One family’s tradition of service is working its way out in overseas mission
In a recent edition of World Reach, the Resource Corner talked about ways to communicate with mission folk overseas.
Doris Beisly, from Paeroa Baptist Church, has become something of a communication expert and, with two sons and five grandchildren overseas, she’s something of an inspiration for all of us.
Two of Doris’ five children (pictured here with Doris, third from left) are involved in long-term cross cultural service overseas. Paul, his wife, Sarah, and two children are in South Asia with tranzsend where their focus is on business development. Gregg, his wife, Sal, and three children are in Bolivia with Pioneers. Their focus is on life skills, discipleship and outdoor education.
Doris was not surprised when her sons, first Gregg and then Paul, talked with her about long-term mission service. Doris encouraged them when they made the decision to go. She was also anxious, both for them and for herself, because she knew how much she’d miss them.
With five of her seven grandchildren overseas, maintaining a relationship as grandmother has been important. The children range from 18 months to 11 years.
The family members are in regular contact. Electronic communication makes that so much easier than it once was. Skype is great, and they send photos and engage in each other’s lives. Doris often involves herself in the children’s school projects. When the eldest grandchild, in Bolivia, was doing a Rugby World Cup project, Doris was able to provide up-to-the minute information on celebrations in New Zealand and even send relevant items.
Back in New Zealand, Gregg and Paul’s two brothers and sister are very supportive. All five were raised being taught compassion and care for the less fortunate. Their father, Derek, was a fantastic example. He had a heart for youth at risk and always involved himself with those who needed support. He worked at Paeroa College teaching PE and ran a transitional work experience programme.
On a Mount Cook climbing trip with Gregg, Derek was killed by a freak rock avalanche. Gregg, 19 at the time, was protected by an overhang.
Doris says, “I’ve not visited the families overseas, but I have a good understanding of the goals and processes they’re going through in an effort to communicate the love of God and his word to those who don’t have this blessing. I support them the best way I can – through prayer, by keeping interested and praying friends posted with the latest news, and by being a positive supporter.”
Gregg and Paul also shared thoughts about leaving family back here in New Zealand:
“Although it’s not always easy, we try to have regular Skype calls so that we all connect. We also send photos and videos of the kids when friends are travelling back to New Zealand. We talk about Nana with the kids, tell them stories about where she lives and show them photos.”
On the influence of parents in nurturing to serve others:
“Mum and Dad had an open home. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, uncommon for hitch-hikers to stay for dinner or for someone who’s going through a hard time to be staying at our house. Serving others was a living part of my parents’ faith. I grew up knowing the value of caring for others, especially those in need. I guess I thought it was normal.”
On the challenges of being far from wider family:
“Being so far away from Mum and the rest of the family is by far the hardest thing about living overseas. They are our number one supporters and best friends, so it’s difficult not having that support network close by. Having us living overseas with the grandchildren so far away is real tough on Mum. We really appreciate the big sacrifice she’s made in supporting us and letting us go.”