Cross-Cultural Missions is Contagious

Last week’s post with the tongue in cheek title, The Romance of Foreign Missions, showed how missions is worth it. It turns out, missions is also contagious.

Raising Multi-Cultural Children
As a family involved in cross-cultural foreign missions, Jo and I with our three daughters lived for decades in three different cultures: English speaking missionaries on the mission centre, Portuguese speaking Brazilians everywhere, and Canela speaking native villagers where we lived for three to six months—a culture utterly different from anything else we had ever experienced.

Our three daughters fully identified with our work in linguistics, literacy and Bible translation. Even as small children they helped us by sorting slips of paper with Canela words that would someday become the dictionary. As they grew up they learned to speak Portuguese and some Canela and were active in indigenous ceremonies, dancing and singing. They also helped adults learn to read pointing at the words in the learn-to-read booklets with toothpicks and sounding out each syllable. We were not surprised, therefore, to see the effect of their personal experience in cross-cultural missions show up in our daughters’ families where missions was a high priority.

Three daughters, two sons-in-law, five granddaughters, and three grandsons.

Three daughters, two sons-in-law, five granddaughters, and three grandsons in the Canela village, Brazil, 2009.

Family Missions Experiences

  • One of our daughters and her husband lived and worked in Japan for two years as teachers of English as a second language.
  • Another daughter and her pastor husband have made missions trips to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, India and are currently in Cuba, teaching and preaching for two weeks.
  • Four of our grandchildren studied at a Christian school where every high school student goes on a missions work trip to Guatemala before he or she graduates. Our youngest grandchild is going next year.
  • As young children, our other four grandchildren accompanied their parents on missions trips to an orphanage in Mexico every year for seven years.
  • Later, they went with them to Pakistan, another time to Thailand, and once to Zimbabwe, Africa.
  • Two of our daughters took their families to Mexico for a week to help build houses.
  • Our entire family—fifteen of us—traveled to Brazil and visited the Canela one summer.
  • Another daughter’s son worked with Wycliffe in Jamaica for nine months. His wife recently completed a two week missions trip to Antigua in the West Indies.
  • One granddaughter is currently in Tanzania, Africa working as a volunteer on the Logos Hope ship for two months.
  • Several family members have been super generous in their financial support of missions.

(Oh, and I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba for five days recently. No, not to do missions, but to speak at a church missions conference.)

Two Major Results
The Kingdom building work accomplished on these trips made a positive impact on the people our extended family served. That is an obvious and major benefit. But there is another side to the story.

Our family members too, were impacted. No, not just by the tropical bacteria and parasites that I described in last week’s post, but by the life stretching experiences, and the joy that comes from obeying Jesus’ direct command to all His people,

“Go everywhere in the world. Tell the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15 ERV)