Missionary Difficulties: Death in the Family

Death 2

Grandpa and Grandma 1949

When I left the United States to be a missionary in Brazil I knew that there would be some difficulties that would happen.  One of those difficulties I thought through was “How do you deal with the death of a family member?”  This has already happened to me.  On July 9th when I woke up to a message saying that one of my grandmothers had passed away.

Death 1

Grandpa and Grandma with their 3 children 1963

I had thought through two different options: Stay in Brazil or Return to the United States.  This is a real issue that I am thinking through again.  I absolutely love my grandmother and always thought it would be an easy decision but now that I am facing the decision there is no easy answer.  No matter what I decide I will have some regrets.

Death

Grandpa and Grandma as I remember them

As a missionary there are difficulties in the course of life that we will face.  “The death of a family member” is a difficulty that I expected to have happen during my time as a missionary but I did not expect it to happen so quickly.  Being away from family at this time provides a clear opportunity to trust and be comforted by Christ.  I am struggling with my love for my earthly family, specifically my grandmother, and my longing for being with my heavenly family.  Longing to be with my heavenly family has brought me to be in Brazil.  As I am struggling with this difficulty I have had to find comfort in the scriptures.  Specifically, I find peace that the scriptures that say leaving your family is worth the cost to share the gospel and follow Christ.  Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, and Luke 14:26 all very clearly teach that being a missionary in another country is worth the cost.  The difficulties and hardships are very real but so is the comfort that I find with knowing these scriptures.  I am also comforted in knowing that my family is not limited to only those who are flesh and blood.  The scriptures say that when you become a Christian you gain more family.  Matthew 12:30, Mark 3:35, and Luke 8:21 all say that the Christians family is those who are doing the will of the Father.  I am comforted by the knowledge that I am getting to know more family here in Brazil.

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3 thoughts on “Missionary Difficulties: Death in the Family

  1. Dear Benjamin, Thanks for sharing your heart so transparently. Many of us are specifically praying for you as you grieve. Many of your Christian family also share personal grief and are able to empathize with you and share that.
    Trusting in the Lord and turning to Him for strength and comfort is a lifelong journey. At your age you can draw from your “history” with the Lord and be encouraged. At my age, that history is even richer. History doesn’t mitigate the raw grief, but it gives us perspective and foundation.
    I enjoyed your shared photos as well. In today’s world missionaries/Christians/family can use the tools of technology to advance the Gospel and to reach out in a very special way.
    Love and prayer, Auntie Carolyn

  2. I am so sorry for your loss!! My dad passed away the day after I got home from Uganda and it broke my heart that I lost the last 18 months with a man I would never see again this side of heaven. But I too found strength in the Word of God and knowing His timing was perfect. I am praying for you

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