Mission work as a Family


#1

Other than the Family Missions Company, what other Catholic organizations are good for families desiring mission work to look into?


#2

you asked for resources, not opinions. but in goodwill and peace, here's a story:

2 youth ministers who had lost touch with each other, met at a catholic event.

said first youth minister: man, what have you been up toI it's been years!

said second youth minister: well, i've been busy feeding the hungry, instructing the ignorant, sheltering the homeless, caring for the sick and admonishing the sinner. you know... stuff like that.

said first youth minister: woah. dude! that's a LOT of charitable works! what's your mission field?

said second minister: i'm married. we have 3 kids.

my point: raising children is mission work. having seen a few family missionaries up close and personal, i am very opposed to parents bringing their children into mission fields.

the opinion you didnt ask for, but there it is.


#3

monicacatholic, can you tell me why you are opposed to this? What has been your experience to make you feel this way, if don't mind sharing? I have thought of doing mission work as a family...


#4

It is ok that you are opposed to it. That means that it isn’t right for your family. That doesn’t mean that it is wrong for another family. I don’t understand why people continually judge other people’s choices about what God may or may not be calling them to do. I see this ALL the time.


#5

[quote="Beautiful_Day, post:1, topic:242119"]
Other than the Family Missions Company, what other Catholic organizations are good for families desiring mission work to look into?

[/quote]

I have no clue...
But I wanna applaud you for your willingness to spread the Gospel. There are so many awesome Evangelical families who go into the mission fields and do a fantastic job, and I frankly would love to hear more about Catholic families doing the same.
Quite a few Catholic couples and single persons go to Mama Heidi (Roland and Heidi Baker) in Mozambique to help them out. They do a huge work with children, homelessm prostitutes etc. They have lived in the mission fields (China and Africa) for many years and have two wonderful grown up children now. Their ministry is non-denominational called IRIS-ministries and they see the dead raised to live, people healed from AIDS and colera and they baptise a multitude of Muslims... and they are not anti-Catholic.
I know you ask for Catholic ministries,... but hey, maybe you can go and see Heidi and Roland and get inspired by them to start your own organization like they did..

Please let me know what happens. People like you are COOL.


#6

There are so many awesome Evangelical families who go into the mission fields and do a fantastic job, and I frankly would love to hear more about Catholic families doing the same.

Exactly. If it is God's will it will happen. All that matters is that I'm open to His will.


#7

2 of my adult children have been missionaries. in fact, my 19 year old son is off again this week. he'll be a missionary all summer. he's given up his job, school, car and friends. i support his choice completely and i also see it as a step in his discerning the priesthood.

but how open minded is this? a choice is questioned-- opposed, even-- and you claim "judgmental"? i'm not judging people, but i AM opposed to the choice of families bringing their children to mission fields.

families i know who have spent years as Bahamanian and Haitian missionaries have found themselves with very sick children and little medical care. one 3 year old boy suffered injuries caused by a poisonous tree. children have been bitten by poisonous things, contracted weird sicknesses and exposed to the islands' worst social offenders. a young adult woman (who tells me her years in the mission field were the worst of her life, though she has not rebelled against faith of family as a result) suffers from a chronic lyme disease-like illness which is quite debilitating. she still remembers being bit at age 7 and has been increasingly (and alarmingly) sick for years. now, american doctors dont know how to treat her.

all of these families maintained connections with their faith communities. only one family was sort of rogue-- they left without the blessing of the church elders (they are evangelics.)

so of four families that i know, all have had bad results for the kids. and only ONE family, seeing their children suffer, ended the mission experience. all the rest kept on, despite their own kids suffering.

why in heaven's name, and in good conscience would i ever promote anyone's choice to try that? i wouldn't.


#8

Depends on the resources the country has. When I was in Kenya, I was based in the city and they actually had really good medical care (provided you could afford it). Then again, there were tons of expats anyway and Kenya actually is coming along in terms of development. Many of the expats I knew came with families and were happy to raise their kids in Kenya (Kenyans have a culture of, if your mom isn't watching, someone else's definitely is but kids are free to play and explore). One of my friends actually grew up on a Kenyan mission and LOVED it.

That said, make sure that wherever you go has resources, especially if you are taking children. Look on CDC's website, research the country's plant and animal life, register with State Department, find connections with both expat and local people. Expats will have done it before and can show the ropes. Locals know the terrain and, in some cultures, will gladly die for you once you're in their circle. Talk to people who've done this before. And make sure you're prepared. Find a doctor who specializes in travel medicine and make sure EVERYONE has a complete physical. Pray, pray, pray! Talk to missionary priests, Sisters and Brothers, they probably know of Catholic families who do this.

I didn't go overseas with a mission. I intend to have a life of travel (yes, my intended knows this and we've discussed it intensely) but more so with non-profits and the government. Feel free to PM me about my experience.


#9

[quote="monicatholic, post:7, topic:242119"]
2 of my adult children have been missionaries. in fact, my 19 year old son is off again this week. he'll be a missionary all summer. he's given up his job, school, car and friends. i support his choice completely and i also see it as a step in his discerning the priesthood.

but how open minded is this? a choice is questioned-- opposed, even-- and you claim "judgmental"? i'm not judging people, but i AM opposed to the choice of families bringing their children to mission fields.

families i know who have spent years as Bahamanian and Haitian missionaries have found themselves with very sick children and little medical care. one 3 year old boy suffered injuries caused by a poisonous tree. children have been bitten by poisonous things, contracted weird sicknesses and exposed to the islands' worst social offenders. a young adult woman (who tells me her years in the mission field were the worst of her life, though she has not rebelled against faith of family as a result) suffers from a chronic lyme disease-like illness which is quite debilitating. she still remembers being bit at age 7 and has been increasingly (and alarmingly) sick for years. now, american doctors dont know how to treat her.

all of these families maintained connections with their faith communities. only one family was sort of rogue-- they left without the blessing of the church elders (they are evangelics.)

so of four families that i know, all have had bad results for the kids. and only ONE family, seeing their children suffer, ended the mission experience. all the rest kept on, despite their own kids suffering.

why in heaven's name, and in good conscience would i ever promote anyone's choice to try that? i wouldn't.

[/quote]

Hmm. but what would the families themselves say, I wonder?
You speak of bodily illnesses, and I don't say its a small reason to be carefull.. but how about these children being part of a very meaning life style, seeing their parents serve God, seeing people come to faith, learning to live very unselfishly etc?
Yea a child might get some strange bacteria in Africa.. but she might have been hit by a car in the States,.. you never know.
Besides.. children of very fervent Christians often get ridiculed or go through some kind of trial in Western society because their parents are serious about their faith. Some children are ruthlessly teased... would this also be a reason for a family to stop being practicing Catholics?
The most fantastic book I ever read was the testimony of a son of a missionary couple. He grew up in Africa and his life was like one of the apostles because he grew up among people who had to trust God for their daily needs...
We raise our children on materialism and they often fall away from the faith.. Would you deny it? Besides.. in those countries where there are strange diseases there is often an accute need of evangelisation.. there are children there too you know.. children who risk more than their body if they don't get to hear the Gospel.
Maybe we see the mission-command differently.. I don't think that Jesus only intended it for priests and nuns. I think the OP might well have a calling in their heart to go to the mission field.


#10

OP, check this out!
United States Catholic Mission Association
Also: Catholic Volunteering Directory

I will say that most of the kids I know who grew up in traveling households came to value greater things than kids who didn't. Sure, I know diplomats' kids who grew up spoiled, I also know diplomats' kids who didn't. I know kids from mission households, military families, kids of traveling activists, aid workers, all kinds. They truly grow up to see everyone as their neighbor and see humanity as interconnected.

I also agree that there is no one way to raise a family. Not everyone is called to stay in one place. Not everyone is called to live in a suburb. Not every woman is called to stay at home. Not every man is called to be sole provider. Not every couple is called to raise as many kids as their gametes are capable of producing. Are some called to do any/all of these? Yes. However, that takes discernment. God's will does not live in a box.


#11

[quote="monicatholic, post:7, topic:242119"]
2 of my adult children have been missionaries. in fact, my 19 year old son is off again this week. he'll be a missionary all summer. he's given up his job, school, car and friends. i support his choice completely and i also see it as a step in his discerning the priesthood.

but how open minded is this? a choice is questioned-- opposed, even-- and you claim "judgmental"? i'm not judging people, but i AM opposed to the choice of families bringing their children to mission fields.

families i know who have spent years as Bahamanian and Haitian missionaries have found themselves with very sick children and little medical care. one 3 year old boy suffered injuries caused by a poisonous tree. children have been bitten by poisonous things, contracted weird sicknesses and exposed to the islands' worst social offenders. a young adult woman (who tells me her years in the mission field were the worst of her life, though she has not rebelled against faith of family as a result) suffers from a chronic lyme disease-like illness which is quite debilitating. she still remembers being bit at age 7 and has been increasingly (and alarmingly) sick for years. now, american doctors dont know how to treat her.

all of these families maintained connections with their faith communities. only one family was sort of rogue-- they left without the blessing of the church elders (they are evangelics.)

so of four families that i know, all have had bad results for the kids. and only ONE family, seeing their children suffer, ended the mission experience. all the rest kept on, despite their own kids suffering.

why in heaven's name, and in good conscience would i ever promote anyone's choice to try that? i wouldn't.

[/quote]

This post has some helpful information that I can appreciate, where as your first post was just a blanket statement. My response to this post is that I think there are areas that are more appropriate for family missions than others. This may not even be something that happens for us. Or it may not happen for many years. The well being of our children will be a top priority for us. I don't think that mission work and taking care of our children are mutually exclusive.


#12

[quote="sanctamaria17, post:10, topic:242119"]
OP, check this out!
United States Catholic Mission Association
Also: Catholic Volunteering Directory

I will say that most of the kids I know who grew up in traveling households came to value greater things than kids who didn't. Sure, I know diplomats' kids who grew up spoiled, I also know diplomats' kids who didn't. I know kids from mission households, military families, kids of traveling activists, aid workers, all kinds. They truly grow up to see everyone as their neighbor and see humanity as interconnected.

I also agree that there is no one way to raise a family. Not everyone is called to stay in one place. Not everyone is called to live in a suburb. Not every woman is called to stay at home. Not every man is called to be sole provider. Not every couple is called to raise as many kids as their gametes are capable of producing. Are some called to do any/all of these? Yes. However, that takes discernment. God's will does not live in a box.

[/quote]

Thanks. will PM you if I have ?s.


#13

Hmm. but what would the families themselves say, I wonder?

as noted, several of the adult children are vocal about the negative impact missionary life had on them as children. not from books, but real live people.

You speak of bodily illnesses, and I don’t say its a small reason to be carefull… but how about these children being part of a very meaning life style, seeing their parents serve God, seeing people come to faith, learning to live very unselfishly etc?

mother teresa saw the US as a mission field. the value of life as a catholic couple and family, striving for holiness-- eschewing materialism, relativism and status-- in THIS environment is powerful. God only knows who is watching us and learning the Gospel from us right here.

Yea a child might get some strange bacteria in Africa… but she might have been hit by a car in the States,… you never know.

what sort of reasoning is this? this really diminishes the danger. of every mission familly i know (which, admitedly, are only four families) a hundred percent have members who say, “mission fields are not for children.” **a hundred percent **had children who suffered serious maladies.

Besides… children of very fervent Christians often get ridiculed or go through some kind of trial in Western society because their parents are serious about their faith. Some children are ruthlessly teased… would this also be a reason for a family to stop being practicing Catholics?

ruthlessly teased? there’s a beatitude about that and all the more reason to stay here and evangelize the godless here.

final note, i just asked a pregnant co-worker at the parish, “M., am i wrong about this? you were a missionary in Uganda. would you bring your children to the mission field?”

her answer: never.

missions are not just for priests and nuns, but single people, married without kids people and retired people, too. when a catholic couple is raising their children, their mission is already defined.


#14

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