Missionary Kid Tales
The delight of a missionary is to see the kingdom of heaven growing and abounding on earth, to see those in darkness come into the light, and to see Jesus glorified in the land and people where he or she is serving. I’m excited about these things, and I pray for the kingdom of heaven to invade Romania all the time. But, what would it profit us to gain all of Romania and lose the souls of our children? The Bible says that children are a reward from the Lord, that if we train them up in the way they should go while they are young and in our care that they will not depart from that way when they are grown, that we are to declare the praises and goodness of the Lord to our children so and make known His ways to them.
We include our kids in a lot of our ministry: they come every Monday with us to the Mihai Bravu gypsy community as we bring church there; they are part of our home church; they go with us to get food and clothes for those in need; they play with the kids of those that we are witnessing and ministering to. And, they are a light just being here with us.
Here are a couple of stories from our kids’ lives that make me smile and know that we’re doing okay raising them on the mission field. The first one is about Illiana Sunshine, our three year old. She is a burst of joy and sunshine, and busy big-city life hasn’t squelched that. A couple of Sundays ago, on our way to church across town, Illiana sat next to me on the subway and started making funny faces at Jake and her uncle Ben sitting on the other side. She has this crazy way of crossing her eyes and then moving each eyeball individually in different directions. It’s weird. But also really funny seeing this three year old with Shirley Temple-like blonde curls bouncing in every direction doing it with a straight face. People in Bucharest are generally very serious, like in any big city, and don’t tend to smile a whole ton, but Illiana got a young guy across from her trying to hide a laugh, a couple of middle aged men giggling, and even the super-serious security guard on the subway to start smiling. Our kids with their blonde hair, big smiles, and loads of energy are conversation openers for us all the time. If only our Romanian skills were better…
The next story comes from an interaction between two of our kids in the home. Each of the girls got a piece of candy from Ben and were eating it for a snack one day. When I asked if Isaac had one, they said he didn’t. Now Isaac loves food, and he could probably hear us open a candy wrapper from the moon, so he started going crazy when the girls got their candy out. Mae comes over and hands him hers and tells him that he can have it instead of her. I almost started crying over the sweetness of that gift. We hardly ever buy candy, so for Mae to give it up for her little brother was very generous. A couple of days later I found a notebook of hers filled with words about how much she loves God and how good He is and how she is good because of Him. Proverbs 23:24 says, “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.” I was surely rejoicing and delighting!
I love being a missionary family, and I love getting to go minister with Jake, and I love teaching the Bible and preaching and discipleship and seeing people decide to start following Jesus. I also really love discipling the kids and seeing them walk out their faith in Jesus and having our whole family be a light to the world. And I’m incredibly thankful to those families from our churches back in the States who were such a great example to us of godly parenting!