Friday, June 20th we put our youngest son, Benjamin, (now 22) on a plane to Boston. No big deal...except that the final destination of his many flights was Zambia, Africa! Many friends have said, "It must be tough to let go and trust God to take care of him half way around the world!" Yes it is, and unless you've done that very thing, you have no idea!
I trust God. Don't get me wrong. Moreover, I trust my son to keep his wits about him, use his common sense, stay out of trouble, eat healthily, avoid dangerous situations...he is, after all, with a United States based non-government organization. And this is his second trip to Zambia. He is going to the other side of the world to lend his musical talents to an Academy of Music for AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, as well as to assist in other ways to transform lives by "working towards universal access as it relates to HIV/AIDS prevention education for Sub-Saharan, urban and pen-urban youth."*
He will be in Africa for 10 weeks, at "a conference for teens and young adults that combines the elements of drama, music, teaching and seminars to inspire, train and equip students in the way of truth"* and an "HIV prevention program that goes beyond abstinence and acknowledges the difficulty of peer pressure, parental absence, and poverty while giving youth the opportunity to make an informed choice to pursue purity and a relationship with Jesus Christ"* through POETICE. (*POETICE.org mission statement)
Am I proud of him for choosing to spend ten weeks of his summer with these vulnerable teens and young adults? More than words can say! Is he being paid? No, in fact, he had to raise his own funds to take this second trip to Zambia, where he left a part of his heart last summer.
We, as his parents, know how he feels...we too left a piece of our hearts in Zambia in 2009!
Why am I telling you this? As parents, we have always felt that it is critical to help our children break out of their comfort zones and experience life in a "world" beyond their own backyard, where things aren't so easy, and the pleasures of life are hard to come by. It opens their eyes, stretches their boundaries and most importantly, touches their hearts! "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me" says Jesus. (Matthew 25:40)
For our children, and especially our teenagers, who often have all their needs, not to mention their desires, met (and "then some"), there is nothing like working as a volunteer or missionary among children who suffer in impoverished countries, to make them count their blessings and appreciate their lives here in the United States! I wish every teen could be "shipped off" (putting it too bluntly?) to serve in a third world country. It would open their hearts to be more aware of and compassionate towards those less fortunate. And quite frankly, it would help them see "how good they have it" here. It does wonders for the negative sense of entitlement!
Here's to a faithful God who will keep our son and those he is traveling with safe! We trust in Him and know that the work our Ben is doing in Zambia is part of God's plan for his ever- expanding life experiences and heart! He will be blessed as he blesses others with his presence, his talents, his compassion and his love. We know he will come back changed... always for the better!
Have you ever had the chance to go on missions? Have your children? Have you considered the possibility of expanding your horizons and allowing God to work through you beyond your own community or even your own backyard? There is nothing like it!
"I wanna be Your hands and feet, I wanna be Your voice every time I speak, gonna run to the ones in need in the name of Jesus! I wanna give my life away all for your kingdom's sake, shine a light in the darkest place, in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus! " (Lyrics: Send Me Out by Fee /#9 from the Album "Hope Rising")
For another wonderful article about trusting God when your children are out of your hands and in His, see article #7165 by Ron Hutchcraft at Ron Hutchcraft Ministries (bit.ly/TpCf4T). Also, read Isaiah 54:13 and Isaiah 40:11 - to know how and why I trust God and am at peace with my son halfway around the world!
Thanks as always for visiting...please feel free to comment! Have a thoughtful day! Until next time...