Dear Nathaniel, Jonathan and Ruth…

The holidays give me a chance to think a lot about the many blessings in my life. Usually this brings me to tears just thinking about my family – my incredible parents, my selfless husband and my beautiful kids. Oh those kids… how do they put up with me? With us? With our crazy life? Yet they do it. They follow our lead as we are missionaries living a very un-american lifestyle. Yes, they sometimes complain, but mostly they are courageous and have great attitudes.

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L to R: Jonathan, Ruth, Nathaniel (2011)

Grays 2014 (24 of 37)

(2014)

Recently the leader of our mission (SIM) wrote a letter to the children of missionaries (Missionary Kids, or “MK’s”) in honor of our mission’s Founder’s Day. For those who are walking with us on this journey, I really want to share it with you. Many of you are praying for our kids. You are truly concerned for them and you ask about them more than anything else! I get it. And I love this about you! Thank you for loving them and for caring about them like you do.

I am sharing part of this letter with you here because I think you will appreciate it. We are honored to serve with SIM because this is the heart of our leadership. I hope you know that we agree with  you, with our mission’s International Director (Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko), and we strive to honor our kids as we follow this calling.

[For the complete letter, click on this link: letter-to-sim-mks_2016foundersday]

From Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko, SIM International Director:

     This letter is for you if you are a child of missionaries past or present, from any of the missions which flowed into SIM over the years, whether your parents served during your adulthood or childhood, and for any duration of service. This year’s thanksgiving, celebration and prayers is for you. Your personal contribution to the making of disciples, indeed, to the emergence and growth of the church in all corners of the world, is as incalculable as it is invisible.

      Therefore, on this Founders’ Day, the SIM worldwide community is pausing to affirm and acknowledge the remarkable role you have played. We celebrate and give thanks for you. Perhaps you have not been privileged to glimpse the result of your parents’ work, to experience the joy of seeing the fruit of their labour. I assure you that their labour and your sacrifice have never been in vain. That I am the one sending this letter to you gives testimony to that fact. I committed my life to Christ while attending a mission school established by SIM, where I was discipled by a missionary. As a product of SIM ministry over many years, and now not only serving in SIM but leading SIM globally, you can rejoice that your contribution and your experiences have never been in vain. Christ has the victory. I, and millions of others like me, bear testimony to this victory. Because of you and your family, many more, like myself, can understand God’s good news. Thank you.

      You were born into a family that, in the course of your life, carried the gospel to others, and this necessitated personal sacrifice, which I acknowledge by this letter. We celebrate with gratitude your service alongside your parents. Often the focus of mission work is on your parents and their cross-cultural ministry. However, at times you bore the weight of the calling of God on your parents’ lives; thus you have made sacrifices that may have gone unacknowledged by anyone. All children are impacted by their parents’ vocation, whether in missions or not. Yet the impact of a missionary vocation on a family is unique. We acknowledge your own commitment and contributions to the work that was done or is being done by your parents. Perhaps you were active in the work in tangible ways, or you accepted situations into which you were entrusted that allowed your parents to do their work. You may be one who has experienced suffering or adversity, perhaps from separation from your parents at an early age. Some have had close encounters with diseases, natural disasters, civil unrest, or other hazards.

       We acknowledge the price that you may have paid so that the gospel of Christ’s saving grace can be preached to a dying world. We celebrate your victories. While growing up in cultures that were not your parents’, many have gone on to use those experiences as stepping stones to greater things. Many of you have achieved remarkable things for yourselves, your families, your communities, for the church and for the gospel. For some, growing up in another culture was not always positive; for others, it is one of the greatest gifts from their parents. I hope this is your experience, and even if not, I am thankful that you are still with us to see the result. We celebrate your accomplishments and the accomplishments of MKs all over the world.”

So, thank you for loving our kids with us! I am deeply thankful for you!

Here are some pictures of our own kids over the years….

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(2012)

IMG_0844

(2013)

bandaidsIMG_6169

(2012)

 

natlizardIMG_5380

(2012)

jontreeIMG_5416

(2012)

 

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