The Missionaries’ Children’s Fund
‘Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck’ (Prv. 1:8-9).
Deciding where your children are to be educated can be a difficult decision for mission partners to make. Once children start to grow up and begin to consider their own future, and perhaps the possibility of further education, the decisions don’t get any easier. The Missionaries’ Children’s Fund (MCF) has been running for many years, providing financial assistance for children of mission partners. These grants often help to alleviate some of the burden of increased educational costs.
We are grateful to everyone who has supported this targeted fund, enabling mission partners to cover some of the additional expenses their children incur as their family serves overseas. MCF has proven important in giving mission partners comfort about staying on the field and allows them to offer better options regarding their children’s education.
In 2022, MCF helped 34 families across 16 countries and assisted 46 children. Over £44,000 was distributed by Echoes International. The MCF can aid public, private or homeschooling options – whatever suits the needs of individual children and their families. It also makes a real difference to the students.
‘David went to school in Redditch, then Muscat and then Kenya. We decided in August 2020 to go to Hebron, India. We had planned for David to do his A-levels at Hebron but Covid restrictions meant he stayed in the UK with his grandparents and took his exams at the local high school.
In the second year of his A-levels, MCF gave us a gift for both of our children, David and Rebekah. After a gap-year, David has now started university in Cardiff studying Computer Science. The money provided was helpful in buying books and a laptop.’
Graham and Zohary, India.
Further Down the Line
The challenges of missionary children returning to further education, such as sixth-form colleges or universities in the United Kingdom has proved increasingly difficult over the past few years.
Transferring from overseas systems that have different academic years and programmes can make the transition process in upper secondary tricky. It could mean a student is disadvantaged by limited academic choices or they have to repeat a year. Sometimes mission partners have had issues proving they are ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, resulting in some children being considered ineligible by colleges or universities.
As you can imagine, this can be a stressful time for a missionary family, taking their focus away from their ministry. Echoes International works with the commending churches to support mission partners and their children to navigate the complicated educational system in the UK. Often universities will require prospective students to show family links to their home country, such as owning a house, a bank account and keeping evidence of travel to and from the UK. Pray for young people applying for further or higher education facing possible rejection and uncertainty.
Preparing to return to study at any age in the UK requires considerable planning, time and resources to ensure a smooth transition. Mission partners’ situations are not straightforward ones for educational establishments or local authorities to understand. It is good to remember that whatever the obstacles, frustrations and struggles, God is in control. One parent said, ‘I definitely feel God has done a work in me regarding faith and confidence in Him…We really do have an amazingly powerful God as our Father who absolutely cares about the details and will work everything together in His time and way. Yes, it’s challenging and many a time I was in tears with Him in prayer and over my Bible, having to let go of control and trust Him with the tomorrows and details that I couldn’t do anything about. But He is so very faithful and able to provide in ways that we can’t imagine. He is certainly much bigger than the seeming obstacles that we see ahead…I couldn’t encourage other parents in this enough. He really is greater than it all.’
It is good to remember that whatever the obstacles, frustrations and struggles, God is in control.
What was your history of education before going to university? – Before going to university, I attended various different schools. I attended secondary school at Amano Christian School in Chingola, Zambia. This is where I took my IGCSEs, before then moving to England to do my A-levels at Commonweal School in Swindon.
How did you find the transition to university? – Adjusting to university was difficult due to having spent the majority of my sixth form experience during the Covid pandemic learning online. However, it was comforting to know that those around me, also beginning university, were in the same boat and everyone was very understanding about different people’s worries and anxieties around returning to normal interactions. I was fortunate to be housed with five other girls who were very friendly and we all got along really well, making the transition to university living smoother. In terms of the step up from sixth form workload to university, I found my lecturers and teaching staff were always more than willing to help me where I did not understand. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying tourism management. It has had its challenges but for the most part I have managed my workload well and achieved my desired grades.
How has MCF support helped you over the years? – MCF helped to finance my studies, particularly while living in Zambia, allowing me to attend a school, Amano, which followed the Cambridge syllabus. This meant that when I relocated to England to continue my studies, I was not completely out of my depth. In sixth form I discovered that many of the topics and subjects I studied in Zambia were the same that my classmates in England had studied. Having these things in common made it easier to form friendships in a new country and a new school.
Wami Cracknell, Zambia.
Returning from service overseas and trying to apply to college or university can be a complicated path to navigate. The MCF can play a part in defraying the additional expenses that mission partners face. Moving back to the UK after many years away, experiencing culture shock, often without their parents, these children need our prayers and support. The generosity of individuals, churches and trusts keeps the MCF available to children and young people, and we give thanks for another year of assistance in 2022. Please pray for the children of our mission partners as they consider the options open to them as they leave school.
‘My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart’ (Prv. 3:1).
- for mission partners who are prayerfully making decisions about the long-term future of their children’s education
- for teenagers navigating the education system, that they might rely on God’s provision and goodness
- for families facing educational challenges or difficulties as they trust in the Lord.