This is my third mission to Ghana in just over 2 years. On my first trip, I came as a single missionary working with FMC (Family Missions Company) and throughout the mission I got to know and fell in love with my missionary husband, Erik. God is faithful and made His will very clear to us, so by the following year we returned to Ghana as a married couple. On that second mission, we realized that we were expecting a little one. This year have returned to Ghana as a family with our beautiful 5 month old, Theresa Marie.
There is no doubt in my mind that children are the best missionaries. During my single years in mission I always enjoyed watching the other missionary families with their small children entering into ministry. Children don’t discriminate as adults sometimes do. They aren’t too concerned about speaking the same language because most of the time they play and communicate in other ways. Their smiles are contagious and their purity of heart allows them to recognize God working in their lives in simple and profound ways. I looked forward to the day that I had my own family to enjoy these riches of mission life with.
Erik and I agreed from the beginning that we were called to be a missionary family and if he called our family to be missionary then our children are called into that missionary lifestyle as well. So when Theresa Marie was born, she was dubbed the littlest missionary at Covecrest and we began praying and preparing for her first mission trip (outside of the womb). We did take some time to pray and discern whether God was calling all of us to Ghana as a family or whether it might be better for me to stay back with Theresa while Erik went as the mission leader. Almost everyone that we talked to about the trip looked at us in shock, asking, “You’re taking the baby, too?” I must admit that it kind of rattled me and made me question whether we were being irresponsible parents at first, but the more I prayed about it, the more I was convicted that God’s call and promise for us is as true today for us as a family as it was as single missionaries.
Does it require more trust in the Lord on our part? Absolutely. It’s one thing for me to get sick on mission, but to expose my five month old to sickness is much scarier. It is fine for me to be sticky and sweaty and uncomfortable, but to see my baby struggling to sleep because of it is difficult. God asks us to go deeper in our relationship with Him, to trust Him beyond where we have become comfortable, and to put our money where our mouth is by bringing our little baby to the ends of the earth to proclaim His Gospel. Our little Theresa is a missionary by virtue of her Baptism and being born into our family, and she is a great one! She has a smile for everyone we meet, she never complains even when she’s uncomfortable, and I believe that God is able to use even Theresa’s little sufferings for His glory.
And so, though it might be difficult or scary at times, God asks us to take a bigger leap of faith in trusting Him with everything…even our little girl…so that others may know that He is Lord. Mrs. Genie Summers says there is no greater sign that you trust the Lord and love your brothers and sisters around the world than bringing your baby with you to love and serve them, and I believe it. Theresa gathers a crowd quicker than anything else and the people are delighted when they are able to get her to smile. Children soften hearts and open doors to share God’s greatness. Children are the best missionaries!
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
– Bridget Martin