Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mother of a Missionary

By: Debbie Coon

    Rachel and I had just finished canning several pints of elk meat. Feeling quite pleased with our work, we headed outside and picked the last of the vegetables from our garden, corn, beans, red potatoes and carrots.  It was a good feeling know that all this healthy food would soon be on it’s way to Mexico where it would feed my kids for the next year.
 
 After 3 year old Archer finished using the garden hose to wash the vegetables and thoroughly hosed down his mother with a hearty “I gotcha,” we canned the vegetables as well. 

   The mother of a missionary wants to mother her children into a place of comfort, decent food, warm clothes and a nice place to live. 
 
   I am the mother of a missionary and this is a peek into what it’s like for me to walk the fine line between being the mother of a missionary and being her sister in Christ.  

    When your daughter tells you she has a heart for missions, you accept it. When she tells you she is marrying a man who is a missionary, you accept that too. When they tell you they are taking your 18 month old grandson and moving to Mexico, you help them pack and then…then comes the day you stand in the driveway and wave them on to their journey, into the Will of God, into another country, into a place where the rules, the food, the culture and the government are nothing familiar to us.

   Six years ago, Rachel told us that God was preparing her heart for something big. Five years ago she said God was preparing her heart for the mission field. Four years ago she married Daniel, a missionary. Yes, we saw it coming. We watched as they sold off their possessions, applied for passports and packed up their belongings. With mixed emotions of sadness and excitement, we stood in the driveway and waved goodbye. 
 
    As Christians, we are commanded to support missionaries and Richard and I have done that most of our married life. As God has seen fit to bless us, we have gladly passed on to others. Now we include our own children in that list.
 
    According to scripture, we are all commanded to preach the gospel, but it is a hardy few who give up everything, pick up their cross and follow the call as a way of life. The Bible says it is more blessed to give than receive and when we partner with a missionary through prayer or financial support, God calls us “fellow workers with the truth.” It’s as if we are walking on foreign soil, right beside them.
 
    So what’s the fine line?
 
    The life of a missionary is not easy, even when that life is just across the border in Mexico. I am after all, the mom. I get the inside scoop. Mom wants to kiss it and make it all better with a check or box of goodies, but that’s not my job and it hasn’t been for a long time.
 
    It is also not up to me, the mother, to motivate, argue and cajole someone into giving, much as I would like to. It is God who puts the call on the heart of the believer.  When  God calls us to any action, destination or realization, you can get up or not. You can sit there or move. You can answer the call or not. Your choice.  Mom definitely wants to motivate you, cause moms are good at that but, this sister in Christ is not your conscience, your Holy Spirit or your task master. Your relationship with God is personal and private and it does not involve answering to me.
 
 In walking the fine line between giving to our kids verses giving to our missionaries, this mom sometimes struggle with guilt. When Richard and I were in Mexico last year, we were both profoundly affected by the things we saw and as a result, we give extra each month and ask the kids to provide food for this group and financial support to that. The parent in me feels guilty giving them money and telling them to give it to someone else, but isn’t that what our heavenly Father does with us?   He gives an abundance and asks that we share. 
 
    So, as I work at walking that fine line, I will continue to do the little extras like canning meat and vegetables, buying their vitamins and  tucking in a little play money for a date night, or a toy for Archer. I fight the urge to finance their mission single handedly.  She is after all, still my kid.  
 
    It is my prayer that you will partner with those who God has placed on your heart and that you realize that while financial support is necessary, more so is the daily presence of prayer.
 
    This Grandma  is asking you to pray for Archer’s safety,  that he won’t pick up a poisonous bug, get bit by a scorpion, or get sick from the water. This mom is asking that you pray for my kid’s health, that they won’t grow weary. Pray for effectiveness on the mission field, that hearts will open to the gospel and as their mission outreach grows, that they will have the means to facilitate, whatever that might entail. Pray for others to see the need and that many prayers will go up on their behalf. And not just for my kids, but others who are devoting their lives to the same cause.
 
    Be a fellow worker. Spend some time in prayer for the ones who picked up their cross and waved goodbye.
 
    Thank you. 
    
 
This mom appreciates it.
 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

How a Short Term Mission Trip Changed Me

By: Angie Bell
 
If you have ever considered going on a mission trip but couldn't help asking yourself what exactly is the point, you're not alone. Wondering how and if you can cause a lasting difference by visiting another country for a short while is only natural. Also weighing the cost of your trip to just donating the money is another valid reason to question whether it's really worth going at all. 

My husband and I had been talking about going on a short mission trip for the last 4 years, but were having a hard time deciding where to take our family with young kids. When my cousin and her husband decided to become full time missionaries in Mexico, we finally committed. Several times previously though, we asked all the questions above, but this time we were just gonna do it! We were going to find out what mission trips are really like and see if the experience is worth the trouble and the money.

February 8th, 2015 at 3 am, we loaded our 6 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old into our van and headed to the airport to fly to San Diego and then drive into Mexico. People told us we were crazy for taking our little ones, but we wanted to give God the opportunity to use us and our children. It turned out to be a good decision. Without giving many of the details and experiences of our trip, I will describe to you the lasting affects of our two week mission. 

1. Perspective: My perspective has changed dramatically. It can't be helped. You go to any third world country and that will happen. Warning: plug for Mexico coming. It was a good experience seeing America from the other side and I don't mean from Canada. It's just healthy. Perspective is something extremely valuable, but less and less common. A true understanding of the relative importance of things is it’s definition. Sounds a lot like wisdom and I wish for large quantities of it!

2. Prayer Life: I have always struggled with my prayer life. I've wanted to be more kingdom minded when talking to my Father. To have deeper and more meaningful conversations with Him. To pray about things that are really important to me. Things I can't forget because they bring out the passionate side of me.

As a mom, after our trip, I now find myself praying often for the moms of the orphanages (aka super moms) that we visited. When I'm up at night with a sick kid, I find my mind wandering to Mexico. I can't help but wonder if one of the super moms is up also with one of the 18 children in her care. I assume that it's probable and I pray for them. 

When I'm bathing my children in a full tub of water, I think about the super moms who have to decide between drinking water or bathing water. Not mention the other million things we need water for everyday and I pray for them.

When I'm stressed about making our grocery list magically fit our budget, I remember those super moms who go without, more often than I can possibly imagine, to make sure they provide for those God has entrusted to her. And I pray for them.

We all have or heard of others having strong, brave people in their life that powerfully influenced them for the better. It's not that you're always comparing yourself to that person as much as you were encouraged and emboldened by them. I spent really very little time with the super moms, but it has forever changed my life. I feel braver and stronger since meeting them and for that I am extremely grateful! I know that whether they are aware of my prayers, they are invaluable to them. I know the Holy Spirit lives in me and moves me to pray for them when they need it most. God has laid it on my heart to continue to look for other ways besides prayer to help them also. 

So not only has there been several lasting changes in my life, the super moms and other missionaries I met while in Mexico, have someone who will continue to pray and try to cause awareness of their great need for support. 

So… was it worth the plane ticket price, passport hassle, and traveling out of country with kids? Absolutely! What could be a better use of your resources actually? Giving God the opportunity to stretch you, give you perspective, and have you meet and connect with other believers around the world might be more worthwhile that you originally thought. Your story could be completely different, but just as life changing!