I held a girl’s small frame tightly in my arms as her tears overflowed from her cheeks and spilled onto our feet. I wanted to squeeze her until she truly felt and believed that she was loved.
Authors: Michael and Alecia Corbin, Go To Nations Missionaries
When God called our family to join Go To Nations and go onto the mission field in Latin America, we were immediately put on the “fast track” of God’s timing. It was just nine months between accepting God’s call and leaving the United States. We have a fairly large family with six children: two biological and four adopted.
It has always been a priority to pray together as a family and regularly meet to discuss what is taking place. Looking back, we know that it was the grace of God that carried us during those nine months. We attended MPO, LDF, RTF, and GloDev trainings, squeezed in several family vacations and trips, raised support, spent time with our extended families, and walked the journey of selling and giving away our possessions, which included three-quarters of our household goods and two vehicles! We talked as a family about what to do with our dog, how to say goodbyes to family, what we should take with us, and most of all, how to stay focused on what is important (being obedient to God).
We believe that God doesn't call parents without calling their children, and that our children are a vital part of what God has called us to do. Even though we walked through some challenging times, cried at times, and didn't always do everything right, here are some things that we feel are important as you transition your children onto the field alongside you.
- Pray together as a family daily. Not only is prayer a necessity, but this is also a great way to hear your child's heart and mind.
- Evaluate the needs of each child and make sure that each one feels valued and important.
- Make sure that what is important to your child is important to you (bringing that special toy, spending time with a good friend, or making a keepsake).
- Have regular family meetings to make sure that your children have good, focused time to ask questions and voice concerns.
- Include your children in as many processes as you can (shopping for items, packing bags, etc.).
- Take time to celebrate the milestones (meeting support goals, completing training, etc.) with ice cream dates, popcorn parties, a movie, or playing at the park.
- Bring comfort items onto the field with you. It is critical that your new living arrangements feel like home. (Pack favorite bedding, stuffed animals, family pictures, and foods that will travel well and taste familiar in the first weeks and months.)
Inevitably, there will be a million things that will need your attention as you prepare to leave. Prayerfully consider ways to incorporate the entire family and make this journey together.
Amazingly, we arrived in Honduras excited and ready to start a new adventure after nine crazy months of preparing for the call. The only thing that we have added after reporting here? Our children now have individual parent meetings with us on Sunday afternoons - alone time with us to be heard, valued, and recognized. It is easy to get caught up in the new schedules of living overseas, language acquisition, and ministry. But for us, going through the paces together makes all of the difference.
Michael and Alecia have been married for 21 years and have 6 beautiful children through birth and adoption. They have served in full-time missions since 2008 and are currently on assignment in Honduras. They have a heart and passion for children and families.
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