The 10 Toughest Sacrifices of the Missionary Kid

Every missionary kid faces sacrifice. Here’s our top ten:

Growing up without relatives nearby. Our grandfather and assorted aunts and uncles live over 3900 miles away. . . too far for a day trip. 🙂 For some of you in similar situations, this distance isn’t missions related; for us, it was something we gave up when we traveled across the country to Quebec. We’re grateful for letters and phone calls that bring us closer to family.

A one-car family with a houseful of young adults. Life gets a little interesting with only one vehicle for errands, family responsibilities, and ministry needs. This is especially so if a ministry trip takes the vehicle to northern Quebec for a couple of weeks. . . 🙂

Inability to attend conferences or other inspirational events because of time or distance. Much of the year we are either on the road, when our schedule rarely lines up with conferences, or far north in Quebec, where the drive is impractical. We enjoy every opportunity to soak up inspirational teaching and fellowship, but often must settle for DVDs or CDs instead of attending live events.

Long-term fellowship and growth in a likeminded church. The fellowship and sharpening of believers along the traveling circuit is an invaluable encouragement, but . . .

No pets. We love dogs and cats, goats and chickens, and horses, but so far, our rental situation has prohibited animals.

No library in our language. This is probably hardest on my youngest sister, who loves to read. In California, every library day was an event, where excitement ran high as we checked out huge stacks of books. There was a small one-room French library in our first year here, but government regulations closed this to the general public and we have not had a library in Quebec since that time.

High cost of living. Ems does a great job of planning meals, costing out recipes, and shopping with Papa, but even after years of experience, the grocery bill can be a bit shocking. Think of living on these islands and buying cheese for $11 a pound, milk for $8 a gallon, or chicken for $9 a pound . . . . (she patiently waits for sales and still comes in under-budget almost every time!). In the summertime, we enjoy lower prices, but our tiny trailer fridge prevents shopping in bulk.

Location-dependent educational opportunities and limited work options: Educational opportunities include everything from obtaining a driver’s license to getting regular music lessons and participating in music exams. Until last year, we were prevented from working in Quebec because we did not have Canadian citizenship. Since then, we (the children) have obtained dual citizenship, but still can’t work in Quebec until we settle into a house for a sufficient length of time.

Faith support and missions service with limited salary. Having very little salary significantly affects our lifestyle. For the kids, we’ve learned to be content without the latest and greatest, to reuse and remake items around the house, to find great deals at Goodwill stores en route to Quebec, and to form our identity out of who we are as a family, not from what we own.

A permanent place to call home. Sometimes it’s hard to be living year round out of a trailer or a rental home; to never have a home to go out from or come back to.

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