While praying and thinking about what I would focus on this Monday for "The Update", I thought I would share a frequent topic of my prayer life...
In preparing for the mission field in Africa, I have natural curiosities, concerns, wonders, but more on my mind is not where I (we!) will be going, but who may not be.
We have 5 children and the two oldest are now 16 and 13. If we follow our expected time line, O. will be 20 and J. will be 17- plenty old enough to make some life choices for themselves. Understandably they would be very burdened to live "home" in the states without their parents, but I know several families where this has been the exact case. One of my best friends growing up was "head of her household" at 17 when her parents went to the mission field. This is my biggest concern! I know God had all of this in his mind, and has actually seen the future as past, but that still doesn't stop this mothers heart from praying-praying-praying!
When we took our trip to Zambia last November, we brought these two children along. The sole reason for their going, was to whet their appetite for the field. They both loved the whole experience, and actually cannot wait to go back. I have asked them both for at least one year with us on the field. Put off college, ministry at Encounter, marriage (?!), and plan to be with us our first year on the field. They have both agreed... for now!
I realize much can and does change in the lives of our children. I sometimes wish God called us (or we heeded the call?) when our children were very small like JulieMom. I don't question the plan of God- I just don't understand His big plan. (I know, I am not supposed to... ) I realize also that God may give us great peace about leaving them here for something we may not even see right now! This is my most frequent prayer about our ministry as missionaries. We should not neglect our family- this is our first ministry! I know God is faithful and has it all in the palm of his hand. I just pray my children develop a great trust for Him, and a tender spirit to His leading.
Some prayer requests!!
~ For our children to walk in truth and wisdom, and the salvation of the younger kids
~ That we as parents will live our lives joy filled and above reproach before our children
~ That God would go before and prepare the way for our children if they are in the US without us
~For continued direction about our field
p.s. As an irony in the whole thing... We are invited to a big family picnic today. (Not our blood family, we have been adopted by them!) D. has to work- no surprise Mr. Retail Job man that he is. But O. and J. were at the last minute invited to a Red Wings game with friends... for free! Of course they are going! ... That leaves me and the three little ones at the picnic. I think God knows I need a long preparation time, and does it slowly enough that I hardly realize it! He is SO GOOD!