Missionary from the Past, Lesson for Today

jim elliot

For the past three years, my life has been deeply impacted through homeschooling my children. One of the reasons for this is that our curriculum has included studying missionaries. Never in my life have I given much thought to missionaries. ..although I am really ashamed to say that. But over the past three years, we’ve had the pleasure to read and RE-read stories of great missionaries like George Muller, Gladys Aylward, and my most recent favorite, Jim Elliot. For several weeks, every day we would read a little bit of the Jim Elliot biography, and every day, my kids would beg me not to stop reading. Truthfully, I didn’t want to stop reading either. I mean, I knew what was going to happen, I knew that Jim Elliot and his missionary friends died (sorry for the spoiler). And I even prepared my kids for it so they wouldn’t be shocked and surprised. But I think that what kept us reading was just wondering how on Earth God could actually cause good to come from that terrible, awful situation. After reading the book, the kids and I all agreed that it was the best missionary story we had read yet (and we’ve read some really great stories). Then, we watched the Torchlighters movie of Jim Elliot and the documentaries which followed, which I highly recommend. And oh my…Jim Elliot and his work for the Lord has been on my mind ever since.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of the story, made popular through the movie “End of the Spear”, although I can promise you I won’t do it justice, so I strongly urge you to read one of his many biographies.   Jim Elliot, along with 4 other friends and their families, moved to the jungles of South America to minister to unreached native groups. At first they worked with the Quichua (KIT-choo-uh) Indians, but all the while, they had in their hearts to reach the Aucas (Ow-kahs). The Auca Indians were the most feared Indian group around. Every tribe was scared of the Aucas. No one knew where they lived, and they killed anyone who came close for any reason. There was never peace between the Aucas and surrounding natives. Therefore, no missionary had ever been into the heart of Auca territory to carry the Gospel to these people. So, Elliot and his team began to pray and devise a plan to reach these people. They began by dropping gifts in a bucket from a helicopter and shouting friendly Auca phrases from a loudspeaker on the helicopter. Then, they finally felt it was time to make contact, so they set up camp in Auca territory. At first, they had three Auca visitors. That visit went incredibly well. Then, a few days later, out of nowhere, Auca warriors came and speared each one of the men. The amazing thing is that each of the missionaries carried a gun….and although there was plenty of time, not one of them took it out to use it. They willingly gave their lives because they knew that retaliation would only strengthen the fear of the Aucas to the outside world along with destroying any chance of them hearing the gospel.

Though the story itself is amazing, what’s even more astounding is what happened after the death of this missionary team.  After the horrifying incident, rather than coming back home, the missionary wives continued their work with the Quichua Indians. However, by an incredible string of events, the Aucas found out that the missionaries had guns yet chose not to use them.  Because of this fact, they asked Jim Elliot’s wife and the sister of another man who was killed (Nate Saint) to go and live among the  Aucas , and they were able to bring the gospel to them. Their willing sacrifice did not come back void. In fact it drove the Aucas toward this message that these men so willingly gave their lives in order to share. As time went on, Nate Saint’s son, Steve, also went to join his aunt and live among the Aucas. They became like family to him, and one of the men who had speared Saint’s father actually “adopted” him as his own son. The Auca tribe is vastly different today because of these five missionary families. They no longer hold the derogatory name Auca which means “savage” but now go by their true name, the Waorani. The Saint family has taught them to provide medical treatment for their own people, and now they are beginning to share the gospel and teach other tribes around them this technology. Wow. What a story for the Father’s glory.

auca

This got me to thinking….I told you that Jim Elliot and the Aucas have been on my mind the past several weeks, didn’t I? There is no other group on the planet that is willing to give their life to spread a message. There are many religions that would honorably die in defense of their religion or even kill others through their own suicide in the name of their religion, but who else would willingly die just to offer someone a chance to hear the gospel? Wow, what a sacrifice! These men didn’t know exactly what was going to happen but from day one, they were willing to face death if it were part of the Lord’s will.

There are many belief systems in this world but only one that has such a pure sweet message that would invoke such a response when met with hostility. 2 Corinthians 4:7  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us not knowing any kind of truth.”

This made me think about us today with the Muslim community, particularly the radical Muslims. The Aucas feared a people who offered grace just as many Muslims do today. Muslims do not understand grace and fear people who believe in a God who offered grace. They fear people who do not live scared of their god. We Christians fear our God but we are not scared of him because we have experienced his grace. As a person who has dealt with my fair share of fear in my life, I understand what fear can drive people to do. It causes us to shut others out, to dislike (even hate) others in order to protect ourselves, to constantly live on “go”, never in the perfect rest that only comes from God.

I just wonder….what if more people were like Jim Elliot and his friends? What if more of us decided to truly “lay down our life” to take the gospel to the ends of the earth? What if rather than saying that these people deserve to go to hell, our hearts ache for them to know Jesus? Because we deserve to go to hell too. I deserve nothing more than hell myself. It’s simply by grace that my eternity is sealed with God the Father. I’ve heard so many say that it’s impossible to take the gospel to these “radical”, “savage” people. Guess what? They said the same about the Aucas. And I believe that the same was probably said about Saul, who became our beloved Paul. Oh, if only we better understood the love of Jesus and walked in it daily. How different our world might look. I am so thankful for the examples of Elliot, Saint, Youderian, Fleming, McCulley and their families, who so selflessly gave that even today, fruit is springing up from their ministry for the Lord.

Oh Father, forgive me when I have found people to be “unlovable”. Forgive me when I have failed to see them as a soul and simply viewed them as a barbarian deserving of nothing more than hell. Help me to remember that I am deserving of nothing more than hell too. Thank you for your grace through Jesus Christ. God, help us to do what you have called each of us to do…to walk and to love like Jesus did. May this always be in our hearts as we go through our days, and may we always, at the very least, be praying for the people groups who have yet to know you, and for those who can do more, please give a willing heart.

Check out these resources for families to learn more about Jim Elliot.  I promise it will change you and your family.  You can’t read a story like his and be the same person.

Jim Elliot Biography for Children & Families

jim elliot bio

Jim Elliot Torchlighters DVD

jim elliot torchlighters

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Dear Mrs. Smith

Dear Mrs. Smith,

Thank you for being my Sunday School teacher when I was in the sixth grade. I know you probably didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, but it was pretty huge to me. It was pretty huge because I knew that you wanted to be there. In fact, in that hour every Sunday morning, I knew there was no other place you’d rather be. There wasn’t exactly this one big thing that you did that made a huge impact on me. It was a bunch of little things that added up. And I want to say, “Thank You” for all those little things, because they added up big for me. First of all, thank you for sending me notes in the mail. This told me that not only were you there for me on Sundays, but you thought about me and prayed for me during the week. Thank you for staying after Sunday School multiple times to talk to me, especially when my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. Thank you for making me feel important by not rushing off right after Sunday School, but instead for taking the time to listen to me. Thank you for taking the time and effort to look at me while I was pouring out my thoughts.   Most of all, thank you for stopping and praying with me during those after Sunday School talks. Thank you for loving the Lord, because your teaching was an overflow of what was in your heart. And what was in your heart was pure gold. Even after I “graduated” from your class, I still knew you were there and you cared. Thank you.

Growing up, I had excellent parents who taught me about God and gave me a great example to live by. However, it was such a blessing to have people like you in my life, Mrs. Smith. You inspired me to read my Bible and to pray. I know that you are a big part of the reason why I now hold Sunday School in such high regard. Teaching Sunday School and working with children in small groups is one of my favorite things to do, and it’s because you planted that seed in my heart. You showed me the importance of godly grown-ups who care giving their time to children. So, thank you…a million times over…thank you.

 

With lots of love,

Deana

 

I wanted to write this and post it here first of all, because I really did (and still do) love Mrs. Smith. But also, Mrs. Smith shaped much of my walk with the Lord. I know that she shaped the way I work with and minister to children, and she cared for me at a time when my shy self really needed it. I wanted to write this also because I see this at Lonoke right now every Sunday and every Wednesday night with our Sunday School teachers and small group leaders. I see a room full of people who really care about children and love the Lord, taking that hour out of their week to make a difference and point kids to God. It’s hard to know what you’re doing in the midst of it all, but I hope that my letter to Mrs. Smith gives you encouragement. I doubt that she really knows what she meant to me and the extent of what she did in my life, but I am forever thankful to God for placing her in my life at that time, for that season. I am grateful that she was willing to be that vessel for the Lord.6287240997_53ff1460da_z

Scripture Memory Resources and Ideas for Your Family

bible pic

So by now, you probably know that I’m pretty big on scripture memory.  No, I’m not a walking Bible and I still struggle with references.  But, in the past 10 years, I’ve memorized a lot of Scripture, and it’s been SO helpful.  I can’t even begin to tell you about all the blessings that come from having God’s Word hidden in your heart.

“Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against God.” -Psalm 119:11

I’ve also been a bit of a drill sergeant when it comes to my kids learning scripture.  Since I didn’t start really learning until my 20’s, I struggle with things like references and long passages of scripture.  But my kids are like little sponges, and they can work on a verse for a few days and they will have it memorized forever.  In spite of starting in my adult life, I’ve learned the way that I learn scripture best and I’m sharing some of my favorite resources and ideas today in hopes that it will help you and your family learn more scripture.

One thing to remember is that memorizing scripture is not just a recite-it-today, yay-for-you, never say it again kind of thing.  Truly hiding God’s Word in your heart takes review, and a lot of it.  The absolute best system I’ve found for memorizing and consistently reviewing scripture is the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System.  Charlotte Mason is actually a homeschooler, but this system can be used in any home easily, so if you aren’t a homeschooler, don’t let that scare you off.  Here’s a video of how to use the system.  You can also check out this website https://simplycharlottemason.com/timesavers/memorysys/

This system takes a simple 5-10 minutes each day and can be done first thing in the morning or right before bed.  I love the review element of this system.  My kids and I have learned over 30 passages of scripture in the last 2.5 years with this system, and they can say them better today than they could last year.

seeds family worship

Have I mentioned Seeds Family Worship yet?  I think I probably have….but I honestly can’t say enough good stuff about this ministry.  It has been such a blessing to our family.  We have been able to learn much larger passages of scripture through Seeds music, and it’s not cheesy like so much children’s music (sorry, but it’s true!).  I actually listen to it by myself!  And the best news is that they just released a brand new album and it is the BEST.  YET.  It was released today and I downloaded it this morning.  We’ve been listening all day, and we LOVE IT!  Go to http://www.seedsfamilyworship.net/ to listen, find out more, or buy.  Or look on iTunes!

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I’ve also used iPhone apps in the past to help me memorize  scripture. There are several but there is a free app called Bible Memory Verse that I used.  It was actually a bit addictive.  I don’t know how good it was long term, but it was fun and it couldn’t have hurt!

Posting scripture around my house is another strategy I use.  It’s most effective when placed in areas you stand most often.  For me, that’s the kitchen sink, the oven, my desk…etc.  This has been pretty effective for me over the years.

Letting the scripture transform you is probably one of the best ways to memorize. Allowing His word to penetrate your heart is above any scripture memory system. When I introduce a new scripture to my kids, we discuss it, we spend some time just thinking about it, and then we begin to learn it. Even in our review, I’ll occasionally ask one of the kids what that verse means to them so that they are always thinking and letting God’s Word sink deeper into their hearts. I do this in my personal time as well by meditating on a scripture passage.

For children, the power of art is something that we must remember to unleash often. My girls are pre-readers, so I will often draw out a verse for them. It’s never complicated. The other day, we had the verse,

“Let the peace of God rule in your heart, and give thanks.” Colossians 3:15

So on one index card I put water marks to represent peace. On a second card, I drew a heart, and on a third card, I drew a hand raised giving thanks. You’d be amazed how quickly they picked up on it. And, even my newly-turned three-year-old was able to put the cards in order and say the verse. Even kids Isaac’s age generally enjoy drawing and would benefit from drawing pictures of Bible verses.  And don’t forget that it’s effective for adults too!  So if you’re a visual learner, break out your colored pencils and draw away!

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to begin memorizing scripture. I really believe that we need to have as much scripture as possible in our hearts for those moments in life when we need a Bible but don’t have one. I think it’s becoming more important every day to hide scripture in our hearts. In Deuteronomy chapter 6, it talks about binding the scriptures to you, writing them on the doorposts, talking about them when you sit and when you stand, when you lie down and when you rise. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in history when this is more necessary than now. We need to be constantly talking about the Scriptures, showing our children that the Word of God is important to us. Take the time to memorize scripture. It will not be time wasted…I promise!

What’s your favorite way to memorize scripture?

Sometimes I can be found here throughout the week:

 

A Mama’s Story http://amamasstory.com/

The Modest Mom Blog http://www.themodestmomblog.com

What Joy is Mine http://www.whatjoyismine.net

Misty Leask http://www.mistyleask.com/being-real-interrupter/

Hearts for Home: http://www.gracedsimplicity.com

Thriving Thursday http://www.servingjoyfully.com

Lead Summit: Thank You

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Tim and I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Lead Summit Retreat with the staff from Lonoke Baptist Church. We drove 10 hours to Gulf Shores, AL to spend a few days resting, gaining encouragement, and building bonds.  I have really been looking forward to it. I didn’t know much about it, since I somehow missed the Facebook page that everyone else seemed to know about, so I thought we would be heading back home Sunday and actually, we’ll be back Monday. Oops…sorry grandparents! I never do things like that, but it’s been a little wild around my house lately so this one slipped up on me.

Getting there was difficult. It never fails that when our family plans to go somewhere, anything and everything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s some kind of law of nature. So, when the head cold that started last Wednesday only got worse and worse, I knew that it had begun. By this Thursday I was really sick, and we were leaving on Friday. So, I high-tailed it to my doctor and asked him to work a quick miracle. He gave me two shots and an antibiotic, but said that he didn’t think it would be miraculous. He was right, but thankfully, I did just fine on the trip and felt better with each passing day.

To share with you a little more about how our week was going before the trip, aside from the fact that the head cold had made its way through the whole family, Thursday afternoon, our in home consultation for our upcoming adoption was scheduled for the third time. The third time. And for the third time, it was cancelled. Not only that, but it was cancelled by e-mail about two minutes before the time our resource worker was supposed to show up at our door. I was sick as a dog, and had worked tirelessly all day to keep the house clean (not an easy task for a mom with two preschoolers who have just learned paper-cutting skills and love to practice), prepare for our trip…I even washed the car so that it would look decent parked in our carport (which almost never happens-we live on a dirt road). And it’s cancelled. As it turns out, we were going through the Faulkner County DHS and we need to go through the Conway County DHS even though we are using Faulkner County CALL. I’ve debated on how much to say on here. I don’t want to bash the system or anyone working to get these kids into waiting families. But, what I do want to do is to give a true, real, transparent account of our feelings, highs and lows throughout this process. For that reason, and for that reason alone, I want to record this day and all the raw emotions I felt.

So when I got that message, I cried. And I realize that most of my posts lately have included at least two lines that read something like, “I cried tears that would soak a bath towel.” Don’t worry…I have noticed my redundancy. I have cried…A LOT…lately. These tears were no different. Let me just stop here and say that I understand that the in home consultation is not a big deal. I get that. I know that my house does not have to be “adoption-ready” or even spotless for this. Don’t worry-I get that. But, what I’d really like to say is that this is not just an appointment for us. This is our life. This is a decision that I’ve lost a lot of sleep and a lot of hydration (due to tear loss) over. It’s a decision that I’m constantly second-guessing in my mind. And YES, I second-guess myself regularly. That’s why it took us SO long to tell people…because I wasn’t sure. So Thursday afternoon, around 4:15, I sat on my porch crying my eyes out, wondering, once again, if we were doing the right thing. And I could just feel God’s calming reassurance, and the one thing that has brought me back every time I’ve questioned our decision is the simple fact that my only path to peace in this situation is obedience. Don’t think for a second that I didn’t explore my options. Sitting on my porch at 4:15 Thursday afternoon, a few hours before our 10 hour trek to Gulf Shores, I sat thinking, “We could just stop here, tell everyone it just wasn’t God’s timing and then our life would be easier.” And that’s when I remembered what I’ve been reminded of several times throughout this process. No. It. Wouldn’t. I know in my heart that if we chose that path, I would never have peace in my heart. I would always know that I was running from what God asked me to do. And a hard path with God’s peace will always be a better choice than an easy path with regrets and running. So, having things worked out in my heart once again, Tim came out to sit with me, I wiped my soaked face on my soaked shirt and said something like, “This trip better be good, because I sure don’t feel like going right now!” I’m so glad that this trip proved to be totally worth it. As it turned out, it’s exactly what I needed.

We arrived Friday night after a 10 hour drive through the deep south and we had a little bit of an opportunity to visit with some of the pastors that night after supper. Saturday morning, we spent several hours in a room full of pastors and their wives, and I have to say that I was in awe to be in a place so full of servant-hearted people. There is no eye that you catch without a warm smile. There is no task that goes undone. Pastors and their families are such a special breed of people. I say that with all humility, because I know that I now find myself somehow included in this wonderful group of people. But having been only officially in the fold for a few months now, I am blown away by the sincerity of this group of pastors, and I find myself praying that I can be like these self-less people. In other similar settings I have experienced, conversation quickly becomes a numbers game or a “my church does ____” competition. In this setting, it was exactly the opposite. The first words from each person’s mouth were words of encouragement and genuine care. That’s been so refreshing. We were blessed by three full, rich sessions encouraging us to find margin, adventure and joy in our lives and to handle criticism. We got to hear from missionaries…who are like real-life-heroes to me.  They talked about things like translating the Bible and treating machete cuts.  It was fascinating.  The leaders of each session were totally real and transparent which is something that I so appreciated.

We ate SO much. Probably the most memorable dining experience would have to be Lambert’s. It was my first time ever, and I have to say, I’ve never really wanted to go because the roll-throwing kind of scares me. I can’t catch anything. Literally. I am one of those tall people who can’t work their limbs in a coordinated fashion at all. So it’s just flailing arms everywhere. And I could only envision trying to catch a flying roll and sending one of the extra-large thermos mugs spewing across three tables of unsuspecting people. Yes, this is how my mind works. So, I refused and was tirelessly made fun of. But, that’s ok. All part of the experience. It was really fun and I’d love to go to Lambert’s again, despite my fear of flying rolls.

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Our beach time was awesome. I got in. I got wet. I got clobbered by waves, again and again. I could not stand up in that water. I told Tim that I am officially the most un-athletic person I know. He told me that it wasn’t athleticism I was missing…it was coordination and balance. But, I did NOT get stung by a jellyfish. So, it was pretty much a win all around. As an added bonus, I got to meet another mother who recently adopted four precious kiddos, and I’m so thankful for that connection we’ve made. The fact that everywhere we go, we are meeting people that want to invest in us and support us through this adoption adventure is exactly the confirmation that we need when those tearful, doubtful moments roll around. Thank you Deborah! I am so excited to get to know you guys better.

So, out of all that I’ve said, what I’m really getting at here is, “Thank you!” to everyone who put together this retreat. It was exactly what Tim and I needed after a hectic summer, and it was SO worth all that happened beforehand to get there! So, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped put it together. Your service did not go unnoticed, and it was SO appreciated.   I am now sitting at home, thrilled to see my three babies again, and I’m already looking forward to next year and hoping that we’ll get to come again and bring the whole crew!

 

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Lead Summit: Thank You

IMG_0352

Tim and I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Lead Summit Retreat with the staff from Lonoke Baptist Church. We drove 10 hours to Gulf Shores, AL to spend a few days resting, gaining encouragement, and building bonds.  I have really been looking forward to it. I didn’t know much about it, since I somehow missed the Facebook page that everyone else seemed to know about, so I thought we would be heading back home Sunday and actually, we’ll be back Monday. Oops…sorry grandparents! I never do things like that, but it’s been a little wild around my house lately so this one slipped up on me.

Getting there was difficult. It never fails that when our family plans to go somewhere, anything and everything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s some kind of law of nature. So, when the head cold that started last Wednesday only got worse and worse, I knew that it had begun. By this Thursday I was really sick, and we were leaving on Friday. So, I high-tailed it to my doctor and asked him to work a quick miracle. He gave me two shots and an antibiotic, but said that he didn’t think it would be miraculous. He was right, but thankfully, I did just fine on the trip and felt better with each passing day.

To share with you a little more about how our week was going before the trip, aside from the fact that the head cold had made its way through the whole family, Thursday afternoon, our in home consultation for our upcoming adoption was scheduled for the third time. The third time. And for the third time, it was cancelled. Not only that, but it was cancelled by e-mail about two minutes before the time our resource worker was supposed to show up at our door. I was sick as a dog, and had worked tirelessly all day to keep the house clean (not an easy task for a mom with two preschoolers who have just learned paper-cutting skills and love to practice), prepare for our trip…I even washed the car so that it would look decent parked in our carport (which almost never happens-we live on a dirt road). And it’s cancelled. As it turns out, we were going through the Faulkner County DHS and we need to go through the Conway County DHS even though we are using Faulkner County CALL. I’ve debated on how much to say on here. I don’t want to bash the system or anyone working to get these kids into waiting families. But, what I do want to do is to give a true, real, transparent account of our feelings, highs and lows throughout this process. For that reason, and for that reason alone, I want to record this day and all the raw emotions I felt.

So when I got that message, I cried. And I realize that most of my posts lately have included at least two lines that read something like, “I cried tears that would soak a bath towel.” Don’t worry…I have noticed my redundancy. I have cried…A LOT…lately. These tears were no different. Let me just stop here and say that I understand that the in home consultation is not a big deal. I get that. I know that my house does not have to be “adoption-ready” or even spotless for this. Don’t worry-I get that. But, what I’d really like to say is that this is not just an appointment for us. This is our life. This is a decision that I’ve lost a lot of sleep and a lot of hydration (due to tear loss) over. It’s a decision that I’m constantly second-guessing in my mind. And YES, I second-guess myself regularly. That’s why it took us SO long to tell people…because I wasn’t sure. So Thursday afternoon, around 4:15, I sat on my porch crying my eyes out, wondering, once again, if we were doing the right thing. And I could just feel God’s calming reassurance, and the one thing that has brought me back every time I’ve questioned our decision is the simple fact that my only path to peace in this situation is obedience. Don’t think for a second that I didn’t explore my options. Sitting on my porch at 4:15 Thursday afternoon, a few hours before our 10 hour trek to Gulf Shores, I sat thinking, “We could just stop here, tell everyone it just wasn’t God’s timing and then our life would be easier.” And that’s when I remembered what I’ve been reminded of several times throughout this process. No. It. Wouldn’t. I know in my heart that if we chose that path, I would never have peace in my heart. I would always know that I was running from what God asked me to do. And a hard path with God’s peace will always be a better choice than an easy path with regrets and running. So, having things worked out in my heart once again, Tim came out to sit with me, I wiped my soaked face on my soaked shirt and said something like, “This trip better be good, because I sure don’t feel like going right now!” I’m so glad that this trip proved to be totally worth it. As it turned out, it’s exactly what I needed.

We arrived Friday night after a 10 hour drive through the deep south and we had a little bit of an opportunity to visit with some of the pastors that night after supper. Saturday morning, we spent several hours in a room full of pastors and their wives, and I have to say that I was in awe to be in a place so full of servant-hearted people. There is no eye that you catch without a warm smile. There is no task that goes undone. Pastors and their families are such a special breed of people. I say that with all humility, because I know that I now find myself somehow included in this wonderful group of people. But having been only officially in the fold for a few months now, I am blown away by the sincerity of this group of pastors, and I find myself praying that I can be like these self-less people. In other similar settings I have experienced, conversation quickly becomes a numbers game or a “my church does ____” competition. In this setting, it was exactly the opposite. The first words from each person’s mouth were words of encouragement and genuine care. That’s been so refreshing. We were blessed by three full, rich sessions encouraging us to find margin, adventure and joy in our lives and to handle criticism. We got to hear from missionaries…who are like real-life-heroes to me.  They talked about things like translating the Bible and treating machete cuts.  It was fascinating.  The leaders of each session were totally real and transparent which is something that I so appreciated.

We ate SO much. Probably the most memorable dining experience would have to be Lambert’s. It was my first time ever, and I have to say, I’ve never really wanted to go because the roll-throwing kind of scares me. I can’t catch anything. Literally. I am one of those tall people who can’t work their limbs in a coordinated fashion at all. So it’s just flailing arms everywhere. And I could only envision trying to catch a flying roll and sending one of the extra-large thermos mugs spewing across three tables of unsuspecting people. Yes, this is how my mind works. So, I refused and was tirelessly made fun of. But, that’s ok. All part of the experience. It was really fun and I’d love to go to Lambert’s again, despite my fear of flying rolls.

IMG_0336

Our beach time was awesome. I got in. I got wet. I got clobbered by waves, again and again. I could not stand up in that water. I told Tim that I am officially the most un-athletic person I know. He told me that it wasn’t athleticism I was missing…it was coordination and balance. But, I did NOT get stung by a jellyfish. So, it was pretty much a win all around. As an added bonus, I got to meet another mother who recently adopted four precious kiddos, and I’m so thankful for that connection we’ve made. The fact that everywhere we go, we are meeting people that want to invest in us and support us through this adoption adventure is exactly the confirmation that we need when those tearful, doubtful moments roll around. Thank you Deborah! I am so excited to get to know you guys better.

So, out of all that I’ve said, what I’m really getting at here is, “Thank you!” to everyone who put together this retreat. It was exactly what Tim and I needed after a hectic summer, and it was SO worth all that happened beforehand to get there! So, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped put it together. Your service did not go unnoticed, and it was SO appreciated.   I am now sitting at home, thrilled to see my three babies again, and I’m already looking forward to next year and hoping that we’ll get to come again and bring the whole crew!

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Overwhelmed

I am overwhelmed.  I am overwhelmed by the need.  As I was preparing last week for a Children’s Church missions lesson, I stumbled upon a website, Stand 4 Kids.  As I scrolled through the posts reading about what is going on in the world, tears started welling up in my eyes.  One post after another, I read about how children are being mistreated, abandoned, sold.  I read about the refugees of war, that 50% of them are children.  What Lord?  This must be wrong.  But just a little more research and you will quickly find that it is oh so true.  My heart ached for them.  By the third post I read, tears began to spill down my cheeks as I thought about my family…our bellies are full, our home is strong and stable, we can worship God freely.  And I began to talk to God.  For the first time ever, I said, Father, I can love these children.  I’ll go!  Will you send me??

 

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Please?

I’ve never wanted to leave Arkansas.  Never.  Much less leave the United States.  But when I saw and read about these children, it became all too real to me….and for the first time, I felt like I could hop on a plane.  I began making plans in my mind.  First, my family and I will jet down to Africa to the 10/40 window and minister to an unreached people group.  Once we’ve conquered that, we’ll head over to the Burmese refugee camp where 120,000 people fled from war.  We will set up a Christian school over there because the children have no access to education.  After a week or two, when the school is up and running, we will head to the outskirts of Iraq where persecuted Christians gather.  I’m sure there are children among them too.  Father, I’m tired.  There’s no way I can do that.  There’s no way my family can do that.  And then days later, my answer comes, though a timely message from my pastor and a timely chapter read in a book.  

 

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I am not their Savior.  I can’t do all that.  Yes, there’s a lot I can do, and maybe someday *one* of those things we will be honored to do for the glory of God, but right now, God speaks to me through His word, saying, 

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  -Exodus 14:14

I know my family’s place right now is here, in our community in small-town Arkansas, ministering to children who need Jesus too.  And, there is nothing that makes my heart happier, but that heart will never be the same after what I’ve allowed myself to read and see.  The burden is there, and there is only one thing that I can do with it now.  That is to take it to the Lord.  Daily.  

There are children half a world away who need to know you Father, and I can’t be the one to bring it to them right now, or maybe not ever.  My life is for your glory, and my deepest desire is to follow your will. I ask that you open the eyes of many so that your people will hurt for these who need to know You.  Cause our hearts to break so that we will pray daily for these children and families who have so little.  Open our eyes and hearts Lord to the plight in the world.  Let us not be complacent in our lives.  May we be ever praying for them.  May we be ever asking,

“What would you have me do?”

Why Study Missionaries?

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I’m just jumping right in here on the new blog!  But, this is something that I have grown to love, so I’m eager to tell you more about it.  About two years ago, we started this crazy thing called homeschool, and like I’ve said to several people, I think it has impacted my life just as much (if not more than) my kids’ lives.  Last year, we made the switch to Sonlight, and what a huge blessing that turned out to be!  Last year’s Sonlight core had a heavy emphasis on world missions, and it truly impacted our family in ways that I never anticipated.  One of those ways was giving us, giving ME, a heart for missions.

 

And today, I want to tell you why it’s SO important to teach your own children, and your children at church about missionaries. 

1.  Missionaries inspire us.  Kids are taught almost from birth about the many different professions.  We give them doctor kits and let them listen to our hearts, we give them a white board and markers and let them teach their stuffed animals.  In our case, we give them PVC pipe and let them put it together (plumber’s family!).  What if we told them about missionaries and people who do great things for God every day?  How would that shape their lives?  Their thoughts?  Their future?

2.  Missionaries give us REAL heros.  Kids LOVE Superman, Spiderman, Barbie, etc, etc, etc….and honestly, I cringe when my kids ask for the newest Barbie doll or Superman action figure.  The violence in the “superhero” movies and the materialism of Barbie makes me want to vomit most of the time.  But, the reality is that kids desperately need role models (aside from their parents-parents are a given!) to look up to.  We need to provide them with those role models who exemplify Christ-like characteristics, who spend their lives giving God glory, who give up everything to take God’s Word to the ends of the earth.  Yes, THOSE are the real earthly heroes.  Those are the ones that I hope my kids want to “be like.” 

3.  Studying missions shows us REAL persecution and REAL suffering.  The Bible tells us clearly that as Christians, we will experience persecution and suffering, but we Americans, truthfully, know little of this.  So often, we think that our friends deserting us because of our beliefs is suffering, and it is!  But it isn’t anything like the suffering going on in the world.  There are Christians all over the world being truly persecuted for their belief in God.  They are dying, being tortured and terribly mistreated, simply because they believe.  There are countries where it is illegal to worship God, and sadly, many of our children don’t know about this.  They don’t know what a privilege it is to get to go to church freely.  They don’t understand how great it is to have the right to say loudly in the street, in the media, “I believe in God!”  I believe that when we teach our children about missionaries around the world, we will view our “sufferings” and “persecutions” in a much different light. 

4.  Missionaries increase our faith in God.  Last year, we read about George Mueller.  It was life-changing for us, and I don’t mean that lightly.  Reading about how he took 200 orphans and depended solely on God to provide day-to-day….words cannot express how his story of God’s provision increased my faith.  Because of the stories of missionaries and great people of faith, my children know that God is BIG and can do BIG things. 

5.  Missionaries prove God’s sovereignty.  What a difficult subject for us to understand.  In our reading of George Mueller and Gladys Aylward, we read stories of great provision….but also of great heartache.  It makes you ask yourself (it makes your kids ask you!), “Why did that happen to them?”  And it comes down to God’s sovereignty.  He is sovereign.  The good and the bad, the highs and lows are all a part of God’s will for our life.  What is God’s will for our life?  That’s actually a simple answer:  God’s will for us is sanctification, and everything that happens to us is part of the process of sanctification.  When we read about difficult things happening to good people, and read about what happened afterward, and how that shaped their life, it helps us and our children get a big picture of God’s sovereignty at work in our lives.  What a gift…at such a young age, to have some understanding of this. 

I truly believe that studying missionaries and people of faith is a huge part of raising children in the way they should go.  In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.”  We need people in our lives who encourage us to live like Christ.  We need people to look to, to imitate.  Our children need it too. 

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Here are a few resources to get you started:

George Mueller Children’s Biography

Gladys Aylward Children’s Biography

Heroes of the Faith Series (Entire Set)

 

{Disclosure:  If you are interested in Sonlight curriculum and you use the link provided above, our family will receive Sonlight rewards, a credit toward our next purchase.  Thanks!}