My calling to work with kids in mission

At my desk

Having spent a significant portion of my childhood as an MK (missionary kid) I developed a strong awareness and interest in mission work which stayed with me into adulthood, although I never had any plans or ideas where this would take me. By the age of 5 I’d chosen my career path and this finally came true in 2004 when I qualified as a primary school teacher. These two passions have always been present in my life to varying degrees. Throughout university and my years teaching in the UK I went on several short term mission trips and was involved with the mission team at my church.

In 2008 I finally felt the time to serve longer term in mission was approaching. For me it was an obvious and easy decision to teach MK’s as this combined my own experiences, passion for mission and love of teaching. Eventually I ended up on Logos Hope, as a teacher in the school onboard. Amongst the 400 crew onboard there are usually about 40 children, aged from 0 – 16. The school usually has about 8 teachers who provide an education for these children during their time onboard.

Having taught in the school on Logos Hope for 2 years I returned to the UK in October 2011, again wondering how all my passions and experiences could be combined. Through a series of thoughts and conversations God has led me to take on the role of ‘Family and Educational Support Advisor’ with OM.

Part of this role is to ensure that families and children on the mission field are well cared for, receiving the support and advice that they need to raise their family, make educational choices and deal with the unique challenges they face. This means providing resources, support and advice at all stages of their journey: as the plan and prepare for the mission field, during their time overseas and as they re-enter their home country. Having been an MK myself I can understand some of both the positive and negative impacts that can occur and I hope to be able to help maximise the former and minimise the latter.

Another part of the role is recruiting and supporting teachers, especially for the ship school. Recruitment is something totally new for me but having been a teacher onboard the ship I have some understanding of how to support them effectively. This includes being available to answer questions, providing resources and ensuring they are kept up to date with the curriculum.

Successfully fulfilling this role will require a lot of networking; researching about MKs, attending conferences and liaising with OM offices around the world. One person described the need for someone to be a ‘children’s advocate’ and I guess in many ways that is what I am hoping for – that I will be able to speak up on behalf of the children involved in mission and ensure that their needs are remembered by all involved.
All of this will be a part time role. In many ways stepping out of the classroom and into an office is a daunting prospect but I feel that my experiences all add up to help me face this new challenge. And to make sure I don’t go completely insane through a lack of interaction with children I hope to be able to teach part time. This will have the added benefit of enabling me to keep up with the changes to the curriculum.  At the moment I have no idea what this teaching job may actually look like but am trusting that God has something lined up for me and will reveal it at the right time.

Mission: Bahamas

“Please Lord send me to the Bahamas” might be the catch-cry of the lazy missionary and a joke to others, but when fellow crew member Randy Grebe felt called to take his young family and go to be a missionary in the Bahamas, he took it very seriously.
Randy’s ministry was not in the nice places, not to the tourists, and never at all easy. Through many years of hard work and lots of sacrifice, Randy and Kim impacted the heart of the island chain. Their most famous acheivement was the construction of the Adventure Learning Centre where kids come to learn about creation and many make Jesus their Lord an Savior. I was on camera tonight for a reunion dinner with so many people who testified to the way that Uncle Randy touched them and brought Jesus into their lives, and on Tuesday I will visit the Adventure Learning Centre – the result of a man who listened not to men, but to God.

The harvest is plentiful

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” I read aloud as I motioned to some volunteers from the congregation. Four people represented 40% of the world’s population who have not been reached with the gospel, and one man represented the 10% of Christian missionaries working with these people.

At the Franklin Town Church of God we were asked to take the service after worship. “G’day, my name is Chris and I come from Australia, the land of Kangaroos and Koalas” I said as I addressed the church. After our introductions I gave a presentation with the aim of mobilizing Christians in Jamaica to be a part of world mission. Jamaica and the surrounding Caribbean has been reached by the gospel by brave souls who came before us and now it is time for Caribbeans to go into all the world.

Others from the team presented a mime-dance and a testimony, and one gave a powerful sermon. Afterwards we were able to sell books for people who couldn’t make it to the ship.

I always enjoy the experience of speaking to a church body and helping them to understand the need for following the great commission.