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Missionary Daddy's Girl
Have you ever wished you could read a Father's Day card written by the children of those great missionaries? They would read, "Thank you for praying for bread and milk and showing us the power of faith," or maybe, "Thank you for showing me to put God first in your life, even if it meant giving up yours."
These cards or letters might help you learn more about the "Fathers of Faith" and what God really meant to them and to their children.
My dad is a Filipino missionary. He and my mother followed God's call and moved our family to the mission field. It's not the most ideal situation in the world, especially to a couple with three daughters below the ages of nine. But I couldn't imagine having lived any other way.
Eventually our little family grew to seven members, adding two boys. It was clear that my parents truly cared for the locals, and, like other missionaries before them, they adapted to blend into the culture. We lived among them, shopped with them, ate like them, and sometimes even got haircuts like them.
Lots of people can attest to the fact that firstborn daughters always have a special relationship with their dads, and apologies to my sisters, but I'd have to say that's true. My dad and I are very close. I am usually his traveling companion, mostly because he takes me as his translator wherever he goes. That's a downside from having a knack at languages: you tend to be a free translator.
Needless to say, my dad and I have experienced lots of bonding times. For example, as I got to know him, I realized that my dad might not be famous like the great missionary Hudson Taylor, but he is still a great preacher, an important missionary, a wonderful father, and an awesome man of God.
My dad is an athlete and a family man. Thanks to him, my siblings and I can watch a sports game, play, and leave with friends. My dad is clear that even though he spends a lot of time at work and with the people there, in the end, his children are more important. I'm so grateful for a father who will play a game of volleyball before dinner, watch a few episodes of The West Wing with his children after dinner, and lead the family prayer time before bed.
I know that I've said it's not always rainbows and butterflies when you have a missionary dad, yet I don't want to exaggerate and give you the wrong conclusion. Let me just be realistic - a trait my dad certainly has - and tell you that sometimes my siblings and I feel left out, especially since my little brothers are still young and my dad can't take them out to get coffee. So sometimes he makes do with his students.
Sometimes his classes are scheduled from early in the morning until late at night. There were days when we didn't even see him the whole day. But being a missionary kid has taught me a lot of things, understanding being one of the things on the top of the list. My dad spends a lot of time with other people to build friendships, which is the foundation of trust. Trust and friendship are keys to sharing the Gospel.
I'm not going to say that my dad is perfect; no father is, except the One in Heaven. My dad tends to cook kimchi with rice for breakfasts on Saturday mornings when my mom goes shopping, knowing full well that he has four kids who wouldn't be able to finish the plate, including me.
My father also does specific things when he's mad. For example, he makes faces when the food we ordered took too long. My dad also likes to watch action movies late at night, when the kids are in bed and can hear the whole thing. He also tends to lose his glasses a lot and will be in a bad mood until he finds them again, usually in his bag.
Despite my dad's ridiculous habits and faults, I'm glad that God chose him as a father for me. I wouldn't be myself without him. He taught me a lot of important things. He gave me things that would nurture my talents so I can use them for the glory of God.
And in case he lost his glasses again, these words are printed bigger: POPS, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! I LOVE YOU AND I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. I AM ALSO PROUD TO BE YOUR DAUGHTER. SORT OF. JUST KIDDING.
Christie* is a daughter of a Filipino missionary who graduated from Asian Center for Missions. Her name is replaced for security purposes.
Beth never dreamed to be a missionary. She had control of her life and was pursuing her own goals. But when God called her, she knew she just had to say yes. Her obedience paved way for Beth to see the face of God in the lives of the people she encountered and helped along her journey.