Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Topic: Supporting our parents

Recently a thoughtful commenter asked some questions. She wanted to know: How can others support the parents of missionaries? How can people encourage the parents and grandparents who are left behind? Also, do you know of any ministries or other resources specifically for mothers and fathers of missionaries?

(If you have a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to me at fylliska@gmail.com. Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, or specify if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


  1. I have a very dear friend whose daughter is serving with Samaritans Purse on Medical Missions in the Congo. It has been hard on her to see her family (especially the grandbabies) go so far away. She and I have had long heart felt conversations about the difficulties that the family who sends the missionaries away experience. Not just the mother and father but the cousins, sisters, brothers, and other extended family. It is a hard calling for everyone. So I try to be a friend with words of encouragement, prayers and homemade cards. This made me think of other families who need a smile. We have groups who send cards and letters to our troops and that is wonderful (my husband retired USAF). But what about our Spiritual troops - those who fight on the front lines and those in the trenches?

  2. This past year, it has been especially difficult to be far from family because my mother-in-law is battling cancer. Until recently, no extended family lived close enough to her and my father-in-law to be a daily/weekly support. As hard as it has been, the Lord made it clear to us that we are to remain serving where we are. So, we have directly asked certain individual supporters of ours to reach out to my in-laws. Few of those supporters know them well, and others not at all, but we knew we needed to ask a handful of people to be willing to step in and care for my in-laws - spiritually and even physically at times.

    And we praise God for the response! We've had people take Mom to appointments, bring over dinner, or just stop by to visit and pray with her. I think sometimes we as missionaries need to be intentional and direct about asking supporters/church members to support our parents, especially when there is a great need. Also, in some of our family updates, we will give a report on how Mom is doing or ask specifically for prayer for her. It is amazing how many people are praying for her - I am confident of that because of the number of people who ask how she is.

    We should give our supporters/churches opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ by reaching out to our parents. Most desire to know how they can be a support to us, so we've asked specific people to support us by encouraging our parents in concrete ways.

  3. I don't have experience in this area, but I think it's such an important topic. My mother-in-law is 89 and sometimes we feel badly aabout not helping more with her care. She lives with a brother-in-law and we do help financially. I am so grateful for all of the people back in El Salvador who visit her regularly and phone her, but I think it comes more "naturally" to latins.

    Jen's idea of asking supporters to reach out to our parents is a good one.

  4. We haven't specifically asked people to support our parents, but some have done that on their own, and it has been a huge encouragement, both to our parents and to us. Probably the biggest single gift was when a group of people close to my parents paid for my mom to come visit us, so that she could meet her first grandbaby. Also, there are a few people who have stepped in to be "surrogate family" for our parents. Just being there for them is very valuable!

  5. I know I am a bit late to the party, but one thing that has been HUGE for my parents is an donor gave them both a trip here. And because they let us pay for it with our credit card and for my parents to get the miles, my mom was able to come back in the fall for another month!! This was such a support to us, but also to my whole family!!