Over the last few years, I've become more and more convinced that taking or sending your kids on mission trips is one of the best things you can do for them. I've shared in the past about my teenager's mission trips. And two years ago, my husband took two of our kids to Mexico to build a house while they were still pre-teens. But this trip to Swaziland was the first time we'd taken our younger kids with us on a mission trip.
Let me tell you, I'm absolutely 100% sure that taking them was one of the very best decisions we have ever made.
During the trip and in the days since we got back, I've seen over and over again benefits to taking them to Swaziland. I want to start sharing those with you in the hopes that you, too, will decide that you need to take or send your kids on a mission trip. And if you don't have kids of your own or your kids are all grown, maybe it will convince you to support someone else's kids on their own adventures in missions.
Today, as I was lying on the couch resting up because I'm either still getting over jet lag or I'm fighting off the stomach virus that is rampaging thru our family, my 8year old said to me, "I hate HIV/AIDS".
Wow. This is a middle class kid; living in a comfortable home in a safe, rural neighborhood; surrounded by family members, who other than the occasional tummy bug or sinus infection, are exceptionally healthy; saying this.
Because on our trip to Swaziland, he met and played with children who have HIV/AIDS. Unless a cure is found, these beautiful kids will one day most probably die as a result of their HIV/AIDS positive status.
These kids are no longer just an ancedote that his mother talks about. They are no longer just faces on a computer screen. They are his playmates and companions. He has chased them and been chased by them. He has climbed the monkey bars and splashed in the pool with them. He has laughed and hollered with them. He has even bossed them around. He has tried explaining the idea of a Dr. Who "space time continuim" to them. He has just been a kid with them. Because despite their infection, they are just kids, too.
Because he is learning to hate the things we should hate, those things that hurt and kill the Lord's precious little ones, while at the same time, loving those who are suffering. And hopefully, this hatred of what hurts the innocent ones will one day result in action on his part. Hopefully, he won't grow up just hating what hurts him personally but will grow up wanting to fight against those things that kill, steal, and destroy. Because that's the heart of our Father.