Namikango Mission

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Missionary Mom

Aug 12, 2015

by Becca Hayes

Being a mother of three children ages 4 and under, I am busy training them at home. I love being a stay-at-home mom and a homeschool preschool teacher. However, I often ask myself, “am I doing the right thing in the way I am raising them?” There are few “English first language” children their age, so in comparing their development levels, I am rather blind. Recently I talked to a visitor who had worked with many missionaries and he said the number one question of mothers on the mission field is, “Am I raising them right?” “Are they developing well?” Being at home with my children 24-hours a day seven days a week without a preschool to drop them at or a Sunday school class to have even a few hours off or relatives to give a night away can be a bit tiring, …but it is completely worth it. I would not miss these growing years for anything. Our expatriate friends (people who live outside their native country) are a small community of about 10 families.

I heard it once said that missionaries have very few friends, but the ones they do have are usually as close as their own family. I agree with this statement, even for my children. Braylon’s best friend, Michael, came back from furlough and they played together four of the first five days they were back. I feel as though my current role as a missionary woman is to raise my children in the Lord, support the work through supporting my husband, and hosting the many visitors we have come through Malawi. I have set a rule for myself that I will not travel away from my kids to teach. However, if there is a women’s class on campus, I will often teach there. It is not easy to say no to the frequent requests for women’s ministry to expand. But I have confidence that if I am not able, God will use someone else to teach the women.

Children on the mission field often say “good-bye.” This is something that also poses difficulty for missionary children. We have visitors once or twice a month most of the year. We are always welcoming our “new friends” and saying “good-bye” to the last ones. Often expatriates will live in Malawi about two years at a time. I can count at least six families we have come to know well that we have already said goodbye to in the three years we have lived here.

There are several challenges, but many benefits. Children are adaptable and I am thankful that ours have adapted well. I am thankful for the family times we share most evenings and the slower pace of being able to be at home often learning and growing together.