By Stephanie Rottier
YWAM Turner Valley is sending a Family Outreach team to Southeast Asia this December. This outreach team consists of four of our base families, totalling eight adults and twelve children! We are very excited to see what God does in & through our youngest missionaries. As this post shows, our kids are already wrestling with what it means to have God’s heart for the nations.
A few weeks ago, I was driving to Okotoks with my nine-year-old daughter, Maggie. We were just having a normal chat about money and her dreams of one day owning a big house where we can have lots of rooms for all our friends to come and stay, and all of the things she would like to have.
As a family in missions, we often have discussions about money, and how we can’t afford the kinds of things other kids have. We talk about how God takes care of us, so it will all be okay. Then we usually try to list a few of the amazing ways God has come through for us in the past, and how we don’t always get exactly what we want, but we always get what we need. This particular day, I said we probably won’t be able to afford to buy our own house, but God had provided us with a really great home. Maggie was a little upset by this.
“Sometimes I worry that we will be poor and homeless and that we will be starving,” she said.
“Honey, God will always take care of us,” I explained, “he always has and he promises he always will, so please don’t worry about things like that. Just put your faith in God, that he will do what he says he will do.”
It was at this moment that she burst into tears, saying, “God doesn’t take care of the poor people around the world – what about those people in South East Asia that don’t have places to live or good jobs? What about the orphans who don’t have parents?” By this point she was nearly hysterical, her soft precious heart breaking in front of me.
This is a hard question to answer. I don’t know if there is a real answer. But even that concept is hard to explain to a nine-year-old who is hysterical.
“Lord, help me in this moment!” I thought as I considered this…I thought about those orphans, and their quality of life, and how much our kids have in comparison – and as tears welled in my eyes, I said, “Well, honey, he does take care of them. That is why he is sending us…”
Why do we do missions? Why do we spend money to go to other nations? What does that accomplish? I do wrestle with this as a missionary. I do worry that I look like a white privileged westerner trying to force my “correct opinion” on other nations. But my daughter’s question really made me think about the heart and the root of what we do. (Side note: this is something I love about being a mom…to simplify a message down to its bare bones so a child will understand it is so often more profound than coming up with a detailed complicated explanation.) In explaining to Maggie how God uses us to show the people we meet how much Jesus loves them, and how they might not ever hear that if we don’t go, and how being obedient to our calling as a family in missions is so important, God really worked in my own heart. God showed me that we do something important when we take our time, money, and family to teach English to orphans in Southeast Asia, and to love them with a deeper love than they experience from strangers, because God loves them. That makes all the “money problem” conversations easier… because we know that God loves us. He will provide, even if it isn’t a house with six bedrooms. And he loves the orphans in Southeast Asia, and we are so looking forward to showing them that.
If you would like to learn more about family outreach and the miraculous ways God has already provided, please get in touch with us here (ywamturnervalley.org/contact/).