Sending Your Child Into Missions: A Letter from a Parent

parents with their graduate student in cap and gown

The shortened definition of a missionary is sent one. It describes a believer in Jesus who is going outside of their comfort zone, their familiarity, to a place that doesn’t know God’s love. My husband and I have been in missions more years than I lived under my parents’ roof.

Now, here we are with the first of our eight children graduating high school and moving on to her next phase in life. I naively thought that sending her out on her own would be easier for me than other parents. Yeah, right!

Eleven weeks have passed since we sent Reyna to her Discipleship Training School (YWAM DTS). Parents do that all the time. But until now, we were always on the receiving end of the “sent ones.” We helped other parents navigate the feelings of having their kids far away. But now I really get what they were feeling! I’ve wrestled with thoughts of Reyna getting lost, losing her wallet, being too shy to ask for directions, etc. I regretted not teaching her how to sew on a button. Guess she’ll have to Google it!

But I’m learning that all my worries aren’t helping. This is where God steps in for Reyna and becomes all that she needs. This is where she learns to lean on God. And I need to get out of the way.

We did our best to raise our daughter to be independent, confident, and others-focused. We cultivated relationship with a weekly meeting where our time was all hers. We taught her how to manage her money, tithe, and be generous. We encouraged her in her passions, cheered her on in her pursuits, and were there for her when life got hard. Then, she grew up. My old responsibilities are ending. New ones have begun.

Initially when Reyna arrived at DTS, the texts were frequent with loads of questions. Some were practical like how to get a coffee stain out of clothes or suggestions for healthy snacks. Others were more about relationship expectations while she was there. Then Reyna found her feet. The communication became less, and yet more. Our Sunday Skype time is filled with all that she is learning in the classroom and even more in her times alone with God. So much transformation is happening that I wonder — who is this young woman?!

Reyna is a sent one. My prayer is that I can take on my new mother role to an adult daughter with the same grace and peace I see reflected in her.

As the oldest child, Reyna was always the guinea pig. Maybe I will finally be good at this new role of sending my kids into the world by the time my youngest grows up. I’ve got another 12 years to work on it!

By Lea Groff who is a YWAM missionary working in Madison together with her husband Wayne and their 8 children. Their oldest daughter, Reyna, is attending a YWAM DTS in Canada and leaves for outreach very soon!
YWAM Madison
Part of the YWAM global family of ministries