One Million Arrows Christian Parenting Blog

Posted in: Arrow Families | The Mission

The Mission Minded Family
By Julie Ferwerda
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mission minded family passportsWhen I first picked up Ann Dunagan's book, The Mission Minded Family, something looked fishy. The first thing I noticed is that our covers are uncannily similar, with a silhouette of a family and a map of the world behind. Add to that, India is prominent on both covers! But the similarities don't stop there. Getting into Ann's first few chapters, many passages rang so familiar to the message of One Million Arrows that I began to suspect plagiarism (grins). I turned to the copyright page and then discovered it was I who was guilty of plagiarism because Ann published two years ahead of me (2007).

mission minded familyThe Mission Minded Family is a delightful read from cover to cover. Where One Million Arrows intentionally stops a bit short in practical parenting ideas for the mission (OMA is intended to be more inspirational), Ann's book hits the mark. Her book is a perfect mix of "show and tell." She offers many practical ideas for getting one's family involved in missions, for developing children's hearts with a sold out purpose, and she sprinkles in plenty of personal family examples as well as biographies of many refreshingly unknown yet inspiring men and women of faith. Ann and her husband Jon would be among these examples. They have made many great sacrifices of faith during their years of ministry and because of it, God has given them many amazing opportunities and miraculous provisions.

One message you find interwoven throughout, and one that I appreciate in particular, is that Ann drives home the point that parents can't see ministry as separate from their kids. Ann says, "God is not calling us to win the world and, in the process, lose our families. ...In our view, raising and training our seven children is not a distraction to our mission calling; it is our primary ministry!" Ann goes so far as to provide examples of many missionaries who did and didn't involve their kids in their vocational ministries and the telling outcomes.

Dunagan familyAnother wonderful part of her message that lends credibility to all her suggestions for getting one's family involved in missions is she and her husband's extreme commitment to and experience on the mission field for many years. We are dealing with seasoned professionals who are sharing great insights and suggestions throughout, such as how to get started in family missions (at home or abroad), what to expect, and how to prepare for mission trips. Their kids bear the wonderful fruit of being a part of this ministry from the outset—all SEVEN of them are well experienced on the mission field, very mission-minded, and sold out for the Gospel.

I love the variety afforded in the book. Here are some favorite excerpts:

A few startling facts:

  • More money is spent each year on chewing gum than on world missions.
  • Every fifty-two days more money is spent on pet food than is spent annually on missions.
  • The US poverty level is in the top 4 percent of world family income.

A story of God's protection for her husband on a mission trip:

Many of our prayer partners felt a heavy burden to pray as my husband was ministering in Rwanda in 1994, shortly after the terrible Rwandan genocide. Early one morning, on the day of a planned outreach in the city of Gitarama, Jon had a dream of Joseph and Mary escaping to Egypt with baby Jesus. He then "saw" in his dream the outreach grounds where they planned to preach that evening. In his dream, he saw the crowd attacked in a massive slaughter; and he, along with six other team members, felt God's direction to get out of the country-now! The team packed and left immediately, escaping across the border just before it was closed. Within hours after their departure, war broke out in that very city of Gitarama, and over seven thousand people were killed.

The Mission Minded Family is a must read for well, just that—mission minded families (or wannabes)! Be sure to pick up a copy. You'll be glad you did!

You can learn more about the inspiring Dunagan family at their ministry website: Harvest Ministry. All photos courtesy of the Dunagan family.

About The Author

Julie Ferwerda with orphanJulie is recognized for making the Bible exciting and relevant to everyday life through her writing and speaking. Her articles are featured in many Christian magazines and websites for both adults and teens, and she frequently volunteers her time and talents to international orphan ministry. When not doing all these things, she lives by her mantra: Life is short, nap hard. Learn more at: »

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