Your Family and Missions
While starting in a new direction in missions may be important to you, I’m sure keeping your family protected, provided for, and intact in a world that tries to tear apart family values is at the top of your list of priorities.
When God nudged me to consider missions, we were a very dysfunctional family: I was a controlling husband with an alcoholic father and a controlling mother, my wife had an alcoholic, selfish father, and two of our three sons were alcohol dependent (now clean for years). And to top it off, I was losing a long time career job due to downsizing. Definitely not a perfect family.
My wife had no desire to become a missionary; to leave our nice home, our friends and her opportunity to be a State Senator. I was at midlife, which I call “Middlescence”—a time when I had “done that, been there.” Now what could I do that mattered?
I applied for many jobs, but it always came down to two candidates—myself and one other applicant who always got the position.
So I asked, “God, what are you doing?”
But He knew what He was doing. In the end, a large mission agency received my and my wife’s resume and asked us to join them in a management international support role in the U.S.
But what about my family?
Two of our three boys were over eighteen and gave us their consent to go into missions. The youngest, at age fourteen, seemed excited to make a move. My parents had died and I was an only child. My wife’s parents were living and had reservations about us becoming missionaries (It’s not a real job!), but they reluctantly gave their approval.
“Honor your father and your mother and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”— Matthew 19:19
A new family
“And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”— Luke 8:21
God provided a house, a school and a church for our family and soon the members of our mission became our new family. So in Christ, it’s not where you start but where you end up. Did I fail in my first half of married life? Yes!
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”— 1 Corinthians 1:27
It took me years to learn to die to self-desires and live in Christ, through Grace, not measuring up through works.
Building families in Christ
I believe every generation’s success and greatest satisfaction is measured not by how well they do, but by how well their children do. If the next generation does less than the previous one, then the older generation has failed in its primary responsibility—to be an example, train and release the next generation.
I believe as fathers and mothers we need to lay down our fears or feelings of regret, and trust God that if we choose to come into alignment with His heart, He is able to redeem all the years that were lost through the curse of not walking together.
Missions is a way for Jesus to live out His desire in us to help fulfill the Great Commission. His plan is big enough to include and provide for your family. Keep on keeping on. Find a service opportunity for your family here.
Mike Gallagher has spent thirty years with Wycliffe Bible Translators and also works with MissionNext as a Member Care Coordinator.