challenges, is a great heritage.
As we prayed for the MKs there in Alaska, my heart swelled with emotion to think about those of you who pray regularly for our missionaries on the field. I am firmly convinced that the regular prayers that have surrounded our missionaries and their children over the years have made a difference in their journeys. Thank you for standing with us and them through those years.
Sadly, some missionaries, even the godliest of parents, still wait with aching hearts to see the fruit of godly living in their children. Children young and old make choices and we know that the godly influence of their upbringing will pursue them. We pray for God’s continued working in their hearts.
Help Provide CARE for Missionaries and their Families
InterAct has recently launched the Critical Assistance for Respite and Encouragement initiative, or CARE. The purpose of the CARE initiative will be to help missionaries and their families dealing with extreme circumstances get the help they need. This may include things like providing counseling services, covering the cost of emergency medical services, facilitating critical interventions and providing urgent assistance in many other distressing situations.