Most missionary families tell us that their children are a great blessing and help when serving cross culturally. Children open doors for meeting other families and can find it easier learning the local language than their parents. They can ask direct questions of people their parents wouldn’t think of doing. Adults are drawn to the innocence of a child. Children are admired and loved in almost all cultures. Their words are repeated, actions recounted, and photos shared. And for believing children, their simple trust in Jesus makes them good missionaries. During my missionary work in Ivory Coast, West Africa, a family with three little children, two girls and a boy, lived in the same courtyard. Michael, 2 years old, loved to ride in my car. I took him to the village market, buckled in the back seat. His bright red rubber boots and red cowboy hat made him a special attraction. I didn’t stay long in the market because he drew too much attention, with everyone wanting to touch him, but Michael was not intimidated by it all. He reached out his small hand to all using his newly learned vocabulary – “E Ka Kéné.” Meaning how are you? I don’t expect all little children to be that brave, but Michael won hearts. His parents were identified by the titles, Michael’s father, and Michael’s mother and consequently made friends easily in this new location. Talking recently to a mom with three children under nine, she said, “We want our children to know that we serve in missions together.” Currently serving in the WEC base, they are dreaming of taking a trip with their three boys to a country where they previously served so that early in life, they too will catch a vision for the unreached world. Their children already have a taste of missions in the local school. One son said, “Some of the children have heard of Jesus but they don’t know Him.” They pray for their classmates. Pray for our families. Parents need resilience, patience, and wisdom. Children need prayer for protection, care, faith, and courage to stand up for Jesus.
By Linda Nagel