Missionary Kid: Possible Solutions

by Sandi B.

Some Possible Solutions

I believe that if a problem is raised, solutions should also be presented. And there are some very workable solutions for this whole issue of what can be done for MKs today. Here are some very practical solutions that I hope you will consider. 

    1. Missionaries for a season: I think some error comes from believing that one must be a missionary for life.  Perhaps mission boards should consider sending out missionaries for a season based on the needs of their children.  If they are unable to home school, then stay home and raise the children God gave you. After they are grown and on their own, then go ahead and do your missions work.
    2. Don’t accept as missionaries parents who already have school aged children: Ripping your children out of their culture and from their extended family and friends is too hard. The root of bitterness and rebellion takes an easy hold on their hearts when they are ripped from everything they know and love for “the work”.
    3. Home school: If the missionaries start a family while on the field and are not located in a city where good American schooling is available (like FaithAcademy in Manila, Philippines), then the moms should home school their own children. There is great home schooling curriculum available today that was not available when we were children.  If God has given you children, your first responsibility is to them – not to the “work”.  Mothers are supposed to be mothers who are there to nurture and teach their children – mothers are not supposed to put a career before their God-given role of motherhood. Fathers need to be there for their children, even though it is their God-given duty to provide for the family and do what work God ordained them to do.  Part of providing for your children is being available to your children. We children needed our Mom and Dad – not a lot of dorm parents. There should not have to be a choice between parenting one’s children vs. the “work”. One shouldn’t have to be sacrificed for the other.  But the current “solution” of boarding school is not a biblical solution.
    4. Move the ministry or come home: If the mothers cannot home school their children for some reason, the missionaries still could have two choices:
      a)   modify your ministry and move to the city where there is a good school like Faith Academy, where your children can get a good education, but still live under your parenting while you do your “work” – or
      b)   come home until your children are raised. Boarding school should not be an option.
    5. Have a home in the States that is your home: On furloughs, always come back to the same state, the same town, the same church, and the same home on your furloughs, if at all possible.  Build bridges and friendships for your children for when you come home for good. Growing up and always adjusting to another “home” is not healthy.  We needed to belong somewhere.  We needed a home church.  We needed friends for more than a year that we could look forward to seeing again and moving forward in our friendships.  We needed our real grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins – our own real extended family.  Don’t make your children feel like aliens everywhere they go with no roots.
    6. Once the children have graduated from high school, then the families need to come home: This is such a critical time of choices and decisions and we children needed our parents. We were not ready to be on our own.  We were not adults yet and were not mature enough to make it through this stage without our parents. Some MKs are paying with a lifetime of grief for their childish or teenage decisions because their parents were not there for them. Some MKs hate God because they thought He tore apart their family and abandoned them for the “work”.  Just because your children have graduated from high school does not mean they don’t need you any more. It is the opposite – they need you more than ever.

My plea is for the MKs and their families. It is time to stop tearing families apart in the name of the Lord.  It is time for missionaries to raise and nurture the children God gave them.  God does not call people into ministry to the neglect of the family God gives them.  Boarding school may seem like the perfect solution, but it is not.  It enables parents to abandon their first calling – being parents to their children.  Boarding school can never take the place of one’s own parents.  I know.  Please do not sacrifice your own children for your “work”. 

For the sake of the Kingdom of God and His children,

Sandi B.
August 2008
Updated August 2011