Sally and I have two kids ...

Mike asked:

Sally and I have two kids with families overseas. We have started a ministry called Missionary Parents to Missionary Parents (MP2MP). Our next newsletter will address parents concerns over their single children.

Can you help us out a little with your insight?

1.What advice would you give a single missionary about the prospect of never marrying?

2.What advice would you give the parents?

3.How would you advise the family to support their child?

4.How can the missionary help their parents be content with their decision?

5.What advantages are there in remaining single as a missionary? (able to dedicate more effort)

6.What are the disadvantages? (loneliness, ineffectiveness, burden on the team)

7.Are there generational disconnects between the parents and the missionary that may lead to parental anxiety over singleness? (millennial vs. boomer)

Thanks for your insight.

May God continue to bless Urbana and its work for the Kingdom,

Mike and Sally

Jack Answered:

1. What advice would you give a single missionary about the prospect of never marrying?

- One could find support for this in Paul's writings, namely 1 Corinthians 7.
- Individuals (especially men) called to live in either dangerous or remote areas could find this a benefit.
- Not all (especially men) have the gift of celebacy, witness the problems the Roman Catholic Church is experiencing.
- Some cultures are suspicious of men, particularly, who are not married.
- Down through history, many women called to missions would have liked to have been married, but never met men with the same intensity of purpose they had.
- Some women have married nationals. These marriages have extra challenges with the cultural mix. Many divorces.
- This is usually more of a problem with women than with men, for cultural reasons.

2. What advice would you give the parents?

- Trust the Lord to guide their children. They are adults. Keep the communication lines open.

3. How would you advise the family to support their child?

- Pray for them, communicate with them, find the balance between indifference and "hovering."
- Allow the children to make their own decisions.

4. How can the missionary help their parents be content with their decision?

- So much depends on the parents' own spiritual maturity. However, we have to remember that most parents raise their children with expectations. If these don't include missionary service, it will be difficult for them to see their children receive a good education and then "waste" it on becoming a missionary.

- I like David Livingstone's quote: "God had only one son, and He sent Him to be a missionary."
- Communication is most of the matter: letting the parents know how the decision was made, giving them full details about the agency they will be serving with (and that it is a responsible outfit), keeping up regular reports, etc.

5. What advantages are there in remaining single as a missionary? (able to dedicate more effort)

- I think I outlined some of these in question # 1, plus what you wrote.

6. What are the disadvantages? (loneliness, ineffectiveness, burden on the team)

- See # 1 (plus what you mention).

7. Are there generational disconnects between the parents and the missionary that may lead to parental anxiety over singleness? (millennial vs boomer)

- I think the same will be true for all generations, unless current contexts have produced parents that fuss more over their kids, and thus will be harder hit when they make a "crazy" choice like becoming a missionary!
- My dad, as a missionary speaker, not only called young people to missions, but then gave parents the opportunity to stand in support of what their kids would decide!

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