It’s a Saturday morning in the middle of July. We are in a dorm in a small town in western Hungary, called Keszthely. This town has become a little slice of Heaven for our family. This is our fifth summer spent here, participating in an English Camp called ‘Speakout’. Every summer high school students from all over Hungary come here to learn conversational English. In the process, they experience the truth of the Gospel as it is lived out and spoken into their lives.
My husband and my first Speakout happened before kids. This 5th one in 7 years saw our family grown to five. Our oldest son just participated in his 4th such English Camp. Our daughter experienced her 3rd and our baby his first unless you want to count last summer…when he was growing in my tummy.
Our growing family has paralleled our growing love for this English Camp. All of the logistics are more complicated, but also more blessed. There are more little people to think of and to care for but also more opportunity for these image-bearers to shine the light of Jesus. Many young people are experiencing a loving Godly marriage and family for the first time as they witness our being a family during Speakout.
As our kids grow so does their understanding of the mission. This past summer, our almost 6 year-old’s favorite time of the week was each Saturday. He woke up excited to pull the campers’ suitcases as he greeted them on their way into the dorm. Later that evening, his eyes danced with delight as he gave high-fives to those same young people during their welcome party.
Our life, on mission, as a family has often been a logistical nightmare for me. I have lost too much sleep packing bags just to 50 pounds only to lose another night’s sleep on an overseas flight. With each choice to pack up and go when it is easier to stay, well-meaning people have dismissed what we are doing with ‘well it’s good to have an adventure while you are still young!’
But this is a very short-sighted view of the story. As I have lost sleep, I have gained spiritual strength. I have learned to rely on the Lord more during packing, sleepless flights or car trips than all of my other ministry experience combined. And in the process we invite our kids into the adventure that is never supposed to end as we embrace God’s call on our lives.
So often, we miss out as families because we are not willing to take the first step. Or we are too busy to find room in our over-crowded lives. In the end, we settle for less than God’s best as a family.
My most heartfelt advice for you mama, who desires to live missionally is
1) If the Lord is speaking to your heart, or someone in your family’s heart, about an opportunity, DON’T SAY NO because it is impossible to picture the logistics.
2) Give the opportunity to the Lord. Pray about it. And trust Him to bring it to pass if it is His will. Psalm 37:5
3) When you do step out as a family, realize that it is as a family. Your kids are as much if not more missionaries than you. Encourage them with the vision. Praise God as you see Him do ‘exceeding immeasurably beyond all you can ask for or imagine’ in and through their lives.
4) Take time to reflect upon and affirm God’s mission for your family. Then hold each other accountable to seek further opportunities as a family.
Our world needs the love that your family uniquely has to offer. Our world is desperate for the Savior in your midst. My prayer is that you are challenged, encouraged & inspired to set the heart of your family upon eternity and that you will get to see, taste and touch it together.