What our Family Brought Home from A Mission Trip
Our family returned last week from an amazing trip serving alongside missionaries in Europe. We helped with a community outreach festival, building connections between a young church and the surrounding neighborhoods. For a few short days we were able to immerse in another culture where God is shining his light in the darkness.
On our trip we saw green, flowery landscapes and medieval architecture. We ate delicious food. We engaged with the cuteness and laughter of the children at the festival. We experienced friendship and warm hospitality. But with all of these gifts, one of the best was knowing our own kids in a new way. The mission trip revealed qualities in each of them we might have missed if we’d stayed home.
Kids are prayer warriors. Our kids prayed for dry weather. For health and safety. For rough patches to smooth out. For wi-fi service to restore. For enough hands to join in and handle the work. For God to speak on their prayer walks. Every prayer was answered—they saw God provide and heard their Shepherd’s voice. Our children’s prayers were heartfelt and their faith is real. They proved God hears and responds when they call on him.
Kids are brave. They gladly got on a plane despite more questions than answers about what the trip would hold. Our quiet introverts gave their energy and attention to strangers. They didn’t let the language barrier hold them back. They touched the faces and hands of little ones as they painted faces and fingernails. They stood up in front of classrooms to share about their lives. They walked and prayed in town, not sure if they might get lost. Our kids faced forward and took on whatever came their way.
Kids are tough. The week required miles of walking. Working in the heat. Fatigue and jet lag. Dealing with struggles and stressors. Submitting to others’ goals and plans. Through it all, not one word of complaining or arguing was spoken. Our kids showed a tenacity we’d never seen before. It gives us confidence they can respond to hard things in their future with courage and grace.
Kids are qualified. On this trip our daughters and son were not just our kids but our teammates too. They organized their packing and practiced their French. They helped set up, tear down, and serve in the booths at the festival. They kept to a schedule and kept extra eyes on their little brother. They looked for ways to be helpful. They listened to God and shared what he said. Each one was a true asset who stepped up to make themselves useful. They showed us the independent, capable people they’ve become.
Kids care. Their hearts were burdened for the souls of those around them. The missionaries we met described the lost, secularized culture. They shared the barriers to the gospel and the burdens the people carry without Jesus’ help. Coming from a city with a church on every corner, our kids recognized the painful absence of churches in that place. They recognized their role in God’s kingdom as his love-bearers to everyone. They want to be part of his plan to bring salvation to the world
We saw these qualities not just in our kids, but in the other children serving on the team. The opportunity to give of themselves brought out their best, revealing who God has created them to be. Going forward as parents, we’re challenged to keep it going. Our prayer is that our family—and yours!–will pursue giving, helping, and ministering to others every chance we get.