Blog, On Mission, Uncategorized

A Mom (and daughter) On Mission: Angela & Sierra

One of my most favorite families and mentors, Angela, recently took her youngest daughter to Brazil to serve and share Jesus! Angela has great wisdom as a wife and mom, but most of all, she’s a lady that loves Jesus and wants other to know Him here in Spartanburg and around the world!

1. Introduce you and your fun family!

My name is Angela and I am wife to my best friend Greg, and mom to seven of my most favorite people in the world.

2. How/why did you feel led to go on this trip and bring Sierra with you? Or did she want to go first?

My parents are missionaries in Brazil, so the opportunity to minister in this country is ever present. My four older kids have all been to Brazil to do missions work and two of them have been there for an extended amount of time. About a year ago, Sierra, who was 15 at the time, said she really wanted to go. At that time I was not sure if she was just curious about a country that she had heard so much about or if she was hearing God’s call to go. After Christmas, I begin to feel God calling me to go out of the country on mission. This surprised me a bit, because I had felt for some time that I was content to stay home and “hold down the fort” allowing several of my family members to travel and be on mission.  Shortly after that, Sierra came to me and said she really wanted to go to Brazil in the summer. We have typically tried to cultivate curiosity for mission trips in our children but desire that the calling come from God. From that point on, Sierra was convinced she was supposed to be in Brazil this summer.  God confirmed to me and to her that this was something he had put the desire in her heart for.  One evidence was that her desire did not waiver. She was comfortable missing out on things that had previously been valuable to her, in order to be where God was leading her. For those of you with teenagers, you know that stepping out and doing something different is not the norm.

3. How did you prepare yourself and help her prepare?

I wanted our time in Brazil to be as profitable as possible. I knew we needed to prepare for the trip just as much spiritually, as we were physically. I went to the IMB (International Mission Board) website and found a Bible study to help us prepare. The study was a tool to cultivate spiritual conversations to help us prepare. We talked about why we should share our faith and how to share faith, what happens when share our faith and even practiced sharing our faith. We read scripture together and prayed for the people that would be in our path as we went. The study even covered things to be conscience of while we were in route and how to prepare for a different culture. The most valuable part was just talking with Sierra about the Gospel and hearing what it meant to her.

4. What lessons did you learn serving together?

I was reminded how much freedom there is in obedience. When we obey God, we don’t have to worry about the outcome or even the process. We leave that to Him. In obedience we are able to get a clear picture of God and all He wants for us.

5. What advice would you give Moms about going on missions with your children?

I constantly remind myself that my children are not my own and no matter how much I love them, God loves them infinitely more. If the goal for my kids is to love God and love other people . . .and it should be, then I must give them opportunities to do just that. Love God by sharing what he has done for us. Love God by sacrificing time and money to go where He has called. Being “on mission” with your child enables you to see them in a whole new light. You see the talents and abilities that God has given them. Knowing these strengths, you can look for opportunities to serve based on their giftedness. Remember when we are on missions with our kids sometimes we need to step back and let them lead. Let the Holy Spirit speak to them and don’t interfere. Many times God uses our kids to teach others and US!

Thank you Angela for your wisdom and encouragement to raise our kiddos to be World Changers who love JESUS and love others and for sharing your most recent journey with Sierra!

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On Mission

leaving them behind…

I don’t really like the title… but I can’t seem to get that phrase out of my head. Because that is what I did… and I did it on purpose and because God had called my hubby and I to do just that…

Last May, we had an incredible opportunity to head to the Middle East to share and encourage refugees. We obviously couldn’t take our oldest child with us who was just two years old at the time for various reasons. I was twenty weeks pregnant with our youngest, so I like to laugh and say that she’s already been overseas. After weeks of going back and forth, asking God what He wanted us to do, We made the really difficult decision to leave Ivey behind with our family and GO! But yet – it really wasn’t all that difficult of a decision and we really didn’t leave her behind… Ivey went with us as we prepared, as we were gone, and now as we have been back for at least a year.

As we prepared, we shared with Ivey about what we would be doing (in words that she would understand such as telling our friends around the world about Jesus, encouraging people who are really sad, etc.). We didn’t shy away or hide it from her. We also prepared her by preparing fun things for her while we were gone. We made a paper chain for her to take a day off each  night – helping her see when we would be back. We bought little presents like a book about loving her and her favorite Disney princess coloring book and stickers. We asked her grandparents to give her those items on certain days.

As we were gone, we made sure to call back and check in as we were able. Sadly, Ivey got pretty sick with a stomach bug so during one of our facetime chats, she literally vomited right in front of us… It left me with such a feeling of helplessness and distance I will never forget as a mama. But it also taught me more than I could have ever imagined! I was reminded in the distance and helplessness that we gave Ivey back to God a long time ago and HE takes care of her far better than I ever could! I had to be reminded that His promise applies across the miles…

As we have returned, we continue to remember our time in the Middle East – not daily and maybe not even weekly at this point – but she still remembers and talks about how “mommy and daddy went to share with others about Jesus.” We brought her home a few little goodies from our time there and we continue to pray for those that we met while visiting these sweet people.

Was it hard to leave Ivey for two weeks ?  More than these words can express…

Was it worth it?  More than you will ever know…

Our child saw us obeying Christ’ commands to GO. She saw that we had no fear in obedience. We pray that she realizes that although we love her to the moon and back, we love Christ more. We pray that she one day realizes and remembers that Christ’ mission is much bigger than her and us and our family…

You may have the opportunity to go – and while I’m a HUGE fan of just bringing the littles ones along with us, sometimes it’s just not possible and God calls us to obedience anyway.  Will you GO? Will you OBEY? Sometimes God calls us to obedience as a model for our children and when they see us doing what He’s commanded, they will want to obey Him one day too…

Iveywelcomehome
The sweetest moment was seeing this beautiful sweet face when we returned home…

 

Blog, Mission Ideas, Uncategorized

Idea: Saving for Going

When we were expecting our first little one, I began to pray for his or her very first mission trip, and began to look for ways to prepare as a parent for sending our child on their first trip. Of course I also pray for salvation and for other important discipleship essentials too; but I want to be intentional about preparing and guiding our children to be on mission. And I want to be prepared!! I don’t want to be caught off guard when in 15 years (when Ivey will be 18) she comes to her daddy and I and asks us to go somewhere international to share Jesus. It can be expensive if you haven’t prepared!

I also have a really silly love for all things “globes” and so I began to hunt for the perfect vintage world bank that we could begin to use for our little one to save money in. Now anytime Ivey gets any money, whether its change that she swipes from her Nana’s house or money that we give her for cleaning the table after dinner, or sweet friends who give her little gifts (you know who you are!) it goes in her world bank. She’s got quite the little stash going…As she gets older, we will explain what that money is for and how we pray that she will use it. She can then decide what future money she wants to put in to her world bank and what money she wants to spend on little toys that really have no eternal kingdom purpose (that’s just my opinion… hahaha)

How are you expecting, planning, and preparing to send your children on mission? Have you opened up a savings account? Will you help pay for them to go on their first mission trip? There are lots of ways to prepare even now with our littles!  As mama’s lets be diligent to pray, plan, and prepare and trust that God will call and send them!