We got an email a couple days ago from the International Mission Board office of the candidate consultant that will be working with us through this process. The email acknowledged receipt of our application and gave us a brief bio of our consultant.
The email had an attachment entitled “Issues Wives & Mothers Face”. It addressed the following topics:
Wife's call to this type of ministry (wanting to eliminate those who are committed to following their husbands in ministry, but don't feel called themselves). A wife is considered to be a full-time missionary along with her husband.
Witness on the mission field - Every missionary is expected to be regularly involved in sharing a verbal witness with non-Christians. Wives are often able to reach certain groups of people that the husband is not able to reach simply because of relationships with other women and avenues of ministry through children to other children and families.
Options for service: 1.“home/community” - maintaining a home for our family and then developing a ministry through the home or alongside other responsibilities. The mission board considers care of children of primary spiritual importance. 2. full-time professional – filling a particular mission related vocation skill. The first option is, of course, what I would be doing.
Language – must be comfortable with international and intercultural lifestyle and is expected to take full-time language study to learn, understand, speak, read and write effectively the language of the target area.
Culture – willing to make social and way of life adjustments to aid in the acceptance into a new society.
Spiritual development – expected to maintain a growing relationship with God, practice the disciplines of the Christian life, maintain a wholesome Christian family life and take all opportunities to witness in and through her home.
Children on the field – being very positive with children through the change, helping them feel not only a part of the culture but also a part of the mission work.
Education of children – there are many options here pending the location of where we are going. Homeschooling, of course, is one and what we will continue to do.
Health and medical care – varies in accordance to the assignment location but is a priority with the IMB.
Separation from extended family – the hardest part of it all, I think. But it's much better than it was years ago. We have modern communication systems (emails, blogs, etc.) and transportation possibilities. There is a special support system and close bond among families on the mission field.
The attachment also had a list of suggested readings: Becoming a Trans-cultural Woman by Barbara Collins, Children of the Call: Issues Missionaries Kids Face by Charlene Gray, It's OK to be an MK by William Viser, Culture Shock! Successful Living Abroad: A Wife's Guide by Robin Pascoe, Women's Guide to Overseas Living by Nancy Peit-Pelon, Your Child's Health Abroad: A Manual for Traveling Parents by Jane Wilson Howarth & Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling by Luanne Shackelford.
I plan to learn about these books and acquire the ones I think would be the most benefit.