I am so glad that God recently connected me to Carmen Lowery, a young mom in our church. I was overjoyed to find that while others were shopping, eating, and relaxing over the Christmas holiday, she took her boys on a mission trip to Guatemala. The Bible instructs parents to, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).” I firmly believe that the best thing we can do for our children is live the gospel in front of them and encourage their participation in ministry (not just church activities) in a practical way. We should fully engage our children in the gospel. Let us share in Carmen’s story:
Nothing pleases God more than when we actually become doers of His Word and not hearers only, especially when it comes to our children. So when our family was asked to join a mission team to work at a Christian children’s home in Guatemala, we knew God was clearly opening a door for us to show our children how to love others in word and deed. One of the prayers I have for my for boys is Colossians 1:9 -10…that God would fill them “with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” so that they may “live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…” One quality I want to instill in them more than anything is giving because it is a natural response to knowing Christ which allows others to see Him in us. We want our children to become generous givers so others will see Christ in them!
Our trip to Guatemala gave us a new perspective on giving, that’s for sure…as well as instilled a deeper understanding of God’s purpose for giving within our children! On the first day, we visited a rural school and distributed bags filled with school supplies and a new Bible to over 100 children. Giving was tangible to this poor community. Giving filled a need, physically and spiritually. Giving drew children together from different backgrounds, cultures, and social classes. Giving brought the name of Jesus to a small, poor town in Guatemala that needs Him as much as each of us does!
One of our objectives for the week was to organize and assemble presents for 80 kids that live at the children’s home. Each child would receive a new pair of shoes, new jeans, one new toy, and some candy. Assembling this package made us realize that we give entirely too much to our own children. This trip helped us see the impact we can have on so many more lives, if we lived with less so we could have more to give away. Giving brought joy, excitement, and gratefulness to the faces of these children when they opened their gifts!
My biggest impression of the trip was seeing my children interact so freely with the Guatemalan children. They didn’t care about the language barrier. They didn’t care about the way they looked. My kids didn’t care about any of the differences between them and the Guatemalan children. They just played, laughed, and worked alongside them because they saw the Guatemalan children as people. And that’s what giving does… giving breaks down barriers so that we see people the way God sees them and love them the way God loves them!
Obviously it doesn’t take an international missions trip to teach our children to become doers of the Word…but it certainly allowed God to prepare our hearts to hear His will for our lives more clearly! May we all be obedient in teaching our children the ways of the Lord so they will know how to live a life worthy and pleasing to Him!
Thank you, Natasha, and to God be the glory for the great things He has done and continues to do in and through the lives of His people!
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In what ways can you engage a child (any child) to practically live out the gospel?
© Natasha L. Robinson 2011