Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Blog: Tommy's Parents Visit Swaziland

We are POMs (Parents of Missionaries). When God invites a son or daughter into missions, He also invites the parents. For some POMs, the invitation from God is a complete surprise—for us, the invitation was somewhat expected.

“Your children are doing this because they love me and because I’ve asked them them to do it. Please let them go with your blessing and support. I know you will miss your children, and I’ll make sure you don’t have to face all this alone. I promise you it won’t be easy, but I also promise you joy.”
-Parents of Missionaries by Savageau and Stortz

With much prayer, we planned our trip to serve with Tommy and Mandi for two weeks in late September. We wanted to encourage, learn, teach, work alongside and share the joy that is promised.

After many flight hours, we were welcomed with open arms, not only by our children, but by the children they “parent” at New Life Homes. The house mothers, farm workers and teachers welcomed us into their community. 

We shared stories, hiked to the river, taught school, and prayed together. We sang His praises, danced, played soccer and cheered as each child’s gifts reflected the Lord’s goodness. We shared meals and worshiped at their church. And all was good.

We worked in the fields harvesting crops. Farm management ideas were shared, marketing strategies discussed. Long drives to town on very bumpy roads reminded us of our unnecessary constant complaints about American roads.

We wanted to know what a missionary’s life was like, and we found out. It’s a lot of work, and it doesn't stop at sundown. Little eyes appear at the doorsteps for any excuse to visit and share. Heart-to-heart
talks occur often, as each child finds the path that God has designed. And as in any family, discipline strengthens the soul’s resolve.

Now when Tommy and Mandi write about a child or adult on the farm, we can put a face to the story and a special prayer is lifted up. We see their challenges, joys and peace at the end of each day.

Some days, it is very difficult and lonely for us POMs. We miss them terribly and are so thankful for the opportunity God gave us to be with Tommy and Mandi. Continue to pray for them and for those on the
farm. Continue to pray for us, as we too were called by God to be Parents of Missionaries.

Dick and Ellen Nelson
Parents of Tommy Bottoms and his wife, Mandi

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