"How do you manage your family time as a missionary?" Andrew asks me this question. I hold off my fork full of spaghetti and delicious seafood surprises. We are meeting at a small restaurant together with his wife, Annie. Sarah is also here giving some perspective to my answers. My hot black coffee is cooling down. I give him my short answer and sip my coffee in between Sarah's explanation and further stories of our family life as cross cultural missionaries here in Taiwan.
Last Thursday, Sarah and I met with Andrew and his wife Annie. It was supposed to be a time of "meeting your adviser." Andrew is one of the graduating students here in Holy Light Theological Seminary. He just got married last year. Both of them are looking forward to missionary work in a Creative Access Country, country MC. Our seemingly "seminary business" meeting had turned into a time of deep sharing about missions work and missionary family life. I encouraged both of them to find a mentor, someone who can advise them and help them through this upcoming plan to relocate in country MC as cross cultural missionaries. They agreed with me. I gave them the name of one of our Free Methodist pastor. And I was so glad that both Andrew and Annie like this pastor.
So, my answer to Andrew's question was: "Learn to say 'No' to the demands of missionary work, so that you can spend more time with your wife and your children." I explained to both of them that our first area of ministry is within our family. Serving God in the mission field should never be at the expense of our family. Sarah shared some good examples from our own experiences with our children. We ended our lunch time with a renewed determination to serve God better starting with our spouses and our children. God will be our Helper!