Nr.156 ended with: “Our home was often a busy place, three churches were started in our living room, and mom and dad were pretty involved, which wasn’t always so easy for our children……!” (See richardandmarina.net).
Moving several times was difficult for our children, because of change of schools, surroundings, friends, etc. When a new church was started in our home, on Sunday mornings the girls would have to get up in time to clean up their rooms and make their beds, because the rooms were used for Sunday school. Mom was on the phone quite a bit and Dad was away a lot. Many an evening when I left home to visit or give a Bible study somewhere, I would thank the Lord that He had given me girls and not boys, because if it had been boys, I would have had to stay home to play ball with them, but girls were the mother’s responsibility. That, of course, was totally wrong thinking, I realize that now, but not at that time. I understand now that girls need their father just as much as their mother.
And that’s not the only mistake I made as a father. I have apologized to our daughters, and one day when I was talking to one of them and said that I was so sorry, and that I had made so many mistakes, and that I wished I could do it all over again, she smiled and answered, “Oh Dad, if you had to do it all over, you would make other mistakes.” She has three daughters herself and knows that perfect parents don’t exist, and neither perfect kids. Before I had children I used to tell parents how to raise their children, but once I had my own, it was quite another story.
However, there are positive sides to being a missionary child too, learning and becoming fluent in a second language. Living in another culture, which broadens one’s mind. Travelling, both back to the home country for furloughs and seeing the grandparents, other family members and old friends again. But also enjoying holiday times in Europe. Besides the yearly one week Foreign Workers Conference, usually in France, we had also spent two weeks one summer in Switzerland using a camper that had been loaned to us by a dear Christian brother. And another summer we spent two weeks in a house of missionary friends in Austria, while they went camping with a tent. Great times!
All three girls attended Capernwray Bible School, Rosa and Renee the winter session in southern Germany and the Spring session in England, while Lily only attended the winter session in Germany. We would take them down in September and pick them up for the Christmas holidays, after which we would take them back again. One time, after having taken one of the girls back the beginning of January, driving home late at night on a very, very lonely road in southern Germany, with a temperature of minus 20 Celsius, our small diesel car stalled, the filter was frozen. There we sat, out in the nowhere, and no other car on the road and no house in sight……………! (Go to Musings).