MK Thoughts: Family Prep Before Heading to the Field

When my parents were newly married, they attended the Urbana ’87 Missions Conference. Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Africa and speaker at that conference, asked the question ‘What will motivate us to world mission?’, and answered, “I believe the answer is having the mind of Christ.” A foundation of spiritual strength is critical to motivation to go, direction on the field, and perseverance through the highs and lows of cross-cultural missions.

There was intentional preparation in our home for hard times ahead prior to entering missions life. Two areas of preparation come to mind: 1. the development of spiritual disciplines, and 2. the cultivation of buy-in from each family member so that we left home as a solid team.

How did we foster spiritual strength before we went to the field? First, we became proactive about our faith. Realizing that we would often be without the blessing (and it is such a blessing!) of likeminded Christian fellowship, we cultivated an unshakable core of family discipleship, fellowship, and spiritual feeding that would sustain us on the field. Another step they took was to firmly implant spiritual habits into the soil of our young lives: daily Bible reading and memorization are just two examples out of a list of habits they expected of us. They knew that once we got out of the comfort zone of our California home, it would be easy to let daily disciplines slip in the hustle and bustle of a busy schedule and in the constantly changing environment in which we found ourselves. And loss of grounding in God would surely contribute to spiritual drought, discontent, burnout, and missions failure.

From the perspective of an MK, one of the best things that my parents ever did was to make sure that I bought in to the family team. In the missions context, kids often mean the difference between missions success and missions failure. My parents knew this, and took proactive steps to get us on board as a family team long before we sold our home and moved across the country. They made sure that our primary loyalty was to our family, that we found our best friends at home, and that we viewed living in a different culture and sacrifice as a family adventure, not as a task.

Teamwork: stairs we built in 2005 for the island community.

One final thought – you friends have all been a big support, and continue to motivate us to the cause of missions in Quebec. Every mail shipment from CA arrives to whoops of excitement as we gather around and look for the letters that bring news and encouragement and inspiration from afar. And to you young men who write, your notes are an invaluable support as I serve Christ alongside you all.

Keep the faith, run the race, and cultivate a passion for God that motivates you to serve Him wherever He calls.

CTA

2 Responses to “MK Thoughts: Family Prep Before Heading to the Field”

  1. Cindy Says:

    Curtis,

    How important do you think memorizing Scripture is? I noticed that it was one of two disciplines you mentioned in one of your notes. How has this discipline impacted your life?

    Thanks for doing this series. I am very interested in reading your perspective! I have been praying for your time up north.

    • summercircuitrider Says:

      Scripture memory is by far one of the most important priorities of my day. As an MK – or any time a young man is living in a culture that questions his values – it is even more important, because the ability to draw on that Word throughout the day, not just when he’s reading his Bible, is a source of strength and stability that keeps him on track as a disciple of Christ. As a guy, hiding God’s Word in my heart helps me to withstand temptation; it makes my conscience tender so that I can take thoughts captive before they turn into actions. In a nutshell, investing chunks of time in memorizing the Bible helps to place one’s treasure where it belongs; in this way, guys can function in the world and not be “of it,” because our treasure is elsewhere.

      A side benefit of Scripture memorization is the natural family bonding that occurs when you’ve all memorized the same chapters. 🙂

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