Recently I asked my children what they thought was the best and worst part of being a missionary. We live in a modern European city, not a third world country. We live in a beautiful duplex that is heated in the winter.....and in the summer. We can shop in modern stores full of choices......but they don't compare to Wal-Mart, Target, or JCPenny. McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Starbucks are here......and are considered luxuries for us. We really do have to walk a mile uphill to get to church!! (Just remembering all the stories that Dad told us) So we do have our share of things that are different, strange, and difficult for us. Here's what they thought, straight from their mouths, unedited (well, I had to translate the 2 year old's words for you):
7 year old: The best part is telling others about Jesus, and seeing new places; the worst is traveling on airplanes because they make my ears hurt.
6 year old: The best part is meeting new people, learning a new language, telling others about Jesus, and hotels with swimming pools; the worst is getting kicked out of your country for no good reason, and hotels with no swimming pools.
4 year old: The best part is playing in the snow, playing in the backyard, digging holes in the backyard (she's been trying to find the mole), Christmas time, and ice cream (Hungarian ice cream!) The worst part is I don't like dangers or walking up steep hills.
2 year old: He likes the ice cream too, and the kokoszgolyo (chocolate Hungarian dessert) The worst part is when mommy washes my special blanket and I have to wait for it, and I don't get to see my grandparents!!
Mission work is obviously important to us, but the children don't always think about us being different because we are missionaries. God in His mercy and grace called us to move to a different country, and we have humbly tried to follow. We are ordinary people. We didn't coax or persuade the mission board to send us, or pretend that we were already perfect. God knew our weaknesses and our strengths. God simply opened the doors, made all the arrangements, and in HIS miraculous timing put us in Hungary. Everyday we talk with our children about why we are here and pray for opportunities....and all is normal to them. This is just life!
We are trying to teach our children that to follow God means to put your life alongside Him, which means you follow him wherever He leads, and obey what He tells you to do. Elizabeth recently wrote me a note which said, "Dear Mom, I will go to Africa when I am grown up." She then said she would bring me back a present! Joshua loves reading about China, and wants to go there one day as a missionary.
As a family we have enjoyed watching Kids On Mission DVDs that we packed in our crate when we moved here. That has been a great resource to see how other missionaries live and work all over the world. We also love to read books and watch films about missionaries - Hudson Taylor, Gladys Alyward, Amy Carmichael, George Muller, Jim Elliot, and of others who dared to follow Christ, like Corrie Ten Boom and William Tyndale. We also read from You Can Change the World (the children's version of Operational World) to understand how to pray for different people groups around the world. We play on the Wonderzone website where the kids can read biographies of people and Bible characters.......and be inspired to be a change agent in this world. My purpose in all this is to be intentional about teaching our children. Sometimes the very things you think you value the most can get overlooked, because they really don't assume a place of priority in our lives. The majority of our time and energy is spent on things that are important to us. Missions isn't a Wednesday night program for us. It's 24/7, living, breathing, struggling, worshiping, praying, and following Jesus one day at a time.
Labels: Life at Home in Hungary