For Parents and Grandparents of Overseas Workers

We’re so honored to have Renee Aupperlee‘s mom here today, sharing what it means for her to send her kids and grandkids off across the sea…

My husband and I have been blessed with four wonderful children. When each of them was born, we dedicated them back to God, promising to teach them to the best of our ability about Him. Our prayer was always that God would draw them to Himself and use them as He sees fit.

Little did I know that He would call them to 4 different countries, and 3 different continents!

Many people have asked me through the years, “Isn’t it hard having them so far away?”  Well, yes! It is! Of COURSE I would love to have my kids and grandkids here with me! But, as hard as it is to live so far away from each other, I would rather have them serving our Lord on the other side of the world than to be living next door and not walking with Him.

We have had more trips to the airport than I can count. We have had great relationships with the postal workers as we have mailed more boxes than you can imagine. Through all of our goodbyes and through many tears one thing has remained true: we have experienced God’s abundant grace. Yes, there are tears, but, knowing that our children are going where God is calling them, we have peace and the strength to carry on. He has been good.  He has sustained us, and given us His grace.

So, how do we as grandparents & parents stay connected? How do we keep a close relationship, despite an ocean between us? How do we love and support them from a distance? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pray. Being an intercessor for them and the work they are doing is the very best thing we can do for them.   I can’t be physically with them, but I can bring them to the throne of the One who never leaves them!
  2. Remember why they are doing this – following our Father’s call to bring Good news to those who haven’t heard.   My heart soars that they are engaged in something with eternal consequences.
  3. Communicate. Use all the technology available. And often! Phone. Skype. Email. We even signed up for WeChat this spring. What a gift that we live in an era where we CAN have this kind of available communication tools!
  4. Engage. Take an interest in what they are doing. Ask questions. Get to know the people they work with over Skype. Show that you want to be part of THEIR world.
  5. Send care packages, as well as Christmas and birthday presents. I can’t believe how many scented candles I mailed back in the 90’s!
  6. Visit if you can. I know that there are many obstacles to this – financial, etc. But, if you can at all make it happen, I promise you it will change your perspective. Suddenly their world becomes real to you – you see where they work, you meet the people they love, you eat the food they eat (sometimes fun, sometimes not). But, it really helps a lot to actually see their life there.

There are also some things NOT to do:

  1. Don’t tell them all the time how sad you feel.
  2. Don’t tell them how much better it would be if they came home, or tell them that it is time for them to get a “real job.” They are trying to obey what the Father has asked them to do.
  3. Don’t tell them what they are missing. Remember that it is hard for them, too, to be so far away. Their hearts ache, too. Tell them that you miss them, but don’t make them feel guilty for being gone.

Maybe some of you are reading this and you long to hear words of encouragement from your own parents or grandparents. I hope you can hear these words from this particular mom/grandma: Our Father is proud of you. You are wearing His name tag in a hard place, and He sees every tear you cry. Don’t give up. Remember that He holds your kids, too, and He will complete the work He has begun in all of you!

It is not easy to have your kids so far away. Believe me, I know. But, when we do see each other, and feel the hugs, the time together is so much sweeter. We soak up those very special times!

My husband and I have consistently prayed for our kids to walk with our Lord. Our prayers for our children that they would come to know the Lord, and want to serve Him, have been answered. We pray that they will continue to serve the Lord wherever He calls them.

When my heart is heavy with sadness over missing them, I remember my favorite verse from 3 John: 4 —  “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth.”   Then, I know – they are right where they need to be.

What helps you stay connected with loved ones?

Photo Credit: Kevin Krejci via Compfight cc

3 Comments

  1. Cecily Willard September 24, 2014

    “You are wearing His name tag in a hard place, and He sees every tear you cry.  Don’t give up.”

    Thanks for these words.  My Grandma died two days before I left for my first trip to this foreign place, so I’ll accept encouragement from another Grandma!

    It is difficult to feel the love of the Father here in the hard place, mostly because it is a hard place and I see my weaknesses, failures and so little fruit.  So I need to be continually reminded of a reality that I cannot always feel.

    So thankful that I have supportive parents!  I don’t know if they will be able to ever make the journey here to me, but so thankful for SKYPE and email and the trips home now and then.

  2. Cheryl September 24, 2014

    I pray that my son will turn to the Lord, become a Christian, and serve Him always. Yes,it would be difficult sometimes if he chose to serve from the other side of the earth, but, in view of eternity…how blessed he would be… Please pray for him and precious souls everywhere.

  3. Brittany September 25, 2014

    I so appreciate your message to all the parents out there!  We are so blessed that both of our parents support what we are doing and, though it has been hard, they live with open hands to God.  I can’t imagine doing this without their support, but I know that it is common for parents to put quite a burden on their overseas children.  We have lots of friends who are serving around the world whose parents need to read this!

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