In addition to normal challenges, missionaries face special issues with raising their children in cross-cultural situations. We too are fathers and mothers who raised our children cross-culturally. We have shared similar challenges and experiences. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. We can come alongside with a truly sympathetic ear and work together with combined wisdom and prayer.
“A strong commitment to the Lord and to the Great Commission obscures husbands’ responsibilities to their wives and to their children.” This is considered a compulsive behavior comparable to a workaholic behavior using the same escape mechanism. The missionary “assumes that the wife and mother will be responsible for family development. He has more important areas of responsibility. Whether he does it consciously or not, he leaves the family, becomes a phantom father, and the family suffers the consequences, all in the name of serving the Lord” (Sensenig, EMQ 18, 1982).
“Family life education would seem to be a wise long-term investment for mission boards to make in their families. Finding the balance between fulfilling God’s mandate to train one’s children and to preach the gospel is not easy, especially when faced with a foreign culture and seemingly endless demands on time and energy…. Missionary families must realize that, while their work is a God-given priority, the family is also a responsibility from God” (Wrobbel, EMQ 26, 1990).