Imagine working four jobs. Simultaneously. Not simply for a season, but for years on end with only rare vacation days or off-time. Sounds crazy, right? But for many mothers serving
cross-culturally, this is their reality.
Mother. Student. Missionary. Educator.
It’s not said enough, but being a mother is a full-time, round-the-clock job, so here I’ll offer oft-missed appreciation for all you do: THANK YOU!
Being fluent in the local language is standard practice for OMF workers, and anyone who’s learned a foreign language knows how difficult and time-consuming it is. Not to mention, many missionaries learn additional local and minority dialects as well, meaning that language and cultural learning is a lifelong pursuit.
Whether it’s partnering with local ministries, hosting Bible studies, teaching skills to local women, operating a business or teaching English, ministry, though a blessing, is a weighty undertaking with individual cultural, relational, and logistic challenges, not to mention the spiritual challenges that come with cross-cultural ministry.
In many circumstances, families do not have a sustainable traditional school option for their children in the city they serve in. Whether home education occurs due to a child’s need to be educated in their mother tongue, lack of an international school, limited finances, personal preference, a child’s special educational needs, or any other reason, it is a major part of overseas family life and should be supported.
The Meyers’ story
The Meyers* are a German family serving with OMF who homeschooled their four children in East Asia. Stephen & Julia* wanted their children to be comfortable with speaking and learning in German. This was especially important in regards to taking home assignments and making their eventual transition back to Germany and the German education system easier on their children. Therefore, homeschooling in German was a natural choice for them. However, with all of Julia’s other jobs, homeschooling four children each at different ages with various strengths and needs was challenging. It was a relief when Rebecca, their first homeschool helper, arrived from OMF Germany to assist with the Meyers’ schooling. The Meyers’ first homeschool helper was so beneficial to their family life and helpful to their children’s educational experience that they went on to host a succession of homeschool helpers over the years.
Although the role of a homeschool helper looks different depending on the family and circumstances, for the Meyers, their homeschool helpers took on the role of teacher’s assistant and for the younger children, babysitter. The support the homeschool helpers offered allowed Julia to teach the children more effectively and gave the Meyers more time to study language and pursue ministry. In addition, the homeschool helpers were able to set an example for the children in their faith and spiritual lives, which the Meyers particularly appreciated.
Each of the homeschool helpers came on a short-term trip for just a few months, but during those few months, they got very close to the Meyers, becoming almost a part of the family, building Legos, reading stories to the children, and joining in at family celebrations and holidays. Along with being a blessing and a huge help to the families they serve, homeschool helpers have the unique opportunity of going to another country and experiencing different cultures while being completely immersed in the life of a missionary family. This offers a rare, raw inside look to missionary family life and, being so connected to the family, homeschool helpers get a built-in guide to the local culture and city where they will be staying for several months.
If you are interested in learning more about what it might look like to serve a family like the Meyers as a homeschool helper, reach out to your local OMF office. They would love to talk with you and answer any questions you have!
– Pray for moms who feel the tension of many responsibilities, asking that God would give them peace, wisdom, and outside support.
– Pray for families serving overseas that God would give them guidance with their children’s educational needs.
– Pray that God matches the right family/child to the right homeschool helper.
– Pray that people will be willing to answer God’s call to serve as homeschool helpers.
Discover the stories of other short-term homeschool helpers and childcare workers:
- My Short-Term Trip Opened the Door to Full Time Cross-Cultural Work
- Caring for Missionary Kids *all names have been changed to protect privacy
OMF Adult Third Culture Kid