The R139 Story

Wycliffe missionaries live all over the world serving the needs of the Bibleless people. In order for them to do their work effectively, occasionally these missionaries need to have area meetings, training, and most importantly an opportunity for personal spiritual refreshment.

In order for all the adults to fully participate in these meetings, the major obstacle is, “Who is going to take care of the kids?”

For many years, Wycliffe Associates (WA) had been helping meet this need by running a wonderful program called KidZone International. Volunteers from the States would travel to where these conferences were held to watch the children. However in 2014, KidZone was discontinued as WA refined their focus and made hard cuts. This left missionaries overseas once again asking, “What about the kids?”

Hearing the cry for help from its field partners, JAARS ( responded to the need by creating Refuge 139. It was developed with the help of key partners including Wycliffe USA, Wycliffe Canada, and a collaborative effort of the Missionary Kid Caregivers Summit (MKCS). The aim was not only to make Refuge 139 meet the child care need, but to create a high quality VBS type program catering to the specific needs of missionary kids (MKs).

In 2016 JAARS launched its first three pilot Refuge 139 programs in Cameroon, Thailand, and Malaysia under the leadership of Keith Franklin. The response was tremendous, and word quickly spread to other Wycliffe partners who were excited to have this option for their kids.

Our Name

Refuge 139 gets its name from Psalm 139:9-10, which we refer to as the missionary kid Psalm:

“…even if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me…”

MKs live in a variety of contexts often away from their parents’ home country. Refuge 139 is a program that creates a safe environment for these MKs to grow together and grow in their relationships with God.