SPIRIT TRAINING: Connecting to the Community

Bustling around to get every task complete really was a way of life, especially when company was coming! Life with our six children was full of activity—eventful, engaging, and exuberant! But on this particular morning, my “to do” list looked like it was going to win over my “got done” list! I was preparing our home, cleaning and cooking, for we were to have the great delight of having to dinner a missionary couple, Rob and Deborah Knight.

One way that we connected our kids not only to the community but to God’s purpose, is that each one had a missionary that was his own. Praying, saving change, learning about that country, each one had a vested interest in one particular thing God was doing. Whenever possible we would connect with that individual or family to build a friendship, a relationship.

So here I was…about 10:00 in the morning getting ready to wash the floor. Of course I hadn’t showered yet because I was scrubbing and cleaning….no make up, old clothes. Furniture moved out…check…mop and bucket….check. Unexpectedly, the doorbell rang. “Who could that be?” I wondered as I quickly went to the door, not even stopping to drop the mop. There to my amazement was our dinner guest! I began to awkwardly bumble something about the time, and weren’t they supposed to come for dinner, and I wasn’t ready yet for them yet!

Well, this was one of my lessons in Kingdom hospitality. Yes, preparation is important, but people are more important. As missionaries, Rob and Deborah’s time was really not their own, especially in the states when they were touching base with so many supporters. Their time slot for our family was changed, and this is when they could come.

Deborah graciously took the mop from me as she was explaining the situation. What an unexpected day….we cooked and cleaned together, ate an early dinner, and learned a valuable lesson.

Rob and Deborah were Will’s missionaries, but we were all blessed. Dinnertime was rich. We heard first hand about our loving God reaching out to an unknown people. We connected, in a small but vital way, with Jesus’ own mission—to seek and to save the lost and we were intentionally developing relationships between my children and people of faith, people of strength, in the church community.

Gathered tips on connecting our kids to the community:

Marnie McCollum (B’ham, AL) says to take your kids overseas, if the Lord opens doors. . .you’ll never regret it. Marv Behr (Big Sandy, TX) encourages us to “get children involved in ministry with you, i.e., go to a nursing home once a week” or something like that. Ed and Kelly Goodwin started inter-generational relationships for their kids when they were small. Through the years they involved their adult friends in their children’s lives. An example? When their son turned 16, one man picked him up for lunch then relayed the son to another man who had planned a fun activity; after that, a third man took him for a treat. Each man took opportunity to share his heart with the son. That evening, they all celebrated his 16th birthday together. Quote from Alfred Tennyson: “I am part of all that I have met.”

Question for next week: How do you train your kids for the long haul in their use of money?