POWA: Have You Heard of This GFC Ministry?

Parents of Workers Abroad, or POWA, is a monthly gathering for parents or grandparents of those serving overseas in missions work. Family members of global workers can feel a sense of loss when their loved ones are on a foreign field. Often there are feelings of gratitude for children obedient to God mixed with a real sense of loss when they leave, even for those who have prayed for God to send workers into the harvest. This group seeks to provide fellowship, resources, and support with others who understand this unique life circumstance.

Our pastors have taught us from the Scriptures that there is no difference between secular and sacred jobs. We are each called to… “Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23a NirV), because He is the One for whom we ultimately work. As we go to work, we pray that the Lord would use us that day to make a difference in someone’s life, to encourage a person whom God has placed in our life, or to tell others we are in contact with about the amazing grace and love God has for them. It is no different with an adult child or grandchild who has a job in another country and different culture, far away from family and the familiar. They’re away from the family and friends who would normally give encouragement during stressful times. For parents and grandparents of these workers, it can be somewhat frustrating that they can’t be there for their loved ones.

It is for these parents and grandparents that GFC’s POWA group formed and have come together each month during these past two years, whether in person or on Zoom, in order to support each other in prayer and encouragement as we bond with others who experience the void and similar stresses in their lives. When there is an urgent situation with a family overseas, we will text the group and ask that they pray earnestly for that family. When there is an answer to prayer that we have been seeking, we again text and rejoice with each other. We have also been able to hear personally from many of the overseas workers when they happen to be “home,” which helps us to connect better with them, their children, and area of work.

There are various needs and prayer requests among our group and each is taken with a heartfelt urgency to God’s throne of grace. We have prayed for sick grandchildren who were miles away from a hospital, families in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, and desperately needed funds for transportation for family members to return to the States to be with a dying loved one (and God provided!). One worker has a burden to start a Christian school from scratch. Another started a sewing ministry among mountain women, which led to a feeding grant program. One worker flies people and supplies to and from remote areas and is sometimes away from their own immediate family. Another is a single physician who desires direction from the Lord as to a new ministry she feels called to. One is a teacher who desires to work with the deaf in a country for whom there is no curriculum. Another family recently returned to a country, but is having numerous difficulties with the bureaucracy of all the paperwork involved. Some workers have been on location for years and are “working themselves out a job” and ready to turn the ministry over to the nationals, and other young couples are just getting started and have dreams of being used of the Lord in their new country.

We desperately need to be in community with other believers wherever God has placed us. It has been so helpful to be in community with other parents of adult children who are working in foreign lands. If you are a parent or grandparent of a worker abroad or know someone who is, please tell them about our wonderful group and please know that you are warmly invited to join us (follow this link for more info). God bless you!

Mary Shultz
Parent & Grandparent of Workers Abroad

*Although names, locations, and photos of this group’s workers abroad cannot be shared for their safety, we ask that you lift them up in prayer. God knows their names and needs!