These 21 missionary mother stories will resonate with you if you are dealing with the complexities of parenting children in a new country and culture.

One such story in “For the Joy” especially stood out: Dorcas’ story. To give a snapshot, Dorcas and her family moved to Pakistan and served there for 31 years. In 2002, a crisis happened at her 12-year-old son’s school in the Himalayan foothills. That morning after her son Luke’s morning tea break shots rang out through the school. His teacher and class ran to safety after recognising the sound of gunfire. They saw a terrorist coming into view before they climbed under their desks. They had only just escaped as a security guard at the front gate had been shot.

Other classes were miraculously spared as the terrorists walked past unlocked doors and tried opening locked doors, using their AK 47s to shoot into empty space, killing several people but missing hundreds. Some people were helplessly caught in their range of fire and yet miraculously escaped. For 15 minutes the sniping continued and then everything was quiet. They realised the terrorists had gone.

That night Dorcas held Luke’s hand as he went to sleep. She felt enemies all around. Should they leave Pakistan like so many of the other parents were doing? They had come to share God’s Word and serve the community and now enemies were spreading hate and killing non-Muslims. She felt the Lord speak to her “You have enemies. They are bigger and stronger than you. You just need to stay with me”. Yes there were real dangers but she just needed to stay close to Christ and listen to his voice and obey what he said and press close.

This and other stories in “For the Joy” will remind you that in the complexities of parenting children overseas, the Lord will gently shepherd you. All 21 mothers agreed the Lord brought them through and used them despite being vulnerable and needy, not just themselves but their families too. They looked to Jesus who “for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). They gave up comforts of home and safety for the present so that they could see others come to know Jesus for eternity.

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