My kids, at 5, 4, and 2, are too young, I’ve been informed, to go on a Missions Trip.
Ell. Oh. Ell.
First I gotta say, I use the term “missions trip” pretty loosely. That term carries lots of connotations depending on who you talk to. I’m not interested in my kids going to a foreign country for a week and loving people under the condition that they start thinking and acting like they do. It’s just not my cup of tea.
I am, however, interested in gently and quietly stepping into another culture and learning from people who are different than I am and allowing my kids to serve others but also be served. Humbly. I’m interested in getting dirty and asking questions and risking my bank account and learning from other moms across the globe and sharing some pain and finding some healing. Together. And I am interested in sharing the Hope I have because I HAVE been through some stuff and I DO have a relationship with The One who Heals no matter your culture or history. He is Jewish. For the record. Not white. And certainly not rich. (Except that He owns everything. But he was also born in a barn and buried in a borrowed grave. He’s so counter everything! I love Him! 🙂 ).
So they’re simple minded, these kiddos of mine, eating the same sandwich every day and happily content coloring and glittering pictures for friends’ birthdays. They ask, on average, 4856 questions a day. And they laugh non stop. They carry on conversations with strangers in the grocery store and compliment backpackers on their dred locks. Yeah, they definitely know nothing about happiness or joy or learning or how to assimilate.. (Which would get most of us off to a great start on our missions trips!) pfff.
Better to stifle them until they are twelve and then teach them — if they’re even interested by that point– to be socially loving and accepting “the right way.”
Yeah Right!!! My kiddos *are* little missionaries. Heck my kiddos are big missionaries. Miss Mabel even said so.
Ohhh Miss Mabel! By the time we met Sweet Miss Mabel, she was running our church food pantry. Every single day. She’d run all over town in her gold minivan picking up donations of bread, milk, eggs, fresh produce, and anything else you can think of. Then she’d pass it out to people as they needed, making sure no one in our community was hungry. That’s a big job.
And she didn’t cringe as she let my kids “help” her. She didn’t follow them around fixing everything they did and sighing at the extra work. No. they’d bring their little boxes of pasta roni and their little dried beans and Miss Mabel would stop everything to be with them. She’d shuffle them to the back room and let them painstakingly unload and sort groceries. My 3 and 4 year old! They’d pick out food from a box of donations and she’d coach them as they found the rightful spot on the shelf. She always took time for my kids, making sure they got to serve even if it meant slowing down big time. She never told them they were doing anything wrong.
In fact, quite the opposite! She told them they were missionaries.
And even though it wasn’t perfect, she saw the relationship with them first. She saw the sparkle in their eyes that, if stifled, would never return. She saw that they, too, could look like Jesus and that Jesus in fact commanded that the little children be allowed to be with him and what was He always doing? Serving, talking, listening, praying, walking, fishing, synagoguing, or otherwise kicking it with people. For shame if our kids aren’t allowed to do the same things.
Miss Mabel knew that Jesus did one of his biggest miracles with the help of a little boy and a basket of fish and bread! What if Jesus’ friends would have been successful in keeping the little boy away? Be lots of hungry people and an empty couple of chapters in our Bibles.
So I for one am over it. Done with red tape. We can offer what we do have, and that’s some lunch. Er… dessert. Kiddos are doing their OWN missions trip.
We are baking cookies and selling them and the money goes to the Unforgotten Project. It’s a project near and dear to our hearts, founded by a friend a few years ago. This project works to provide SUSTAINABLE aid to the people of Lastic, Haiti, focusing on education among other real needs like water security. One day, the people of Lastic won’t need Unforgotten Project because they will be self sufficient — the sign of a real good nonprofit with the people of Lastic, not the nonprofit, at the center.
So last time we did this, we got about a dozen four year olds together and baked up a storm. Probably made 200 cookies. And raised $245! Enough to send TWO KIDS TO SCHOOL FOR A YEAR.
My kids are too little to live missionally? Take that, nay sayers!!
This year, we are doing it again. Bigger. More cookies. More chocolate chips. More four year olds. More two year olds. More boogers. But still in our quiet little kitchen where we don’t need a permission slip or a passport or a high five.
Because my kids aren’t going to change the world. They already did for two little kids in Haiti. Not just that, but they roped in a dozen other families who are now aware of Unforgotten Project and the great work it is doing.
And so in the memory of Miss Mabel and with the power of the Christ who fed 5,000 families with the only thing a little boy had to offer — some lunch — we’ll bake these cookies until we have no more clean clothes 🙂 And pray that they will be used for far more than we could ask or imagine.