My daughter is about to take the gospel to the other side of the world.
It takes courage to say that. This is a father’s dream and nightmare. The world she is leaving behind is far different from the world she is about to walk into. And, I won’t be there to help.
She is a preteen missionary … to Africa.
It’s not child abuse. It’s child rearing. She is not alone. My wife is joining her as well as some very capable folks from the church. But this doesn’t mean that it will be easy by any stretch. The flight alone is long enough to make most people crumble. She is going to a region that is far below the standards of American living. It is largely muslim, unreached, and unloved.
So, I’m leaning into the Lord. He is always faithful. He told Joshua, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Josh. 1:5). Joshua banked on it. The Israelites banked on it. The writer of Hebrews banked on it, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). I’m banking on it, too.
My prayers will consist of the usual things—strength for their journey, revival in their lands, gospel opportunities, clarity of speech, protection from danger, favor with the people, adjustments to the cultures, rest from their work, and more. I pray these things for all of them on the trip. But, as a father, I’m leaning into God for a few particular things on behalf of my daughter. She may be going empty handed, but she will not return empty hearted.
Foreign mission trips involve separation from the comforts of “usual life” behind us. We have to let things go—particularly things under our control. These trips put us in a vulnerable state whereby we must lean on our Lord for everything. So I’m praying Psalm 73:28, “But for me, it is good to be near God.” I want my daughter to experience a deep sense of God’s nearness. With all the distractions behind her, she can easily dwell in the presence of the Lord. He will be all she has.
We often forget the importance of the Gospel. It not only save us, but sanctifies us. It is for life. It carries us to the cross, then it carries us into heaven. This is because the Gospel is the gift of God to us. He, giving Himself for us so that we can have Him. Having the Gospel is having God. While my daughter is sharing the gospel with others through pictures and stories, I pray that she will experience the gospel in action—working and renewing hearts, alive and powerful—so that she return with a refreshed love for God.
As Christ followers, His mission is our mission. We are to submit to Christ as “wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Eph. 5:23-24). Our purpose is summed up in the purpose of Christ. This is easily forgotten here in America. So I also pray that my daughter will have a renewed vision for the lost—to see them as Christ sees them, to have compassion, show mercy, and eagerly share the gospel with them.
My daughter’s safety is important to me. But, I don’t want this trip to be wasted on the comforts she can have here at home. My prayers are for her joy and God’s glory. I want her to leave home empty handed, but return home full hearted. God can do it. He is faithful. He loves her. I’m leaning into Him.