Monday, January 23, 2006

Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right. “Honor your father and
mother” – which is the first commandment
with a promise – “that it may go well with
you and that you may enjoy long life on the
Fathers, do not exasperate your children;
instead, bring them up in the training and
instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4

The Power of a Father’s Blessing, a recent article in Christianity Today, stimulated a little research on my part. On my desk now are six or seven books on missionary care, a couple of dissertations, and four journals I have kept over the years. Some of the data is old and some very recent, but it all says the same thing: father presence and father approval, father warmth and father acceptance are important in the life of a child. Children being reared in a country other than his/her passport need caring fathers. These children are called Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Fathers are important. I often wonder if fathers are not more important to TCKs/MKs.

When parents make the decision to take their family to a foreign land to do mission work, they are also deciding that they will be raising TCKs/MKs. The missionary’s family life can facilitate ministry or his/her family life can hinder ministry. MK-CART/CORE (Missionary Kid - Consultation and Research Team/Committee on Research and Endowment), formed in 1987, has completed some important research studies: 1) Boarding School Personnel Study (BSP), 2) Adult MK Study (AMK) and 3) the Missionary Family Profile Study (MFP). Some of the results of those studies will be used in this article.

What we know from research is that father absence is not a good thing.

1. Fatherless children are five times more likely to live in poverty than children living with both parents.
2. Women reared in single-parent households engage in sexual activity outside of marriage much more often than young women reared in intact families.
3. Teen boys from one-parent families are almost twice as likely to father a child out of wedlock as teen boys reared in intact families.
4. Young males, raised without a father, are almost twice as likely to engage in criminal behavior.
5. Children reared in father-absent families have substantially higher rates of mental illness.
6. Youths attempting or completing suicide are much more likely to come from father-absent homes than youths from intact families.

Lewis, Dodd, and Tippens found that parents who spent quality time in quantity with their children reared children who were more likely to refrain from alcohol and drug abuse and to practice sexual abstinence. When children perceive that their parents really care about them and they experience the family as being close, abstinence rates are high even if both parents work. Abstinence rates are highest when the father is perceived as a caring, attentive parent (Dying to Tell, p. 81). “When parents fail to bless their children with a profound sense of worth, lasting harm, which transcends generations, can occur (Shattering the Silence, p. 27). These authors suggest that parents need to be emotionally available, approachable, and honest with their children.

It’s no different for missionary kids. MKs who score high on scales of well being have parents who

1. Involve children in making family decisions and grant children freedom
to engage in their own decision-making when it is appropriate.
2. Encourage children to explore new ideas and hold their own points of view.
3. Spend time with children and make them feel that what they do is important.
4. Create an atmosphere conducive to children’s confiding in their parents.
5. Support their children even when they make poor choices.
6. Explain the rules and consider the child’s point of view when making rules.
7. Communicate openly in the family

“For children to survive, for children to succeed, we must be present, and we must bless them. We must say good words to them. We must say good words over them. And we must say good words about them. Without affirmation, it is almost impossible to make it in this world. Each and every child deserves to hear: ‘You are my beloved son or daughter. I thank God for you. I cherish you. You are God’s remarkable creation. I will always, always love you" (The Gospel According to Generation X, p. 177).

One of the best things about mission work is the fact that families tend to spend more time with each other than church families back home do. They also tend to create a closer, more intense friendship circle with their team mates than USA church families form with other church families. Missionary children experience not only a close family relationship, but a strong sense of community and a sense of belonging to something important - something missionaries and missionary kids miss desperately when they return "home." Missionary children see their fathers as very important people doing very important work. Those children who identify with their fathers and who feel loved by them experience a positive strong sense of self.

Pollock, David C and Ruth Van Reken, The Third Culture Kid Experience: Growing Up among Worlds. Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1999, p. 188.
Andrews, Leslie A., Ph.D. (Editor), The Family in Mission: Understanding and Caring for Those Who Serve. Palmer Lake, Colorado: Mission Training International, 2004.
Lewis, David K., Carley H. Dodd, and Darryl Tippens, Dying to Tell: The Hidden Meaning of Adolescent Substance Abuse. Abilene, Texas: ACU Press, 1992.
Lewis, David, Carley Dodd and Darryl Tippens, Shattering the Silence: Telling the Truth about Kids and Sexuality. Abilene, Texas: ACU Press, 1989
Andrews, p. 242.
Lewis, David K., Carley H. Dodd and Darryl L. Tippens, The Gospel According to Generation X. Abilene, Texas: ACU Press, 1995/

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow
we will go to this or that city, spend a year
there, carry on business and make money." Why
you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life? You are a mist that appears
a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you
ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will we will
live and do this or that." As it is, you boast
and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then,
who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do
it, sins. James 4:13-17

Today's headlines - Powers Disagree Over Iran Crisis - Ivory Coast's Peace Under Threat - Pluto Mission Ready for Lift-Off - Israelis Kill West Bank Militant and today's interstate Amber Alert signs alerting travelers of yet another kidnapping and today's email I sent out concerning the death in Iraq of Dustin Kendall, son of missionaries in Estonia and brother of a missionary in the Ukraine - are much more noteworthy than my news. None-the-less I have decided to post an email I sent out this morning to my many friends.

Dear friends,

I sent my letter of resignation to Wayne Baker, York College President, two weeks ago. The president sent a very kind email about my resignation to faculty, staff and board members yesterday. Now that the decision is final, I find I am grieving. My memories of York College are good. I loved every part of my work there. I will miss everything about the college - my friendships, the students, my teaching and counseling, and working in the Master's Apprentice Program. York College is a school that emphasizes missions. One fourth of the student body is involved in some type of mission work each year. Let's Start Talking always has a lot of students who go out each year and MAP does its part, too. For me, one of the best things that happened was the establishment of the Thomas N. Schulz Chair of Missions. I'm so glad that happened before Tom died. It meant so much to him to know missions would always be a part of York College. Thank you to all of you who receive this email who have or continue to contribute to this. God is wonderful and I feel He has blessed me in indescribable ways at York College. As part of the faculty at York, emails sent to me there have been directed to MRN. I don't know how long they will continue this now that I've resigned. Those of you who have been using my York email address, need to delete this address and change my email address to

I will be selling my house in York and looking for a house here. Though none of the children have lived at home for years, this has been hard on my children as the house on Thompson Avenue in York has been the only place they could call home since we sold our house in The Netherlands, where their true 'heart home' is. They are doing their own grieving. I've invited them to come to York when I move and to take whatever is dear to them at that time.

My focus is now on my work at Missions Resource Network. I know in my heart that this is where I am supposed to be. No one should ever take anything for granted. One should always say, "if the Lord wills," but especially at my age I am aware of the need to place every plan into God's hand. All of these plans will take place only if it is His will. I will work at MRN for as long as my work can be done with integrity. I am praying that my latter days will be more fruitful for Him than my early years.

My best to you all. I covet your prayers.

Though this is not Headline News, it is a real change in thinking for me. I've already changed my blogger profile. All of this will occur if it is God's will.

Please remember the Kendalls in prayer. Losing a child under any circumstances is tragic.

Love's prayers...Dottie

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lord, Teach us to pray.

I read a great article on prayer. I recommend it to you.

Love's prayers,


Monday, January 09, 2006

And whoever welcomes a little child
like this in my name welcomes me.
Matthew 18:6a

Some Suggestions For Assisting Reentering Young Missionary Children

Developed for Members of Receiving Churches by Sheila Austin – 2000
(Used with permission)

Parents fom the home congregation with children of similar ages as the missionary family could correspond with the missionary family prior to their reentry to begin the get-acquainted process.

Teachers of the Bible classes which missionary children (MKs) will attend could send a picture of their Bible class to the missionary family; then obtain close-up pictures of the MKs (from their parents) and post them in their respective classes so the children will recognize them.

Children in primary and elementary classes could write individual notes of welcome to the MKs; the preschool children could draw pictures of the church building or their classroom.

Use the bulletin boards lavishly to portray the returning family together and individually (close-ups) and make them feel welcome upon return.

Your child might select something of his or her own (not purchased, e.g. as favorite book, game or toy) to give as a welcoming gift to the MKs.

One family with children of corresponding ages might be the liaison to help the children get acquainted with others of their age group.

Teens might offer to entertain the children while the missionary family unpacks.

Parents of the receiving church might invite MKs to join their family for a trip to the zoo, picnic or park.

Teens from the receiving church could ask MKs to help them bake cookies and take to shut-ins. This would allow the shut-ins to welcome the reentering family, also.

Parents from the receiving church should encourage their children to invite the MKs into their home, and to interact with the MKs regularly.

Imagine what would be the most helpful for you if you were returning to the States with similar aged children – then do that for the missionaries.

The gifts of time and listening will be appreciated more by the missionary family than the gifts of things and money.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Blessed are the dead who die
in the Lord from now on."
"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will
rest from their labor, for their deeds
will follow them."
Revelation 14:13

Six years ago today on January 1, 2000, Thomas Neil Schulz died at 5:25 p.m. He saw wondrous things that day and he told me as much as he was allowed.

Tom told me that morning when he woke up that he was living in two realities. Later in the day he asked me if he was special. I asked why. He said, "that I should have all this!" I told him, "Yes, you are very special. You are a child of God, saved by grace." He looked up at the ceiling in two directions, as if to check out to see if what I said was correct, nodded and smiled at me and said, "Yes." Those were his last words.

Missionaries do what they do in the world for this very reason: that as many as possible may live and die in the Lord. They are blessed!

Love's prayers,