Say you’ve got a fundraising trip scheduled to an area with lots of personal contacts–but not that much time. Would it be better to have a large dinner or dessert? You could present to a church and ask them for members to support. You could present to a Sunday School class. Bada-bing, bada-boom. Done.
My family wrangled our carry-ons into that taupe-colored hum of a 757, bound for six months stateside. (After the lunacy of the week before, preparing to abscond for six entire months, I was just grateful to make it to the plane.)
I felt conflicted.
There was of course the sizeable slab of me that couldn’t wait to throw my arms around my parents, watch my kids grab the hands of with my nieces and nephews again. I was geared up to sit around a table with the people I’ve loved for a lifetime, just like that. Perhaps I would carry a dish of corn on the cob, say, to laugh at my sister’s jokes in crazy-easy normalcy. I hoped to devour a slightly unhealthy amount of blueberries and bing cherries in those months; to close my eyes over the quiet purr of a road devoid of potholes; to throw a few dishes in the dishwasher just because I could.read more
We know it. You know it. Heading overseas is this tornadic level of activity.
I remember fantasizing about the moment I’d finally click my seatbelt shut on that 757: At least–after finally checking our exactly-51-lb.-bags, shuttling four kids through security with every device we still owned, and waving goodbye to the posse of weeping family–I couldn’t do anything else for nine whole hours. (Um. Except entertain a toddler and keep him from driving the rest of the plane bonkers?)read more
The stress as you head overseas is real–and a number of major sending organizations have decided to make a mental health assessment part of their application process. Your mental wellness and resilience have significant implications on the effectiveness of your ministry–and your longevity overseas.
I’d say–and most sites agree–as soon as possible. Your goal is well-adjusted kids who have ownership in your decision, and who can eventually follow God courageously in their own life decisions.
If your kids keep secrets as well as mine did didn’t, I know it can be hard to discern (“What if they tell people in Sunday School and our cover is blown? We’re not ready to tell the whole church”). But even before you tell-them-tell-them, you can start planting seeds in your kids’ heads.read more