Diaspora Jews and the Potential of Multicultural Missionary Children

Over the summer, we have been studying Acts at Lincoln Park UBF. To support his upcoming messages, Pastor Mark asked me to make a slide show presentation on the Diaspora Jews and their significance in the Book of Acts. Especially in relation to the theme of God spreading the gospel outside of Jewish territory “to the ends of the earth.” At first I resisted, but then submitted. I’m glad I did. I was so inspired. Especially thinking about how God strategically used this unique group of people, and in comparison, how God is now strategically using missionary children in UBF.

Who were the Diaspora Jews? Diaspora is “to migrate or scatter.” These Jews were exiled and forced to live outside of Israel. The Diaspora occurred in 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered Northern Israel, and in 588 BC when the Babylonians conquered Judah. They were also called Hellenistic Jews, because they lived in Greek speaking territories. Living outside of Israel, they eventually lost the Hebrew language, and by the 1st century mainly spoke Greek. The Hebrew speaking Jews despised the Diaspora Jews, because they didn’t speak or write in Hebrew, “God’s language.” Indeed, they became culturally and religiously marginalized.

It was not by accident. God raised up this “marginalized” group of Jews as his instrument to bring the gospel to the Gentile world. Stephen, Paul of Tarsus, Barnabas, Timothy were all Hellenized Jews. God used them as a bridge to bring the gospel out of rigid Jerusalem, to the Greek speaking Gentiles, and eventually to the ends of the earth.

The missionary children in UBF (and any missionary children) have some similarities to the Diaspora Jews. They are multicultural. They may feel marginalized. They may feel ethnically confused, seeking a real identity. They may have felt discriminated against from time to time. God can use them greatly as his cross cultural witnesses. They understand the rigors of their parent’s sacrificial lives in Christ. They easily come to understand the culture and language of the where they are living. What effective communicators of the gospel they can be! How fearless they can be to bring God’s word and the gospel of Jesus to people of different cultures and languages!

Yesterday I witnessed a joyful wedding between two missionary children. One was raised in the USA, the other in Korea and Argentina. I was so moved that one of their prayer topics as a couple is to go out as missionaries. There is a beautiful Filipino American family. They started raising their children in Chicago, then went out as missionaries to the Ukraine seven years ago. Now two of their daughters are going to school in Turkey and fearlessly and effectively support the UBF gospel ministry there. My son-in-law is a multicultural son of missionaries. He, without hesitation and without fear, is willing to go out to wherever God leads his growing family to advance the gospel.

I stand amazed at God and his ways of working. Praise God that He works through any group of persons who become uniquely useful to him. As he used the Diaspora Jews as a bridge to the Gentile world, may God use multicultural children of missionaries to bridge and advance the gospel of Jesus Christ to peoples of every nation.


  1. Just want to mention that if we are paying appropriate attention to secular parts of our life (like job or school), keeping realtions with schoolmates or coworkers, and not deny them, I think, we ourselves could be good in spreading the Gospel.

  2. Hi Kathy, thank you for sharing your reflection on the Diaspora Jews and for your heart for missionary children. As a “second-gen” of missionary parents in UBF, I resented people’s prayers for me and other children in UBF “to become second-generation missionaries” and wished they wouldn’t put that kind of responsibility on me. It felt like I had no choice but to remain and serve the church, when I had many other worldly plans for my life. Now, as an almost-28 year old who only met Christ personally within the last 5 years, I am extremely thankful for my parents’ and ministry’s prayers for me while growing up — because without them, who knows where I would be now. I have personally witnessed how deep and how wide Jesus’ mercy is on me, a sinner — and Jesus did not give up on my soul despite my wrong decisions along the way. I believe that the prayers of my parents and other missionaries are what helped bring me back to my Father and I now accept Jesus’ command to love others and share His gospel.

  3. Hi Mary. Thank God for his work in your heart and life! It is very encouraging!