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Perhaps You Disagree with Our Approach to Parenting

Every Christian should be a missionary.

Challenged                                                                                                                                         Our core value teaching for our children met with challenges in the daily life routine of our double life reality. We encountered numerous dilemmas as we sought to navigate our way through uncharted waters.

Let me explain. Full disclosure of our mission in living in Poland was much too risky for their little lives. One innocent indiscretion of theirs could result in grave consequences for our family - true. But far greater consequences could result for those we ministered alongside, our Polish nationals. To our three young children, we lived in Poland where Daddy attended university as a student in Foreign Trade (every word true).

Keep in mind we were pioneering. Not everything fit missionary norms. Sometimes good answers to hard questions eluded us. Often, we were flying by faith by the seat of our pants. 

Conflicted                                                                                                                                           We were conflicted. As parents, we longed for our children to know our missionary hearts aflame for the world. Yet in order to reach this part of the world where we covertly resided, they could not know we were missionaries.

Or could they?

Clearly Led                                                                                                                                         This required divine intervention. Taking the dilemma to God in prayer opened a door of Solomon-type anointed wisdom. Every Christian should be a missionary became our principled instruction. Without compromise, this satisfied both our parental teaching, and our clandestine cover. What they were too young to know we withheld. What they needed to know, we revealed.

Every Christian should be a missionary.                                                                                         With passion in our parental teaching, we articulated in the simplest of ways: Every Christian should be a missionary. That is what the Bible teaches. No matter where you live, regardless of your profession, you should tell other people the Good News of Jesus. This is why we talk to Grażyna about Jesus; this is why we are concerned for Pani Miecia; this is why we love Pan Janek. Telling people about Jesus is God’s holy homework assignment for every Christian.

Often, though, in the quietness of my own heart I doubted. I would pray: Lord, is this enough? Will they get it? Will they have a heart to tell others about You?                                                           

Move ahead with me to one ordinary Sunday morning in Warsaw, Poland.

Getting out the door to church on this particular morning challenged our constitutions. Hair combed, boots on, coats buttoned, lost mittens found, quarrels quelled (times 3) eventually led to success, and we schlepped out the door. (That would be the door with 7 locks to unlock to exit and the same seven locks to re-lock behind us. No alarm system compared with the hardware system on that one front door.) Now locked and loaded, Larry and I took a parental deep breath, and pulled away from the curb.

We drove to our destination, the Warsaw Baptist Church, an important component of our lives. In our undercover life as clandestine missionaries, we exercised the right to attend church. Informers knowingly attended as well, but to all onlookers, Larry was a graduate student in Foreign Trade with his family in tow.                                                                                                                          

The church itself suffered hardship. History dealt Believers a harsh blow, and silent empty pews around us spoke volumes. The evangelical church population in Communist Poland barely reached .5% percent.                                                                                                                

Listening in Polish on Sunday mornings was not for the fainthearted, and today, particularly, I felt fainthearted.

Then God graciously intervened.

A visitor from America would be our speaker, a layman as an envoy from the Southern Baptist Convention. Hummm...interesting.                                                                                          

As Dr. Owen Cooper stood to speak, in a bellowing voice…

(Are you ready for this?) 

…he passionately pounded the pulpit to the beleaguered congregation: Every Christian should be a missionary. (You read correctly. Every Christian should be a missionary.)

Like ducks on a pond, three little heads sitting beside me popped up. Wide-eyed one could see the wheels turning in their little heads. The man on the stage, the authoritative speaker, taught just what Mommy and Daddy taught at home. Wow. This teaching must be true.

Comforted                                                                                                                                      Sitting in that cold church on that hard pew, in a most tender way, God supernaturally warmed my heart. With one powerful statement He coordinated my parenting with my pioneering - my mothering with my mission - and my calling with my concern. I learned that in our diligence to reach the world, God could be trusted to give us wisdom in our parenting.

Living with eternal intentionality: How have you seen God provide supernatural wisdom in your parenting?