Fears and Families on Mission

“Why are you taking her? She won’t remember any of it. What if she doesn’t sleep on the plane? Aren’t you afraid of her getting sick?”

These are questions and statements we have heard numerous times since announcing we are taking our toddler overseas with us this month for a short-term missions trip. Our church has a partnership, through the International Mission Board, with a global city where my husband is leading our group. He went on a vision trip in April, and we agreed that when we went back, we would go as a family.

Little did we know that I would end up being 6 months pregnant when we go. But this isn’t the first time I have been pregnant in Asia. However, it is the first time I have been a mom with a toddler in Asia and pregnant at the same time.

Fear comes to us in hidden places. Am I looking forward to 27-plus hours of plane rides (just on the way over there)? Not really. Do I want my 22-month-old to get a virus I can barely pronounce because we brought her to Asia? Of course not.

But I also have other fears—fears that are easily covered in hope when I think of a life of obedience and sacrifice.

I have 2 hopes for my toddler:

  1. She gets out of her comfort zone to share the gospel. Our comfort zone can be something as large as our ethnographic area (the people who look and act like us and live near where we are). It can be as small as our comfort (or discomfort) on a plane ride or eating food we don’t necessarily like for a couple of weeks. Even as a toddler, who sometimes thinks the world revolves around her (but don’t we all at times?), we would like for her to be shown that temporary discomforts are just that: temporary. But getting outside of our comfort zone for the sake of others is worth it, and the eternal security of others knowing Christ is worth those temporary discomforts.
  2. She never knows a time in her life when she wasn’t helping her mom and dad share the gospel. We have found that one way we like to share the gospel is from family to family. My husband and I can go out and share the gospel, but our toddler seems to add a dimension that makes us more approachable and gives us credibility with other parents as we share. And for our toddler, she gets to help share the gospel over and over again, therefore hearing the gospel herself and helping those little seeds to be planted and watered in her over time. My ultimate prayer in this is that many (including my little girl) come to know Christ and accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

Are my others fears of sickness and long airplane rides where my girl is screaming and sleepless still there? Yep. But so are grace and the presence of Christ. And those things will never leave us. So we can press on to the hope that we have in Him, casting all our fears at His feet.

But seriously, please do be in prayer for those long airplane rides.

Bekah Rivers* is a momma to a darling little girl (and a sweet pup), wife to a pastor, and an advocate for all believers to be on mission.

*Name changed.

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