Helping mission partner children say goodbye

Claudia Chan

The decision to move country and serve the gospel cross-culturally is no small one. Mission partners put in a lot of thought and prayer and have many conversations with family, friends and church leaders.

They count the cost and grieve the losses. Their gospel convictions keep them going and anchor their emotions when the upheaval feels overwhelming. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that mission partner children experience a whole range of emotions too.

They feel excited to be going to a new place but sad about saying goodbye to family and friends. They may be anxious about starting at a new school and confused or even angry about their parents’ decision. These emotions will come and go at varying degrees and with different triggers. Siblings in the same family may process the transition in contrasting ways depending on their age and temperament. 

Because we understand moving overseas can be difficult, Crosslinks is committed to supporting the children of our mission partners as they prepare to go. 

Crosslinks orientation for children

We invite all those preparing to be Crosslinks mission partners to spend five days with us in Kent. Whilst the adults go through their own orientation programme, the children benefit from a range of specially designed activities. 

We spend time with a bear family who are preparing to go to the Philippines to tell people about Jesus*. Brothers Stanley and Harold feel differently about the move – Harold Bear is excited but Stanley Bear is sad about leaving his home. We think about saying goodbye to special people and special places, and talking to God about our feelings.

The children spend a good amount of time in the Bible – whether it’s joining Jonah as he travelled reluctantly to Nineveh or Paul as he preached the gospel in Philippi. We see how Jesus is God’s King who gives hope to people of all nations. 

We also spend a lot of time having fun. We pack bags for our dollies and teddies and sing songs that help us remember that God is with us wherever we go. We enjoy reading books about people like Hudson Taylor and Helen Roseveare, who travelled a long way to tell people about Jesus. We make boats that we launch in the swimming pool (because Jonah and Paul travelled by boat!), play outside on the swings and in the fields, and visit the horses, sheep, rabbits and chicken. At the end of the week we say goodbye to the farm animals – learning how to say goodbye properly even when it’s hard. 

Our prayer for families as we send them out is that God will help every member of the family – whatever their age – to thrive as they adjust to living cross-culturally overseas.

Find out what some Crosslinks children have to say about living overseas here.

*http://tckresources.com/resource/harold-and-stanley-say-goodbye/

Photo at top of page: Max and Julia having fun at the orientation conference

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