How do you fit mission work in with family expectations to go to college, get a normal job, and settle down?
[Response from Adam, a World Race Alumni]
I have been incredibly blessed to have parents who are not only ok with my decision to serve overseas, but are also my number one supporters. But I have other missionary friends who do not have that support system, especially those that have family and friends who aren't followers of Christ. Of course it's not going to make sense to them.
But one thing I've noticed is that others around the world face the same thing. For example, if a Muslim chooses to follow Jesus, not only is their family unhappy with their decisions, but also their lives can be threatened. A lot of times they have to move. A Muslim that has converted to Christianity faces a lot of persecution in the form of being ostracized by their family and the Muslim community. Their parents may say things like, “Well I don't consider you my daughter anymore.” You know, that kind of thing.
And that's been a huge encouragement to me to see their faith in my travels around the world. I was talking with a former Muslim once and she was always saying, “Jesus is worth it. He's worth everything.” She was one that had been abandoned by her family for following Christ. Did she wish she could be at peace with her family? Of course. We all want to make our family happy and fulfill their expectations in some form or another. But she knew that Jesus was worth it. And that's sometimes the encouragement we need to hear to know that Jesus is worth it in our lives, even if that means not necessarily meeting all of our family's expectations as you serve overseas.
One thing that can really help is to share your passion for missions with your family. Explain that even though it doesn't fit the normal mold, their support would mean everything to you. And then pray for your family and that God would help them see how they can play a role in mission work simply by encouraging you as you serve.
In a way God calls all of us and each of us to mission work. He calls the whole family because often times it takes a family to provide the relational and financial support to make overseas work possible.
Adam is a World Race alumni.