Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Parents of missionaries

We are in a new era of missions.

Facebook, Voxer (our current favorite), Skype, Google Hangouts, Magic Jack, blogs...

We can stay in touch with our families in real time.  They can be here in 30 hours (best case scenario).  We could be there in 30 hours (you know, if all our children has passports and stuff - little details).

In the past year, nearly every missionary that I know has had a parent visit.

This is a different era of missions.

Parents of missionaries live a unique life.  Their hearts are partially in a country they have never inhabited.  Their grandkids are growing in a culture foreign to their own.  They take a month off work and cross the globe with the goal of LITERALLY snuggling their grandchildren for 3 weeks straight.

They drop their life to rush to the aid of their children in crisis - not unlike any parent in the West, except that such a selfless act costs thousands of dollars instead of a drive to New Hampshire.

They encourage YOUR missionaries like no one else can.  They provide insight that no other person is qualified to give.  They watch for red flags of burn out, disillusionment, and self pity and they alone can be so completely honest that your missionary HAS to listen.  They see the progress and can encourage like no other.

How can you support the parents of missionaries who are in your midst? Are they grieving the small losses? Not being there on their grandchild's first day at the village school? Are they grieving the big losses? The death or significant health concern of a loved one overseas? Would your missionaries be exceptionally encouraged in dark times by a visit from their family?

The mission field is all around you.  Don't miss out!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Absent from flesh - what joy that moment brings!

I know I promised a blog series... oh four months ago... I WILL write it.  But life is so hectic here and blogging is emotionally stressful... My mental, physical, and emotional energy went elsewhere.

Last week, missionary friends here in Uganda were in a devastating car crash on our horrible roads.  Their one month old baby died in the crash.  The mom has significant injuries and is in a Ugandan hospital trying to recover and find her way through the veil of grief.

Today, I got a phone call (I'm a doctor) asking for advice on a little girl who was caught in a brush fire.  She is burned over 100% of her body and fighting for her life.

We prayed for both situations with our children.  And I hugged them a little longer at bedtime and prayed over them again.  And kissed my special needs daughter more, memorizing her smile and her lovey eyes a little longer.

The children's favorite song is "ashen bla blesho"... or, to translate from their gibberish "Absent From Flesh." I groaned (inwardly) as we started to sing it tonight in family worship time and the kids started bouncing all over the room at 7:38pm.  And then, at my dear husband's request, I sang with him.  And the powerful words hit me in light of these tragic events.

Let them wash over your soul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5DbEMyFv_Q

Words: Isaac Watts, 1606 (ad. Jamie Barnes)
Fourth verse (and chorus ad.): Tim Johnson
Music: Jamie Barnes
Arr: Tim Johnson and Matt Patrick

lyrics

Absent from flesh, O blissful thought
What joy that moment brings
Freed from the blame my sin has brought,
From pain and death and its sting.

Absent from flesh, O glorious day!
In one triumphant stroke
My reckoning paid, my charges dropped,
And the bonds 'round my hands are broke.

I go where God and glory shine,
To one eternal day
And this failing body I now resign,
For the Christ has made a way
For the Christ has made a way

Absent from flesh! Then rise, my soul,
Where feet nor wings could climb,
Beyond the sky, where planets roll,
And beyond all keep of time.

I go where God and glory shine,
To one eternal day
And this failing body I now resign,
For the Christ has made a way
For the Christ has made a way

Absent from flesh! Then see thy God,
With eyes unveiled and free
We’ll face to face His glory laud,
And radiance ever see

I go where God and glory shine,
To one eternal day
And this failing body I now resign,
For the Christ has made a way
For the Christ has made a way

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