“How Are Your Kids Doing These Days?” — Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 10
Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.
If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)
Question 10: “How are your kids doing these days?”
We have three children: Hannah just turned 12, Elijah will be 10 a few weeks, and Sender will be 7 at the end of December. We homeschool them, which is what we did when we lived in Greenville. But through summer camps, after school programs, and community events, they have plenty of time to engage with children their age.
All in all, they have LOVED living in Allendale, mostly because of the children that they have become friends with.
While she tends to be quiet in large group social settings, Hannah is quick to make friends. She loves to talk and create and talk and play and talk. And talk.
She has a best friend that now lives in a trailer right down the road from us. Her friend has 4 brothers; therefore she is always asking to come to our house. These two “peas in a pod” hang out at football games — playing, walking, and talking (of course) more than watching the game. No doubt that both of them enjoy that “girl time.”
Hannah enjoys going to Grace Church any weekend that we are back in Greenville, and participating in the student ministry and going on retreats. She is blessed to have so many friends and leaders in that church that care about her.
Elijah had a rough start to his first day around kids in Allendale. But God was faithful to bring a faithful friend that day, and more friends throughout the next months and years.
We’ve seen Elijah thrive here, as he has gotten the opportunity to befriend and play with boys his age. He still loves sit in his room reading books, or in the living room playing computer games, but he says the best part of being here is all the friends that he has.
Like Hannah, he enjoys being a part of Grace Church whenever he can, especially now that he’s a “big deal” 4th grader in the Camp Grace program.
Without a doubt, Allendale has become a part of Sender as much as Sender has become a part of Allendale. He loves people, whether kids his age, middle school buddies, or teenage boys that I coach.
He just turned 4 when we moved to Allendale. So now (3 years later), virtually all of his memories are centered around us living here. When we leave here (whenever and wherever God tells us), he will no doubt have a big hole in his heart.
And yes, he also enjoys being at Grace Church, especially since he’s moved up to Camp Grace with his brother.
Joanna and I didn’t know how our kids would react when we told them that we would be leaving Allendale within the next year. Would they be glad to go back to Greenville (or to wherever God would direct us)? Would they be sad to leave their friends? Would they feel confused, or surprised?
The best way that we can describe their reaction is that they were hurt. They had a sense of sadness, knowing that they would be leaving behind an adventure, friends, and some great memories.
We are planning to make the most of our remaining months in Allendale. Our kids will continue to form new friendships, and strengthen old ones.
Why have they done so well here? Mostly because of our gracious and loving Father, who continually works in their hearts, but also because they know that this fun adventure is part of God’s amazing story.
Please continue to pray for our children, that they know Jesus more, and that they would reflect His love to their friends.
- Missional Parenting: There’s Nothing to It
- Missional Kids
- The Best Part of My Job
- A Mission for Our Family
- She Laughed at My Car
- How My Kids Have Engaged the Culture
- FAQ: Why Are You Leaving Allendale? — Part 1 and Part 2