Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Interview with David F.

This interview with David F., a missionary kid who grew up in Indonesia, lends us the perspective of someone a few years beyond college. David is married with two young children and recently ventured out into an unexpected but successful business partnership after a number of years teaching and working for a local greeting card company. All the while, his heart desires to be overseas at some point in the future.

Propel: Once in a while I come across stories of missionary kids who resent their upbringing overseas for various reasons. How was life as a missionary kid for you? What were the pros, the cons?

David: I absolutely love the fact that I was brought up overseas, and really cherish my unique upbringing. I got to enjoy all kinds of cool things and activities that I wouldn’t have if I had grown up in the good ‘ol U.S.A. I guess I missed McDonalds? Don’t know any of the TV shows people do? Honestly, I credit my parents for clearly demonstrating and communicating that it was family first, work and ministry second on the mission field. Most MK [missionary kid] resentment comes from the all-to-familiar attitude of ‘nothing but my ministry’ that some mission organizations once espoused. Family is our first ministry. The same disenchantment exists in the homes of pastors — or just busy people.

Propel: How did growing up as a missionary kid influence your decisions today? How did it affect your outlook on life, goals for life and spiritual walk?

David: It’s definitely broadened my horizons; other cultures are really, really not like our culture! They’re not worse, they’re different. Viv ‘la difference! I take very seriously the charge of Jesus to go into all the nations, and want my life to always be involved with missions as God leads. I’ve seen mission activity produce a great harvest — with my own eyes — and this makes me value it and desire it to go forward unhindered.

Propel: When in life did you decide you wanted to be a missionary? What led up to this realization?

David: God wants us all to be a missionary where we are. However — and I may be a little weird — but I think that being a missionary is really cool, even fun. Yes, it has a lot of challenges and generally scares me to death as well. Helping people know God is just about the highest goal for anyone; I’m convinced it’s a great way to spend a life. I’ve thought so for a long while, not sure I could put my finger on exactly when.

Propel: Do you think a missionary lifestyle is a good lifestyle for a family? Why or why not?

David: It’s a great lifestyle for a family. There’s not too many professions one can engage in that more clearly communicate to the whole family “this life is not just about us” and “doing without some things is OK for a higher purpose”.

Propel: You recently struck out for yourself in business with a fair amount of success, correct? How has this affected your hopes and plans to be overseas in the future?
David: I recently started, with three partners, a business systems consulting company, Resource Management Professionals. This is one of life’s surprises and not something I really thought I’d ever do, and here I am doing it and enjoying it. Running a small business is a very challenging pursuit, and it’s been very difficult and stretching at times, but overall very positive. I’ve found every experience in life is best viewed as a training ground for the future and I hope God will do what he wants to in my life through this experience as a business ‘guy.’ Much of the world’s unreached peoples are in the 10/40 window, where traditional missionary activity is not able to go forward. Perhaps God has a mission for me there in a business context? At a minimum, I’m learning a lot of lessons that could be generically applied to many pursuits — including missions — like administration, and also how to trust God for to be my supply.

Propel: Do you think God might have plans for you in a support role, as a giver, with the success of this business instead of going overseas?

David: God absolutely has plans for me in support roles, giving roles, and in going roles. My job is to stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit and not get into a ‘box’ about where I’m supposed to be. I pray I’ll be sensitive enough and flexible enough that I won’t miss out on opportunities to serve God. I do also really hope that’s overseas at some point, because interacting cross-culturally and experiencing fun new places holds a lot of appeal for me.

Propel: You’ve served in the past on your church’s missions team. How has this experience played into your knowledge of missions and desire to serve overseas?

David: Serving on my church’s mission committee was a challenging experience; I learned not everyone shares my viewpoint on how missions are best done. Good thing! Because I don’t know everything, and God doesn’t seem daunted by the challenge of getting the message out in a variety of different ways. It was good for me to be exposed to different people’s opinions and approaches on serving the Lord through missions.

Propel: What kind of cross-cultural mission work are you interested in (support role, church planting, translation etc.) and why?

David: Good question! My background is in the areas of education, information technology, and administration; support roles seem like a natural for me. However, my father has a masters in music and has worked for the past 20 years as a Bible Translator, so it’s a lesson to not solely consider one’s experience when thinking about missions.

Propel: What obstacles have you encountered in your pursuit of mission involvement? How are you overcoming these obstacles?

David: A good question to ponder. Hopefully the reason is not one of reluctance, fear or disobedience. I’m praying that God will open up the right doors at the right time for me and my family to jump in with both feet. In the meantime, hopefully I’m blooming where I’m planted, serving the Lord to the best of my ability in my family, my profession, my church and lifestyle.

Propel: How would you like your involvement in missions to look ten years from now?

David: I’d like to be involved in missions — hopefully overseas — contributing and doing something significant for the kingdom. I hope I’m doing so with the support of my family and that we’re enjoying our experience and living life to the full. I hope I’m in a place of being stretched and challenged, still growing and being relevant as I seek to make a difference to missionaries or to the people who need Jesus.

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