One of the top questions we have had lately is how do we feel about raising our children on the mission field. I am assuming the reason we get this question so often is because of fear. People fear something happening to their children and fear not being able to offer them 'the best things' in life so they assume we feel the same way.
First of all, we believe that raising our children in the center of God's will is the safest and best place to raise them.
While some may view moving to another country as unsafe- I can assure you we are doing everything in our power to provide a safe life for our children.
Our power is the key word.
Because the truth is- while you and I can do all the 'right' things to make sure our kids are safe and healthy- in reality, there is only so much we can do. Whether we live in the comfy old USA or in a 3rd world country- things happen. People get sick- cancer rears it's ugly head, we break bones, and get in car accidents. They are a part of life no matter who you are or where you live.
Does it scare me those things could happen to my children? Of course. It scares me right now living in the USA. But what scares me more is raising my children in a world where they are constantly bombarded by the pursuit of personal happiness. Where 'the finer things in life' are constantly dangled in front of their eyes and where they are brainwashed into thinking 'things' are more important than people.
We learned a long time ago that there are no guarantees in life- and we learned a long time ago that the Lord isn't so much concerned with our 'happiness' as He is our holiness. While we do need to be wise- we also don't want to stand in front of God one day and realize we missed out on the very purpose He created us because we were too afraid to really live.
While it's true the USA is considered the land of opportunity, I believe my children will experience 'other' opportunities while living in another country that many Americans will not. They will see things, experience things, and live things that are different than those living in the United States- but equally as good. They will learn to relate on a new level to others who are not like them and learn to appreciate those differences. They will learn to be fluent in two languages and learn how to step out of their comfort zones. They will experience different cultures first hand- rather than just reading about them in geography books. They will learn to be resourceful, flexible, and adaptable.
I think many people believe that by taking our children onto the mission field they will somehow be deprived. If being deprived means no more video games, cheer leading try-outs, cartoons, or fast food- then we are okay with that. While they may be giving up some things- I believe what they are gaining is so much more important. It's simply a matter of priorities.
We view our going to Guatemala as our family mission. The Great Commission isn't only for adults. Each one of us are playing a vital part in reaching the world for His kingdom. Each one of us will relate to specific people in specific ways. Each one of us have different strength and gifts the Lord has given us and each one of us will come into contact with different people. I have already seen my children touch the lives of people that I never would have been able to. Each one of us, no matter how old or young, are able to love and reach out to others. And, I think it's crucial we teach our children this at a very young age.
More than anything in this world I want my children to know Jesus deeply. I want them to understand that life isn't just about their getting ahead- having the biggest house or the biggest bank account. Life isn't about being #1, being popular, the smartest, the greatest athlete, or the best looking. It isn't even about our personal safety our comfort. It is so much more- and most of us are missing it.
There is world out there full of people who are hurting and lost. A whole world out there who's only answer is knowing Jesus personally. You and I were put here on this earth to be His hands and feet-to tell others about Him...not to spend our days trying to prove WE are worthy. We were given life to show others His love- regardless of who they are, where they were born or whether they deserve it or not. If my children discover how to love others regardless of social status, ethnicity, diseases or ability to give anything back- than I truly believe we have succeeded in giving them the very best in life.