Thursday, November 04, 2010


For the past two summers, we have had teen-aged children who have gone on month long trips to other countries with ADVENTURES IN MISSIONS. This summer will be no exception. Our oldest daughter A will be going with them to Thailand for a month with their Ambassador program and our oldest son D is going with the same program to Peru for three weeks.

When I was a teenager growing up in church, the only trips we took were for church camp or choir tours --- to go overseas while still in high school was unheard of! I am so thankful that AIM recognizes that teenagers serving God can and do change their world in exciting ways. I am so thankful that a little less than three years ago, while on a trip to Swaziland, my daughters and I were able to meet fantastic AIM missionaries who first told us about the AIM Ambassador program. And I am so thankful that God has led three of my children to embrace the adventure of missions and be willing to serve God far away from home despite the sacrifices involved. It is not always easy, but for both of our daughters so far, what they give up is far out-weighed by what they gain.

Here is an open letter I wrote for AIM to use on their website that gives you an idea of how these mission trips have impacted their lives as individuals and our life as a family and why I am truly grateful for AIM this Thanksgiving season:

Dear parents of prospective Ambassadors---

This past summer, my oldest daughter spent a month in Swaziland with the Adventures in Missions Ambassador program. At age 15, she had been to plenty of sleepovers and week-long camps. She had even been on one mission trip to Africa, but it was with me. This was her first time ever to leave the country without us and to be gone for so long.

By nature, I am an over-protective, worrywart parent. I send a cell phone with my 14 year-old daughter when she goes bike riding in our neighborhood and am famous for telling everyone to wear their seatbelts and lock their doors. You would think that after having seven kids I wouldn't be this way, but I am.

But a couple of years ago, God started showing me some things about myself and my kids. One of the things He showed me was that I needed to trust my kids to Him and His plans for their life. Ultimately, He is the one in control of their days, not me. Yes, I can be a careful parent, but I can't protect them from all the dangers in the world. To try to keep every single bad thing from happening to them would be to rob them of the joys, thrills, and yes, even the potentially dangerous thrills of this life. And I could also rob them of fulfilling the dreams that God is placing in them.

He got me to the point of desiring more than anything, that my children be in love with Him and willing to follow His path for their life, no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice.

It also meant me learning to trust that He will provide for them financially. He is showing me that if He wants them to go, then He will make the way for it to happen.

I need to let HIM be the provider and the protector and quit trying to do His job. He can do it so much better than I can.

And it makes for happier kids, I can tell you that.

My oldest daughter has always been a great girl – responsible, honest, trustworthy, loyal. But as with most American teenagers, our culture was having its impact and she was pulling further and further away from us. It was reflected in her attitude and how she wanted to spend her time. More often than not, there was tension between us instead of peace. Also between her and her siblings there was a lot of bickering.

Her one month with Adventures in Missions changed all of that.

The Ambassador program is more than just a trip. And it is more than just doing for other people. It is also a month-long, life-changing, intense, discipleship time. The leaders on the Ambassador trips are strong, mature Christians who take very, very good care of the team as well as being inspiring role models. During my daughter's time, she learned to pray and be content and get along with a lot of people (some very different than she) in a Christ-like manner. She learned to be satisfied with less, to not complain, to accept "no" with a gracious and "at peace" spirit. She came back loving God, those in need, and her family in a bigger and deeper way.

I tell people that she is still the same young woman, just the cleaned up version. It is as though during her time with AIM, God scrubbed off all the yucky, nasty extra stuff that wasn't the real her and left her as He created her to be --- truly, truly beautiful.

I honestly cannot be more pleased with the AIM Ambassador program. They are people who are passionate about helping our children become all that God wants them to be and they do it in a very efficient and helpful manner. They are open to the leading of the Holy Spirit while at the same time they are organized and practical. They also are very good about communicating as much as possible from the field because they realize that the folks back home need to hear not only the God-stuff, but to know that their teenager is safe and well.

AIM is definitely a missions organization that I trust my kids with.

In fact, we're sending our second daughter to Romania with them this summer and our oldest son, who is now still too young, is already dreaming of adventuring with them next year.

Be strong and courageous. This parenting isn't for sissies, but God is a mighty help and AIM is one of His most effective tools I've found in my years of being a mom.


To learn more about the high school trips offered thru AIM, visit their blog at:
To read about the Peru trip that my son D will be taking go here:
To read more about A's trip to Thailand this summer, go to this link:

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