What Is A Mission Nanny?

Guest ColumnistCommunity News

Mission Nannys are volunteer helpers to missionary families overseas and sometimes in the USA, to give domestic help to families in stressful situations.  Titus 2:3-5 states that, Older women should be models of goodness and by looking at them the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children.

Seventeen years ago a missionary family in Italy had a difficult situation.  The mother had gone into the hospital for a simple procedure but had to have a major operation.  After the operation, she was flown home with her three children to recuperate in sunny California.

“Missionary families could sure use help,” the Mom confided.  “When illness strikes we have to choose between homeschooling or ministry tasks, and when other problems arise, we often have no family members or other support nearby to which to turn.”

I considered how to provide this kind of help for missionary families and came up with the name of Mission Nanny.  I was well aware of what nannies did in the USA.  They helped so much in the running of a household.  Some of my sons and daughters were married and having grandchildren and I so enjoyed being there to help with the older ones when the new babies came.  I especially enjoyed being able to rock that new baby and sing hymns to him or her.  This kind of service was inspiring to me and I thought I could offer it to others, too!

I returned to live with my son Paul, in Sunderland, MD (to help with their 2 children) and decided to submit a request to the IRS for a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization status to be granted for this new endeavor called Mission Nannys.  It was great to be in the Washington, DC area and after several phone calls and letters, approval was granted.  Praise God!

I collected alumni lists of several Christian colleges and went to work notifying many pastors and known mission boards of this new ministry, Mission Nannys.  For a model, I chose Teen Missions International.  I had been a lady-leader 4 times with them, taking teenaged groups of 30 to Bolivia, India, France, and England.  I gained lots of experience with cooking for large groups and dealing with teenagers.  I took what I had learned and began working on forms for applications, and a brochure explaining the organization.  I also compiled a list of missionaries requesting help.  Things moved along slowly.

My first thought was to personally try this out and see if it worked.  I received a request from new missionaries with Bible Christian Union needing help in Italy.  They were to arrive there in February, 1991 and I arrived in March to care for their 15 month old daughter while the couple attended language school.  It was a great time for all.  They lived in Perugia in an apartment house on a hill and I cared for Hannah as well as cleaned house, organized, and cooked meals.  It was an especially wonderful time playing with their daughter.

Soon, a friend of my son’s wanted to serve as a Mission Nanny.  She went to Mexico to homeschool 3 children so that the parents had more time for ministry.  She loved it so much that she stayed almost a year and then returned again later for another 6 months.  The system worked well.
Since then, we have sent Mission Nannys to England, Croatia, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, Dearborn-MI, Romania, France, Garland-TX, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Cerritos-CA, Germany, Joseph City-AZ, Cameroon, Poland, Dilkon-AZ, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Spain, Louisiana, Bosnia, Montana, Phuket-Thailand, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Holland, Honduras, Ethiopia, Oregon, Chad-Africa, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Uganda, and Indiana.
Each volunteer has been a tremendous blessing to families and have made long-term friendships.  One volunteer served in Spain, then went to Turkey, and is now heading to China with another mission board.  She had lost her husband suddenly and responded by wanting to serve others.  She is doing a great job, serving the Lord and being blessed greatly by others.

We have changed our age requirement from needing to be over 50 to be at least of college age.  All ages of volunteers have proved to be reliable, committed, and ready to serve.  We ask that any missionary who requests a volunteer nanny to commit to providing free room and board while the volunteer is helping them.

Now, 17 years later we are celebrating the 100th volunteer who will go out to serve a missionary family.  Holly is leaving in December, 2008 to go to Lusaka, Zambia in Africa to live with missionaries near Lake Tanganyika.  She will help with homeschooling.  Holly plans to stay until November 2009.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Be sure to check out our website: www.MissionNannys.org to see all of our Opportunities of Service and testimonies of the many who have served as volunteers with the organization.