Thursday, July 10, 2014

*repost* Life... post trip 2009

Life is like a long term mission with short term trips that intersect the daily ...

(Acts 1:8; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth)

Who I am?

Who are they?

Sarah was 18months old when we moved to Estacada, and we found a small local church to attend. The first Sunday my husband visited there was a mission presentation given by the team which and just returned from India. He left church that day with the thought that he, himself, would go. He didn’t know when, but he knew he would.

At the time, we had a stack of toddlers at home and missions trips were FAR from my mind. So far, in fact, that I don’t even remember their presentation! (I was probably hanging out with my toddlers in a classroom that day!)

The next spring, though, we prepared and sent jakes little sister out with the team. And the next year, Jake himself went. By that point Sarah was about 4, and we had moved out to Eagle Creek where we live  now. Jakes trip was very trying for me; I was frustrated and lonely and confused about so many things – I learned much about my dependence on Jake and how I had placed him above God in my life. Ultimately it was a very healing time in my life, and I probably wouldn’t have learned a thing if he hadn’t gone.

I was approached to consider going the following year and I was nervous, but excited, and mostly confident I was to go... We coordinated kids, schedules, and plans, and I was able to go that year (and the next) while Jake stayed home and our daughters spent time in the lives of other families!

The spiritual darkness that met me in India; seeing the poverty and hearing the words of those who have no hope, greatly impacted me and changed my whole perspective. First I recognized my abundance here at home and then I recognized that I want to be a world changer.

But I was stumped by the question “how can a mom be a world changer?” We typically think of “world changers” as those people who make it onto the television, or move overseas, or even just help their community rebuild after a disaster. Not so sure I am ever going to be one of those folks...

I took a step back and evaluated my role with my kids. By that time they were all solidly in Elementary School – we were involved in our local church and had done some things in the community with them to encourage their own ability to serve. I knew that I wanted them to have a broader perspective but I couldn’t imagine the way that God would teach it to them!

As we all prayed about the trip for 2009, Jake and I were confident that we were to go together (for the first time.) When we both applied for the team, we were asked to consider taking the kids also. To be perfectly honest, taking our kids was not something I had ever thought of. I was rather a bit shocked and I concluded, like Gideon, that God would have to do something pretty darn unique to let me know that he really wanted us all to go, because taking three little girls to India on a short term trip isn’t just something you do every day!

We prayed and began to prepare for our family to go. We had money to raise, passports to acquire, and arrangements to make. We were going as part of a team, so we trained with our team and I was very unsure about how the girls would really fit once we were on the road.

God is pretty amazing and gave us several clear signs that we were really supposed to go – We needed about $11,000 for our family to go – and it all came in (some at the eleventh hour) Our girls teachers were all very supportive and actually told them they would be praying for our family – a miracle in this day and age and a blessing to me as I think about it even now...

It all came together and we flew.

Our team was incredibly supportive, and our kids were amazing. The team carried the burden much better than I had ever imagined they could. I decided it would be best for me to strictly be mom on this trip, rather than taking on a team role – that is a decision that I am very glad I made. I was able to give of myself completely every day to the kids; an act of grace I still marvel at now, when I am spent but the day isn’t over yet...

I knew there were many people praying back home because, well, with three kids there are three different personalities, three different kinds of mischief each moment, three different picky tummys, three different possible disasters waiting to happen.... And yet, everything went incredibly smooth.

Looking back, I can recall some key things that were impressed upon our kids and family that have shaped my perspective as a mom to this day: One, the girls were able to see people they knew from home live out their faith in the field. They heard the testimony of the work of God in the lives of our teammates, heard the gospel presented, and saw our team work with the orphans and the strangers. They were included to do what only they could do best – being kids. They were encouraged to play and be friends, and that opened a lot of opportunities for us all!

Two, we were all reminded of the fact that God has a plan and he can work it out without any trouble at all. The gift of financial resourcing was not kept hidden from the kids – they both prayed with us for provision and saw it come through in miraculous ways. Our health and the opportunity we had to share the gospel also revealed the perfect plan God had for that trip at that time.

I spoke to Sarah today about the trip and asked her what she really remembers. Her response, of course had to do with kids and friends and food. But she also said, it makes me really think about how much I have. India is a VERY poor country and our kids saw firsthand how differently life is lived outside of  America. I think the ability to take the kids on a short term trip has impacted our long term mission in ways we won’t ever fully comprehend. They are your typical American kids, with an overabundance of stuff and the usual busy schedule. But every so often lessons we learned together in ministry in India come back in the way they behave, in the way they relate, and in the way they perceive the world at large.

As a mom, this entire journey (which isn’t over yet) has been quite an adventure. But it’s one that I  wouldn’t trade for anything. I realize that we can all be world changers – as it all begins at home.As for the future, who knows? The girls are getting older, and want to go back to India to see their friends and serve some more. Perhaps we will go again as a family. Or perhaps they will be drawn away from Estacada at some point as adults. But in the meantime, my ultimate goal as a mom is to impart who I am in Christ to my children; as I live and grow more Christ-like, my kids are watching and learning from my example and hopefully, learning themselves to live their life on purpose.

The great commission given by Christ to the Disciples speaks to us as women and moms just as powerfully as it did to the original listeners. Our “Jerusalem” begins in Our living room – we don’t even have to open the front door!

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