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This is what I should’ve done

March 29th, 2011

You might have noticed that I am a big fan of Family Life. That’s because the President and host of the radio program, Dennis Rainey raised 6 children. And anyone who has raised 6 successful children is someone to whom I pay close attention. So I am going to quote him again today.

I read this from the Family Life email that comes to my mailbox daily. If there is anything I regret with my children, it is what Dennis’ wife talks about here that I did not do with my children. I wish I had taken my children on a mission trip when they were young.

“From early on, Dennis and I let our children know that God had a special mission for their lives. We explained that He had gifted them with abilities, personality and other qualities that were tailor-made to help them accomplish His plan. We also taught them that the Great Commission — found in Matthew 28:19-20 — applied not just to grown-ups but also to children.

Granted, there are many local opportunities available to put these principles into practice. Church outreaches. Homeless shelters. Nursing-home visitation. Foster care. But to really cement this calling in an iron-clad, unforgettable way, nothing beats the value of a short-term mission trip. It moves them out of their comfort zones — us, too! — and shows them the real need that others have for Christ.

I remember taking our three youngest daughters on a two-week mission to Russia. We joined a group of 400 men, women and children who gathered in Moscow to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of children there. We went by the busload to schools, orphanages and family centers, distributing boxes of food, medicine, clothing and books.

Our girls were able to hand out Bibles and good-news bracelets everywhere we went. Two of them gave a gospel presentation through an interpreter. Children born and bred in the heart of Arkansas developed a love for people a world away, putting names and faces and hugs and handshakes onto what was once just another dot on a map.

Whatever the risk, whatever the cost, these are eternal investments in the lives of your children, helping them taste both the sacrifice and the joy of being a missionary. They will never forget it.”

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