Last week I shared some of my thoughts concerning our new life in a new place- physically as well as emotionally, and possibly spiritually- and my feelings on missionaries, a heart for missionaries, and a heart for The Mission. Today’s post is a continuation of that discussion. I hope you join in by leaving a comment.
My Sweetie and I believe in training up our children based on Biblical principles in the Word of God. For the last fifteen years, this has meant sheltering our kids more than most, even more than most of our Christian friends. It has meant that we do not expose them to lifestyles we believe are against Scripture and sinful until they are teenagers. We want to fill them with truth before exposing them to lies.
We still believe this.
Yet… we are no longer in the Bible Belt. Not by a long shot, actually.
Our new life has placed us in a new environment and it has me very uncomfortable, honestly. As I struggle with how to handle some things, that conversation I shared last week (“How would you handle this if you were a missionary, like you want?”) keeps popping into my mind, plus this:
“If everyone raised their family like you have believed is ‘right’, who could be missionaries?”
The only answer I could come up with was: only those with no children in the home. Single people, couples who do not have children, couples whose children are near adulthood, and couples whose children have left the nest.
As I mentally stared and stared at my answer, I was stumped. That just didn’t seem to be right.
Should these be the only types of people to be missionaries to a fallen culture?
Should Christian families choose only to live in cities/neighborhoods/cultures that are not blatantly sinful?
Should Christian families keep their children “inside the hut” if they find themselves in a culture that defies godly living?
My Sweetie and I want to live out Scripture. We want to teach our children what love looks like, what purpose looks like, what evangelizing looks like, and what grace looks like.
I’m no longer sure that only means “keeping them always in the hut”. While I don’t believe it means they can be lights on their own, I wonder if it means My Sweetie and I are supposed to show them what it looks like to be lights more. Can they see that if they are in the “hut”?
I imagine My Sweetie and I carrying a torch and having our children join us in that endeavor. I pray someday they will each be torch bearers, so that means they need our example of carrying a torch through darkness.
I’m pretty stinkin uncomfortable right now because the lines we’ve had are being moved.
I realized that we have been called to the mission field. The mission field of New Mexico. Every question I have about raising our children is now sifted through the question, “How would Christ ask you to handle this if you were on the foreign mission field?”
I honestly don’t think the foreign mission field is different than the American mission field. I can’t find any Scriptural support for foreign missionaries getting special favor or that they should behave differently than the rest of us.
We still believe that our children need to know Truth first and foremost. We still believe that we are to protect their innocence as long as possible. We still believe that they are children and therefore not called to be lights on their own.
We also are seeing that some lies have to be explained at an earlier age if you don’t live in the Bible Belt and you want to be a light to the lost around you versus keeping your light at home. We also see that while I’ve always, always believed “love the sinner, hate the sin”, sometimes your action needs to prove that. We also see that different cultures demand different types of evangelism.
I’d like to hear your thoughts. I know this is different than I’ve thought for many years, so it could be challenging to some of you. For others, this is how you’ve viewed living out your faith the whole time.
We are praying like crazy, seeking counsel from those we trust, and searching God’s Word. This mental shift is huge for us and we covet your prayers.
Do you see how this is all connected to the missionary mindset? As I consider how to handle a particular situation, I ask myself, “Would the Sissons in Papua New Guinea not enter the home of an animal worshiper?” and “Would the Lundsfords in Ethiopia refuse to allow their family to have dinner in the home of a polygamist?”
I try to see these situations from a missionary mindset and I keep coming back to the answer, “Prove you love them by befriending them. Prove you love them by building a relationship. Prove you love them by sharing the Truth with them when you are led, asked, or forced.”
Our faith is not hidden. Those who are getting to know us, know we are Christians. It’s also a little obvious that we are conservative. It is probably more than assumed how we believe on particular topics, but it remains to be seen how we will treat others who disagree with us on these issues.
Is that more of what missionaries deal with? I bet so.
I want to be a godly torchbearer and I want my kids to see what that looks like in real life.
Have you thought through these issues?
Even more next week. Including Scriptural support.