living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Enjoying Your Children on the Mission Field

 

Our children with some of their Portuguese friends.

Our children with some of their Portuguese friends.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to raise your children in another culture outside of the United States?  God’s special plan for our lives was to bring up our children on three different continents. We were first in South Africa for about eight years where two of our three children were born. Next, for almost five years we ministered in Lisbon, Portugal. As a result of our time in Portugal, we have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two precious grandchildren who live there today.

Finally, during the busy growing up  years of our children we returned to the United States to pastor in Michigan.  There were many adjustments for our children upon returning back to the States. Their entire world changed drastically. They were many times homesick for their “home” in Portugal. There were many new and different things for them in so many ways. Our daughter cried often because she missed her friends, and the familiar and comfortable life in Portugal.  Our youngest son though took great comfort in going to the “place that gives you hamburgers out of the window”. That was McDonald’s of course and he thought that was really pretty special. Each place where we lived gave us many experiences and  very precious and dear memories.  We thank God for how He worked in so many lives. A very special part of me remains in each place. Here are just a token few of the many joys of bringing up your family on the mission field.

1. Your children are exposed to loving all kinds of people!

This was especially true in South Africa as there were so many different cultures. Pot luck dinners were amazing! We enjoyed not only many South African dishes, but also Asian, Polish, French, Chinese, Bulgarian. and Portuguese just to name a few. Our children really understood that Jesus loves the children of the world in that huge inner -city ministry. When we were expecting our third child, our daughter asked us very innocently what kind of baby we would be getting. I asked her what her preference would be and she responded by saying that just any color would be great! They truly did not see color or any difference in people–only that they all had a deep need for Jesus.

2.Your children learn to be confident in sharing the gospel.

While being outside of your own country,there is a continued awareness of why you are there. Imagine everyone you know including your neighbors, friends in the community, children with whom your children play are all unsaved. Not only do your children hear your heart and prayers for those around you , but  it becomes their passion too.

3. Your children are content with less materialism.

I probably should qualify this by saying that each country is different and continually changing. But, in years past I can truly give testimony to the goodness and generous  spirit of many people whom the Lord used to meet all our needs. Our children did not have many things that perhaps they might have had here in the States , but all our needs were abundantly met and the Lord was always faithful. It was a special blessing as well for our children to visually see how God met so many needs through prayer.

4. Your children and you work together as a team.

This was especially true in our family during our years in Portugal. We all have such good memories of placing tract, invitations, Source of Life lessons in mailboxes(it is legal there) of  many apartment buildings. Our children were a huge help and blessing and worked tirelessly. Usually, the reward was an ice cream for a treat after several buildings and many, many mailboxes.Also, many neighborhood children came to Sunday School because of the invitations from our children. Since church happened in our home the whole family worked together to make our home ready for the services. Many hands made lighter work to get everything in place for Sunday and back in place on Monday.

There is deep love and appreciation for those that God calls you to serve. They may speak another language, have totally different customs, holidays, food, thought patterns, and many other things. Yet, the bond that you have  in sharing Jesus with them far outweighs any differences.  Your children are very much involved in this blending, working together, loving and caring. Those God calls you to serve become like family and influences your children greatly.

There are many other blessings that we have discovered in having raised our children in three different cultures, but above all we are thankful for God’s wisdom, strength and help in guiding us throughout our children’s’ growing up years.

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Good News From a Far Country!

 

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“As cold waters are to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” (Proverbs 25:25)  As missionaries for several years my husband and I would often use this verse to explain how encouraging it is for a missionary to hear from those that are praying for them. When you are far away “home”, it is a far country.  In the same way that cold waters are to our thirsty souls, it is so totally refreshing to get a card, e-mail, and any other communication from “home”. This says: “I am thinking of you and praying for you.”

Sadly, many times out of sight is also out of mind. It is not that we mean to forget the missionaries. It is just that life is an amazing flash of busy things each and every day. As churches and individuals, we financially give and pray for those God has called to serve Him in other places. But, many times we neglect to encourage them emotionally. So many, many times at just the times I needed it most, the Lord would often send encouragement in small ways. What a wonderful blessing to have your heart uplifted, and your steps a little less plodding because  someone on the other side of the world thought of you and cared.  It is really always the small things after all!

But how can we begin to bless those we love that are so far away?

1. Snail mail as it is now called and formerly known as cards and letters still work! Just buy yourself a page of international stamps. They cost around ninety-three cents each. Yes, it is a little investment but, oh, what a blessing! Once you get going you will just want to keep at it.

2. Birthday and anniversary cards are pleasant surprises. Do you know the birthdays and anniversaries of your missionaries? It is usually located on their prayer card. What a joy to know that someone remembered and you have been a part in encouraging your missionary. Your kids will enjoy sending their friends card and notes too. This is a wonderful homeschool project as well.

3. E-mails and Facebook messages are fast and easy ways to send an encouraging word to someone as well. Just one short line to someone could make their entire day.

4. You can send packages as well (usually small ones are best). It can be quite expensive but the joy far outweighs the sacrifice and it sure makes my mother heart feel better to send small things to our grandchildren. It would be important to find out from your missionary how getting packages works in their country, as each country has its  own standards.

There are two kinds of packages that can be sent. The first is the easiest because you do not have to fill out a customs form. All you need is a yellow envelope; however, only printed matter can go inside. I am always on the lookout for little things that are flat that will bring smiles on the other side of the world, such as small coloring book, stickers, little bookmarks etc. The second package is for other goods which are packed in a small box or large envelope. In mailing these goods, you will need fill out a customs form stating the exact contents of what you are sending.

Remembering your missionaries in these ways is truly good news from a far country. There is something in your heart that is so contented when you have encouraged a fellow soldier with cold water.


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Beginning the Journey of Deputation

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I am so amazed at the sovereignty and plan of God! My husband and I were asked to assist a church restoration effort in England for one year. One year became two and soon our visas expired and we found ourselves at a crossroads, “Do we stay longer or return to the USA?”  We enjoyed working and serving in England, but my husband didn’t have a peace about staying longer. I vividly remember my husband saying to me, “I believe one day God will lead us back to England” as we somberly sat in our airplane seats. At that moment we had no clue the reason God was bringing us back to the USA was to build our family through adoption – we were just obeying Him in faith. The next year was difficult as we went to several doctor visits only to be told there was no earthly way we could have children. (You can read all about our infertility/adoption testimony at “openarmsheldhigh.blogspot.com” ) During this time my husband pastored a church for a year and a half and from time to time I thought, “Maybe one day….”. Through a variety of circumstances, God moved us away from the pastorate and once again we found ourselves at the crossroads. We didn’t want to make any hasty decisions and we fervently sought the Lord for nine months before feeling confident it was His hand leading us to permanently return to the United Kingdom.

I am very excited but rather nervous/anxious/ scared at the big step of deputation and moving abroad with my child(ren). I know many of you don’t even know who I am, but if you could begin praying for my family I would appreciate it. We are beginning deputation in June while simultaneously walking through the adoption process. Both are huge journeys and I need God’s grace. I want to be a sponge and soak up counsel and advice from women who have walked this road before. If you have any practical tips on traveling, moving, or balancing family and missions please let me know.

Here is the link to our website. We would love to share our burden for the UK with your church or family. Thanks for listening to my heart….and thanks for praying.

http://revivethyworkuk.com/