Can I become a missionary if my adult children still need me nearby?

“Maybe yes, maybe no.”

This depends on several factors. If your children are dependent on you financially, spiritually, emotionally, or physically, then it may not be a good time to consider such a move. Look for God’s confirmation to come through your adult children as well as your pastor. 

Before we seriously considered missions, we shared this possibility with our children, who were ages 18, 20, 23, and 24 at the time. None were married, and two were in university. We could not have made the move without their full and unconditional support. During the past eight years, it’s been possible for us to come home to participate in weddings, in the births of our grandchildren, and in graduations. Yes, this has come at a cost both in finances and in schedule-planning.

Some voiced concerns that our moving so far from home would sever future contact. The opposite has been true. Since we have the need and the desire to phone, our relationships have deepened. 

At a time when we were experiencing loneliness for our children, we received this promise from God: “As much as you miss each other, pray for your children and know that your loneliness is only a fraction of mine for you when you are not close to me.” God will teach you how to make your “together times” special and to solidify your relationships as you depend wholly on him.

Answer from Jerry and Robin, who have been missionaries in Japan for eight years.

“Let God chart your course.”

This will depend on many factors in your life and those of your adult children. You must first weigh out all the costs (physical, mentally and spiritually) of your call to world missions. Do your children support you in this endeavor? Are you willing to be separated by distance and difficulties for extended periods of time? Are they prepared for extreme circumstances? 

God’s Word tells us that a man (adult children) shall leave their father and mother and cleave unto a wife. Our children must find their own lives when they reach adulthood. As a missionary to Central America, my family (wife and children) have spent time on and off the mission field. My children are grown now and have gone on to do their part in the Lord’s work, and my wife and I continue to do our work.

Answer from Peter, who has served with Shekinah International Missions.

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