My husband and I have the wonderful opportunity of raising five kids on the mission field. We love it, and our kids love their life here.
But our kids aren’t missionaries like we are. They didn’t choose to come here. They’re simply “along for the ride,” and all the ups and downs that come with the missionary life.
Missionary kids (MKs) experience unusual challenges. My kids have faced situations I couldn’t have imagined at their age: learning a new language, fitting in to a new culture, experiencing substantial lifestyle changes—just to name a few. To be sure, Argentina isn’t a third-world country, but it’s also not the United States. If I’m honest, sometimes we’re concerned about how our choices and our call have affected our kids.
When the struggle is hard, when Grandma’s hugs are far away, when they don’t understand what’s going on and so the tears come quickly, we’ve found comfort in the promise of the Great Commission. I’m sure you’ve read it a thousand times, but look again at what Jesus says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Comfort comes when we realize the presence of God—yes, even in the midst of our family’s calling to Argentina. “I am with you always,” Jesus says. We often focus on the “sending” aspect of the Great Commission, and rightly so. But when you actually get on the field, the “I am with you” part becomes both precious and prominent.
And of course, God has proven faithful in His promise to be with us here in Argentina. There’s so much I could point to as proof. What stands out the most is how God has provided a support team of friends, family members, and churches that love and care for our kids from afar. This love and care has been an encouraging lifeline, reminding us of God’s love and care for us. From the hand-written letters and stickers in the mail, to the regular Zoom calls, to the offerings taken from kids at Vacation Bible Schools a few thousand miles away, to the emails from concerned friends, to the out-of-the-blue Facebook greetings—I could go on and on and on. Through it all, God has been with us, and He’s reminded us of this through godly friends and family members.
Thankfully, long-distance fellowship isn’t all we have. We’ve also felt the comforting presence of Christ through the body of Christ here in Cordoba. Our kids have made friends; they’ve developed ever-deepening relationships with people of all ages in the church. These people are from all over the world. They love our kids and show them Jesus.
It’s absolutely vital for missionary families on the field to experience such tangible evidence of God’s comforting presence. But the best way people have ministered the presence of Christ to us is through their fervent prayers for us.
Through prayers for our kids, we’ve seen their hearts soften and their attitudes change.
Through prayers for our kids, we know that God has been protecting our rough-and-tumble boys from countless accidents.
Through prayers for our kids, we know that the friendships they’ve forged with other kids are not just chance encounters, but gifts from the Lord.
God has used the prayers of his people to grow our family together and to point our kids toward Christ. When we send and re-send prayer requests about our kids, I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to know that they will actually be prayed for. We’ve already seen the Lord provide specific answers to specific requests.
If we weren’t missionaries, I’m not sure our kids would have this many people so regularly praying for them. If they were “normal” kids in the States, then their story wouldn’t be known, and their picture wouldn’t grace as many refrigerators. And so in these small but special ways, our kids experience the love and the presence of God.
So I simply want to say, first and foremost, Thank you, Lord, for the promise of your presence given to us in the Great Commission. But I also want to say something to those who support missionary families: Thank you for your prayers. Please continue. They’re felt by our MKs, and countless others throughout the world. The Lord hears you, and He ministers to us through you.