Things I am thankful for. One of the best things about being a pastor’s kid is having many pastor uncles and aunties. They aren’t my relatives but for me, some of them are closer to me than my real relatives. In the Chinese community, as in Singapore, we often call older people aunties and uncles even though we are not related.
Where do these pastor uncles and aunties come from? Many of them are my father’s seminary buddies, friends who went to school together (like college, high school friends) and because many of them became church pastors or worked in the Christian circle (in publication or other Christian organisations) they have many shared interests and topics to talk about. Furthermore, they understand one another’s difficulties in serving God in church and other places. As for me, I always like to listen to their stories where there is a gathering, usually during the holidays like Christmas and Chinese New Year.
Some of the have became our extended family and they would often visit us when the are visiting the area to preach, have meeting and etc to save money, and we love their company.
Most of them went to the same seminaries my father went to, others were befriended in different ministries and they all have experience. I know a few who were missionaries from South America, the Philippines, Indonesia and Europe.
This is a special, very special crowd. When I tell them about my church troubles, they know exactly what I am talking about. They have been there, maybe many times before. They would share what happened to them and what they experienced, and sometimes, I feel better for knowing that my family and I are not alone in this spiritual fight. In some cases, they are worst stories which make me feel fortunate. There are some very nasty church and pastor abuse stories out there.
The other benefit is that I get ministry advice, advice on seminaries and training and answers to biblical problems from them. There is no pretences, or very little. The one thing with this crowd is that some of them are quite direct and honest. I don’t mind it because I know their intention is good. They would ask my tough questions and I ask them for advice. They are a great resource. I have a pastor uncle who is the vice-president of a seminary, several who are in charge of Christian organisations and missions. They are just great loving resources I can get help from and they are just so supportive.
It is very important to have people you can trust, friends you can share your difficulties in ministry and be understanding. As a pastor’s kid or a pastor, we get misunderstood by many people, many congregation people who we see every week. I still don’t get why there is so much distance between people you see every week. I think I am very fortunate and lucky to have these people in my life and have them be apart of my family.
There are some strong characters, very distinctive personalities. There are some who are very direct, some who are very forward and eager to help in a moment notice, there are some who are more quite, scholar-like, some who are gentle, some who are more rough around the edges and yes, they are all doing God’s work. And they can be friends, good friends, caring of one another and making jokes and laughing despite all the tolls and they beating they get day in and day out. They are not perfect people, they are very ordinary people. They are not always right, I don’t agree with everything they say but I must say they are genuine. They all made some sacrifices to serve and their families went through stuff as well but God takes care of them. Some of their children are my friends as well and we would visit one another when we are near their areas (we are scattered around the world).
From them, I can see how God takes care of His servants even if it takes a while. In hindsight, I believe it is very important for pastors and their family to have support system outside of church. Most preferably, peers who understand and accepting. Having good friends and support really help.