One Big Family

I tried to focus on what the Evangelical speaker was saying as the afternoon wore on. Although the conference was very interesting and interactive, my brain had reached capacity. It was getting late, and it had been a long day.

Suddenly, something the speaker said grabbed my attention: “In a country that was already high on the third-world poverty list, these missionaries were one of the most impoverished families in the area.” My mind now engaged, I listened attentively as the speaker continued the story. “They often had nothing to eat and spent much of their time trying to scratch food from the dust. Not only did they have no resources with which to educate their children, between trying to do ministry and keeping some kind of food on the table, they did not have the time to educate them either. Their children often went hungry. There was never enough.

As the children approached adulthood, they came home to the United States to start lives of their own. That was when reality hit them even harder. They soon realized their education was almost non-existent and they would have to start practically from the beginning. The speaker went on to tell about his experience meeting with these children. He related the sadness and anger that poured out from them as they shared their feelings of abandonment by God, their parents and the church.

My heart broke. My anger soared. Outrage filled my soul at whatever organization had sent their missionaries into the field without ensuring they were properly provided for, and at the parents for their extreme neglect of their children’s physical and educational needs.
It is not as if the Bible is silent about these issues. For example, Malachi 3:5 states, “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify . . . against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.” In Deuteronomy 24:14-15, God instructs that hired workers be paid every day, ensuring that they have food at the end of the day to feed their families. Lastly, as we know, the priests were to be given the best of the tithes. While missionaries are not exactly priests, it is certainly reasonable to conclude that our religious workers should not be expected to live on nothing.

Not only does the Bible speak harshly to employers who do not pay their workers fairly, it also includes instructions to parents to make educating their children a priority (Deut. 6:5-7). God states in Genesis 18:19 that He chose to make a covenant with Abraham, “so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice.” On the other hand, God revoked Eli’s descendant’s rights to the high priesthood because Eli didn’t take the time to correctly educate his sons. With these commands and examples, I walked away that day wondering how this sad story could have taken place.

Thankfully AFM has policies in place to make sure this is not our story. Missionaries sacrifice much to answer God’s call, and we are committed to providing for them responsibly. Besides meeting their daily needs, when AFM hires a missionary, social security contributions, workman’s comp, taxes, health insurance and a retirement plan are included as part of their wage. We believe that a laborer is worthy of his hire (1 Tim. 5:18).

AFM also recognizes that missionary kids are part of the team. Homeschooling costs are included as part of a missionary family’s budget. When our missionary kids’ educational needs can no longer be met by homeschooling, AFM uses the Children’s Education Fund to help pay for their continued education in high school and college.

Providing for our missionaries and their children is an integral part of our larger mission. By contributing to the Children’s Education Fund, you ensure that missionary children know they are cherished and are not left to languish on their own. As we provide for them, they will know they have a large family of believers all around the world who appreciate their service and care about their future.

Won’t you be part of this supporting AFM family by giving to the Children’s Education Fund today?

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