My oldest son Mike, and his wife Ruth, have been missionaries in the Philippines for the past 5 years. They have been home twice for month long visits during those 5 years. Saying goodbye is always hard, but at the same time I am SO glad to see how God is using them in their ministry there. We raised our kids to serve God, and couldn’t be happier as we see the results of the time we invested in that training.
This email made me cry, because it confirmed to me that it was WORTH every minute that we invested in teaching and training Mike, and our others kids to know, love, and serve God!
Mike & Ruth have been blessed to have Ruth’s parents (Scott & Debbie Christansen) serving there in the Philippines with them for the past 2 1/2 years. Recently Debbie was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic cancer. (Which is another reason this email made me cry!) Without a miracle, she has about 3 to 6 months of life remaining, largely due to her liver having multiple tumors. (They are hoping the meds she is on will shrink the tumors enough for her to able to handle the long flight back to the states, but are not sure at this time.)
In the meantime, Mike & Ruth are preparing to come to the states in a little over 3 weeks to go on deputation and raise more support, so they can go back to the Philippines.
Earlier this week I sent an email to Scott & Debbie to let them know that I was thinking about them and praying for them. Scott responded with this email:
What a pleasure it has been to get to know and work with Mike for these last 2 1/2 years.
We are looking forward to spending some quality time with them in a week when we go to a very nice hotel in a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean. I wanted to give Ruth and her Mom some time to create good memories, especially if the departure on May 19th turns out to be the last time they get to see each other in this life. But I am also looking to get to talk to Mike and let him know how much we have come to love and respect him. And how much we will miss him. If the Lord tarries, we know that he and Ruth will do a great job in starting a church in Mindanao.
Thank you for the years of hard work and sacrifice that you invested in Mike. Thank you for being faithful to God and setting standards in music and character that put a foundation within him that he could build upon. And thank you for letting him follow God’s will with your blessing. He loves you both dearly and misses you. It is perhaps the hardest sacrifice of a missionary to leave family behind, but it is made much easier when you know they are also proud of you following God’s will.
Soon we will pass the baton on to you to watch over them. We know you will love Ruth as much as we have come to love Mike. Every once in a while give her a hug and kiss and tell her it is from some very proud parents.
My heart was SO touched by the love that Mike’s in-laws have for him! What a blessing that is in a marriage – to be loved and respected by your mother and father-in-law!
Scott’s reminder about our hard work and sacrifice in laying a foundation for Mike’s service to the Lord, served to motivate me to continue to encourage moms to stay faithful!
Don’t ever think what you are doing isn’t important! Work hard, and sacrifice your time and energy to prepare your kids to answer God’s call, and be ready to serve Him. There is no greater thrill than to see your kids grow up to love and serve God, and lead others to Him!
If you think about it, would you please pray for Ruth’s mom, and that the medicine she’s taking will shrink the tumors and ease her pain enough for her to be able to handle the long flight to the states? Ruth is their only daughter, but they also have 5 married sons in the states. They haven’t seen them since they left for the mission field in October of 2011. I know their whole family would appreciate your prayers, so let’s cry out to God on her behalf!