Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mission Mindset

It is so, so very good to be home.

We had an absolutely wonderful trip to Kenya. We praise God for His provision and protection in every way. Considering we just took our seven children, age three to fifteen, half way across the world for three weeks, it was amazingly smooth, and we are so thankful.

Before we left, I wondered how it all would affect me. Would there be a difficult culture shock in returning to the abundant life in the US? But while I learned a lot and have somewhat of a different perspective, I don't feel like my world has been turned upside down. And I think it's because everything I encountered was more-or-less exactly what I expected.

I attribute this partly to all the people in my life who have opened my eyes to the hurting world around me. I am thankful for Compassion International, and for a long lost youth group leader who introduced me to this organization. I'm thankful for Samaritan's Purse, and their excellence in showing mercy and practical helps as an avenue to share the best news of all, reconciliation to the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus. I'm thankful to my Dad and Mom, and their real life, close to home examples of caring for the poor, outcast, and underprivileged in this world. And so, so many more people I have known that live their lives sold out to the cross, and tell their tales of the world they encounter.

I attribute it also to a love of reading, which has led me to learn through books about so many other parts of the world. Even Little House on the Prairie had a huge impact on my life, and I often think about how blessed we are to live in this time in history. I also read all the newsletters from missionary organizations and Voice of the Martyrs. They help me put things in perspective on a daily basis.

It was FUN to actually be there, and THRILLING to be able to meet our long prayed over boys, Zachary (pictured above) and Peter. But there is so much you can do to make a difference without flying half way across the world. It is so much about the MINDSET. It's what we read, how we use our time, and what we talk about with our kids. It's taking God's Word seriously and applying it to our lives. That is what has shaped me more than anything.

I'm not saying I've arrived - there is still a lot of sanctification to be done in my life. And I don't think short-term mission trips aren't important, because they are. And for some, I think tactile experiences are more effective than simply reading and seeing pictures.

Certainly Dan's skills as a surgeon were appreciated greatly, and I hope our family was a blessing to others. While money is needed, I'd rank prayer, education (which also takes money) and a stable government up there even more after our experiences. And I've always loved John Wesley's quote - "Earn as much as you can, give as much as you can, save as much as you can."

But for you parents out there, I think the best thing you can do is make missions a part of your everyday life. Pray for those you know who are full-time in ministry. They definitely suffer greater persecution from the enemy. Give generously, and teach your children to do the same. Learn about what God is doing all over the globe, and pray about your part. The beautiful thing is, usually what we are passionate about is where He wants us to be! (Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4)

And on a more shallow note.

It. Is. So. Good. To. Be. Home.

I love cream in my coffee, driving my car, towels that are dried in the dryer, not sleeping under mosquito netting, paved roads, friends and family (not necessarily less important than cream in my coffee), cell phone service, my garden, summer in Oregon, not having suitcases piled up in the study and entry in preparation for the trip, and not wondering how we would survive the flight. It's over. We did it. Thanks be to God! And now it's back to my favorite time of the year... summer, my birthday, homeschool planning (but not actually homeschooling), Sunriver, football season and dates with my husband. SWEET!