From a very young age my parents have instilled in me a heart for missions. I remember reading missionary books with my mom and standing next to my dad as we talked to missionaries at church.
Since I was a very little girl I have always wanted to be a missionary. I was the five year old that said, "When I grow up, I am going to be a missionary to South Korea."
Then when my family was adopting, I became the eleven year old that said, "I'm planning on being a missionary, perhaps to Liberia."
Then I got a little older and wiser and became the fourteen year old that boldly said, "I want to go North Korea and share the gospel." I still vividly remember my mom trying to explain that I wouldn't be a missionary in North Korea, I would most likely be a martyr in North Korea. :-) (Not that she was trying to discourage me, she just wanted me to understand what I was talking about.)
Through the years my heart has changed in the area of missions. It's easy to lose sight of a six year old vision, but whenever I begin to forget the Lord brings it back. Yesterday, on New Years Eve, we watched some old family videos of when my parents went to Liberia to pick up my siblings. I still remember how absolutely excited and jittery I was on the way to the airport when my parents and new siblings came back. I felt like a four year old on Christmas morning, except magnified. Unfortunately, as it is in life, the "honeymoon" died away and reality hit home that my new siblings were totally different from me. In the first couple years many ugly truths were brought out of the dark that our family wasn't prepared for. In the course of the last six years we have had to go through HHS investigations, countless social worker visits and meetings, police searches and visits, days of overwhelming stress and anxiety, and many other nightmarish moments that we were shocked at. There were many times that I felt angry or upset, our family wondered at times if we had truly heard God's call to adopt. These experiences changed my view of many aspects of life. Spiritual warfare has a whole new meaning to me. It's easy to be skeptical about demonic effects on people when you have never beheld it.
But last night as we watched those videos from Africa, something very strong stirred in my heart. When I saw the groups of tiny little children, that I now know were active in many wicked and evil actions, my heart ached. I cried as I watched those little hands reaching out, and their little voices yelling out, "I love you Mom! I love you Dad!"
What if those children had been raised by parents who loved and cared for them? What if from their birth, prayers had been lifted up against the family curses that bound them? What if they were truly taught about Christ and the Bible? What if they had all that I have been given?
I haven't thought about missions much in the last year. Oh, I gave it a thought every now and then when I heard about someone going on a missions trip or missionaries came to church, but other than that I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. But watching that video stirred in me emotions that I can hardly describe because if those children had been raised in Godly Christian families, their lives wouldn't have been destroyed by sick perversion to the point that they no longer know how to live.
Adopting my three siblings from Africa was the hardest thing my family ever did. My parents have gone through so much. But I wouldn't reverse what God has done. Yes, we have suffered many things that may seem unfair to a lost world, but I can clearly see that it was all indeed part of God's plan. My adopted siblings childhoods were stolen from them and though they may not know how to truly move forward, they now have a chance too. In Liberia there is 80% unemployment. One of my adopted sisters now has a full time job and my brother had a full time job all summer. My other adopted sister is learning some new skills so that she can start her own business. They are being taught about Christ and being given a Godly education. They have everything that they need including food. They didn't have that in Liberia.
Yes, we have struggled.
Yes, there are times it seems unfair.
Yes, there are strongholds that seem like solid concrete.
But am I thankful God has allowed all this to happen?
I do not glory in the evil we have gone through, but rather I glory in the fact that my family has been given the chance to do some of the toughest mission work there is together as a family. My adopted siblings have many things in their pasts that they have had to deal with. Their whole lives in Liberia were about running and surviving, but even if our family is just a bridge helping them get across a deep cavern to a better life, it will still be worth it.
I've become a tougher, harder person through these experiences; I know it and yet my heart still melts when I see those old videos. When I see people that need the Lord so very much my heart weeps. I have no idea what the future holds. I may never become a "missionary," but God has given me a work to do here in my family and for now I am content. I cannot change people, only God can, but I certainly can be a willing vessel for His service.
If someday God calls me elsewhere, I'll be there, but for now, I'm working here and that's exactly where He wants me.