See the cute little American fellow in the front row of all these dear folk? He's smiling.
See the one in front of skinny Mama. He's squalling.
We had just finished up a full day of delivering a packet about our church, Faith Baptist Church, in Fortaleza. Church people had really turned out for the event. There were ladies who cooked lunch for the whole gang. There were kids and teenagers, old people and young couples. And there was us with our three boys. We were all tired and hot and needed baths. We had rallied the people from a church that had gone through a year of turmoil to do something they had never done before. I don't even see our third boy in this photo. He was probably hiding somewhere.
What about MK boys and girls?
Do they have to help their parents in the Ministry?
Do they have to go to every outreach and every event with a pretty little smile on their face?
Are they "little missionaries?"
Is all that so different from little kids that go to church with their families in the States. I don't think so. We wanted our children to grow up going to church so that it was a good and natural thing to do. We included the boys as much as they desired in various events - holding visualized songs and Bible verses, helping clean up a yard to host a Bible club, what ever was needed. They did what we did. They went where we went.
The question at hand is still - were they little missionaries? I respectfully say no. They were participants just like any child in the work of a family run business. Like a farm! Does the farmer expect his children to help get in the hay? You bet! Does the man who runs a sawmill ask his children for a helping hand? Yup. And sometimes they don't even get paid.
On the other hand, we raised our children to want to be missionaries. We toted our kids everywhere we went so they would come to love what we do and want to do it, too. Just like that old farmer who wonders which one of his boys will keep up the family farm, we brought up our boys to know how to do it all and to want to do it. And like the dear farmer, we know that some will leave the farm and go on to other things - and that's okay, too.
So whose call is it? The call to missions goes out to missionary moms and dads who should work to pass on their love for service knowing that it is God who calls.
As our boys have grown, we still tote them to many places. They still have to help set up chairs and work at camp. They have to do their part because ours is a family business. We have tried to fan the fire of their interests and to provide for the opportunities to "go their own way" in the future. Hopefully they will go with a strong love for worldwide Christian service with eyes wide open to whatever God's call might be for their lives.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9
"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." Hebrews 12:11