In 2002, as we prepared to take our family to Tobago, situations arose that required us to us raise partial support for that mission trip. We weren’t too excited about the prospect. In fact, we considered not even going if we were going to have to raise support. Actually, that’s fairly humorous when you consider that we’re doing ministry development full time now! But God had a lesson for our family to learn.
As people supported us, our family would pray for them. We’d then discuss the role of stewardship with our sons, Garrett and Jordan. Conversations focused on how we were accountable to God and our ministry partners as to how wisely we ministered with the resources provided.
Well, our boys must have grasped the stewardship principle because the following summer when we arrived in Swaziland, they carne face-to-face with a choice. Prior to leaving, they were asked to prepare their testimonies to share at schools, which they did.
Shortly after arriving, they were told they were to give their testimonies the next day at church. Looks of panic and fear gripped their faces, and they firmly replied, “No.” Andreas and I then calmly informed them that we understood their fear (we felt the same way) and that if they didn’t feel ready that it was alright. However, we would have to pack our bags, fly home, and return the money to our ministry partners. As they reflected on their choices, they recalled our discussions about accountability for resources provided. Although they felt uncomfortable and insecure, they chose to do what they were asked to do. As parents, we truly felt for them, but we didn’t want to miss this teaching opportunity. Fortunately, the foundation had been laid during the previous trip and they stepped out in faith (and fear.)
Taking this difficult step was powerful in their lives. You may recall a picture from our ministry pamphlet of Jordan, at age nine, sharing his testimony with more than 700 school children and teachers! What a wonderful lesson for our boys to learn that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (Phil. 4:13). lt is our desire that families who minister with us on short-term mission trips will have similar teaching opportunities with their children!