Some of the biggest and best lessons I have learned are from the boy God added to our family almost 14 years ago.
One of those lessons happened during our church missions emphasis seven years ago. Its memory still blesses and challenges me.
The kids in our church were invited to "Journey to China" as part of that missions weekend. Three lay people who had been there as volunteer missionaries came to share with our kids. My prayer for the night was that they would speak clearly and that the kids would be attentive and open to God's Spirit. I also prayed that God would call out a missionary from the kids that night. While I knew in my heart that God could do and wanted to do just that, I knew in my head that it was Friday night - you know, the “end-of-a-full-week-at-school and not-a-good-time-to-sit-and-be-quiet" time of the week.
As I toured the rotations, I saw what I expected...kids with ants in their pants and lots of pent-up energy. Of course I paid special attention to my own child. The most I really hoped for from him was that he might remember a few facts about China and maybe just enjoy being at church with his friends.
What happened though was not at all what I expected. Here’s our chat on the way home….
Me (asking every mom’s favorite question): What did you learn tonight?
Him (after a long minute of silence): I heard the voice of God tonight.
Me (calm and oh so cool): Oh really? What did He say?
Him: Go tell the Word to the world.
Me (in my teacher voice): What do you think that means?
Him (very slowly so I don’t miss a word): Go tell the Word to the world.
Me: Like be a missionary?
Him: Yeah, but I’m not so sure about Asia yet.
Me: Well, you know you can be a missionary right where you are.
And then I knew that it was time for me to be quiet. God moments require time to think and you can't think if your momma keeps asking all kinds of questions.
The next day he asked what could have been mistaken as a random question. "Momma, when are you going on your next trip?" I told him I had a trip to Louisiana coming up soon. "No. Your next trip to another country to tell people about Jesus. I need to go, too." My momma reply: "You are too young to go to another country.” His words: "God didn't put any ages on who can tell the Word to the World."
Touché'! I made that conversation brief by telling him I had no plans to go anywhere soon.
The next day was Sunday. At the global missions fair, he fell in love with China. In fact, at one point I could not find him. I searched and others helped. Guess where we found him? In the ”China" room, asking questions, eating rice, and sipping hot tea. On the ride home that night he said, "Did you know China is in Asia?” Then he added, “It's not so bad.”
As we end a month of missions emphasis, I am praying that God will speak loudly into the hearts of our kids. I am praying for more than one of them to know that God is calling them to the world. I am praying that from our kids will rise up men and women who are bold, confident, and fearless in proclaiming the Word. And I am praying that I do not hinder a one of them.
By the way, he went on his first trip “to the world” when he was 11. And I am so glad to say that that trip did not satisfy his longing to “tell the Word.” It only served to whet his appetite for more!
So now I’ll be searching for cheap tickets.. but you better believe I'll be buying two. I have to go, too….not to protect him, but to learn from him!