When our little one, Anna Laura, was only 6 months old, she took her first mission trip to Kenya to work in the villages where our ministry is serving. I can not tell you how many people were shocked and concerned that I would even consider taking her “there.” My response was, “Why wouldn’t I?” God called me to be a missionary before He brought Anna into my life. How could I even dare tell God, “Sorry, I know you called me to serve “the least of these” in Kenya, but now that I have a little one, I’m just not going to be able to do that anymore.” To me, it only made sense to take her with us.
And when we got to the village and they saw that we had brought our infant with us, they told us, “Whatever you have to say must be very important because you risked bringing your child with you.” Anna was able to open more doors for us to share the gospel in one visit than we would’ve ever imagined!
We took her back in 2012, when she was 1-1/2, which only solidified our commitment to the people in that village. She has also been to Zambia, Malawi, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Russia, and more! Everywhere I went, she went. In fact before she was two years old Anna had been on more than 75 flights! To me, it’s just normal to take her with me. Of course, I take all necessary precautions ~ make sure she’s up-to-date on all her vaccinations, put mosquito netting over her pack-n-play, use bottled water and dish soap to clean her bottles, etc. And I usually travel to a country first before I consider taking her with us, just so I am fully aware of the danger level (if any), the surroundings, travel and housing arrangements, etc.
I would never put my child in immediate danger, but I would also never deny her the opportunity to change the world either. If you have hesitated taking your children on a foreign mission trip, I would challenge you to evaluate why. Is it that you don’t think they’re “ready?” Or maybe you think its “dangerous?” I’m not suggesting that you to take them to Iraq or Afghanistan… there are many safe places that children can go to participate in sharing the gospel with a lost nation. And you never know how their presence will affect the mission. Just like Anna, your children may be the ones that can reach someone who no else can! Trust God to protect them and just say yes! You have a great opportunity to not only teach your children to be appreciative for what they have and where they live, but more importantly, to love and respect those who are different from them.
Teach them, by example, how to obey The Lord’s command to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. Maybe, just maybe, whenever an opportunity to take your children on mission presents itself, it is a personal invitation from God to trust Him and to watch Him work in their lives. Don’t miss it… and don’t let them miss it either. You’ll both be glad you went!
Here at The Narrow Lens, I like to show how things can be viewed from different perspectives. So sometimes at the end of a post I will reveal two viewpoints (wide angle and narrow) and the "Focal Point" of the post.
The Wide Angle View (view of most people): Taking children on mission is something only “real missionaries” do.
The Narrow Lens View (my view): Taking children on mission can change their lives forever, and quite possibly, the lives of those you serve.
The Focal Point ~ Trust God to protect your children regardless of where He calls you to go, even if it’s just across the street ~ but be willing to go across the globe too. My favorite mission statement: Be willing to go, but ready to stay… and be willing stay, but ready to go.
Written By: Kimberly Bradley
At The Narrow Lens I'm learning to look at life a little differently. All of us can look at the same situation yet see something completely different. My website is all about helping us learn to see things from another perspective so we can find the true focus in life~ Jesus. The wife of a Mission Pastor and mother of three (24, 22, and 4) I'm passionate about encouraging women on this journey called life and through our love of missions I write on faith, family, fun and photography, hoping to show them how to live life a little differently.