But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me,
it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
“Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a missionary,” my 11 year old daughter firmly stated, as she thumbed through a beautiful book from her Aunty Kate. The book showed how children lived throughout the world, in various countries with different ethnic backgrounds and a wide array of life differences. The pages popped with beautiful colours and attractive scenes, along with wonderful testimonies of how children around the world have been changed and helped through the aid of others. Indeed, it pulled on the heartstrings of our hearts as we read it.
I smiled and said, “That would be wonderful, Lyla. Please, take me with you!”
I remember very distinctly feeling the same way as a child – my heart yearned to be a missionary overseas! I wanted to be work in an orphanage so badly … to travel to Africa … to sail the seas (or rather, fly over the seas) and visit foreign lands, hold little sweet children on my lap and tell them about Jesus. In grade 3, I began telling everyone that did not know about Jesus that He had come to save them from their sins. I remember taking a little Bible to school and “witnessing” and coming home and telling my mother about it in our small bungalow kitchen with the yellow flower wallpaper.
Now, years later, I read missionary biographies to my eight children and make meals upon meals upon meals day in and day out. My mission is different, but I do not begrudge these tasks. They are my mission in life right now and I am so thankful for this “job”.
Later that afternoon, after I finished preparing the night’s dinner meal, I sat down for a cup of tea and allowed my mind to wander to distant memories … when my husband and I were first married, the Lord opened doors and allowed us to go on a few mission trips -which were indeed life changing! We were blessed to travel to Africa and spend almost a month of our newly wed life helping a Salvation Army hospital. It was WONDERFUL. Absolutely wonderful. I loved, treasured and enjoyed every single minute of the trip. Later, I was able to travel to help at a women’s centre on the border of Haiti and the Dominican. It, too, was life changing.
Suddenly, the back door slammed.
I heard a little one call for me to come undo their skates – for the fourth time that afternoon. I entered the backroom and felt a brush of fresh air sweep across my face as the back door remained ajar. My short-dark haired daughter tromped across the mud room floor, leaving piles of snow tracks in her wake. Her cheeks were flushed bright pink and her eyes were sparkling.
“Did you see my skate’, mommy? I can go so fast!” she exclaimed with delight.
I bent down and asked God to give me eyes for the mission field right in front of me. Eight growing children and an energetic-changing home to run.
My mission field is my family now and I am aware, constantly, of this fact. If I have a heart for orphans and the children around the world, should I not be loving and sharing of my time with the little and big ones that God has placed right here in my heart and arms? Indeed.
Sometimes, we are unable to travel or visit foreign countries, but that should not stop us from being missionaries in our own small homes … in our own families …. to our own husbands and, yes, unto our little children.
While I may no longer be afforded the time or finances to travel overseas of visit faraway places, my heart knows that this mission, this little home, this family of mine, is just as precious. And as I mop up puddles of melted snow on the floor and prepare yet another meal to fill hungry bellies, my prayer will be to serve willingly and not begrudge all the little tasks that are before me – Lord, let me be a missionary in my own home – serving with humility and love.