April 19, 2013
Coming into Their Own
Sometimes ministry kids have a hard row to hoe. You've surely heard the bad reputation (sometimes quite undeserved) that pastors' children have, and we've heard some horror stories of what missionary kids go through.
I have to admit that it took a while for me to see the risks we'd opened our girls up to in moving to Paraguay. I'm an adventurer, always looking for the new, the exciting, the people I haven't met. I don't know strangers, I love crowds, I am comfortable in front of large groups. I don't say I'm eloquent, mind you, but I'm okay with the skin I'm in. I just imagined that my two babies would live off the adrenaline of the mission life the same way I would, and we'd all be on a constant high from the excitement of it all. Oops.
One day the light came on and I realized what this move had meant to ME--the whole thing of stripping away my support system and my dependence on the local church so that my relationship with God was almost all I had left. And it hit me that if this was so tough on me, a seasoned, supposedly mature adult with decades of experience in this God stuff, what must it be like for my little ones? I had been protecting them from physical risks, but the social and emotional aspect of this thing was getting tougher and it didn't help to see stuff like this floating around:
Truth is, I can count on one hand the girlfriends they've made in their age range since our move here over 4 years ago. We met lots of guys in our first few years, but Paraguayan girls have different responsibilities and don't often have time for a social life. So our gals have had lots of male friends but very few female ones, and many of the mix didn't share our spiritual values. That last sentence has kept me on my knees, let me tell you. And it seems each time they'd get to know a girl, it was time to say goodbye again.
Then there's the thing of our work here. Much of what they've done has been as tag-alongs of our ministry, helping out where they could. But things have slowly turned around.
As they've gotten older and we've made a few moves, I've been thrilled to watch them step into their own shoes. Both are now taking music lessons at our local church, participating in a small group that ISN'T led by either of their parents, and finding male and female peers that are encouraging them in their Christian walk. Camille (16 now) is singing on the praise team, co-leading a Bible study, and translating a book on purity for some young girls she's mentoring. Caroline (14) is playing the guitar for Saturday night youth services. If you look really closely at the blurry figure in the middle of the picture below, you can see Caroline in action.
What a privilege it is to watch our girls use the talents God has given them and grow in grace. Truly, God has sustained them in dry times, and I know He'll use those rough experiences for His glory and for good in their lives. I know many of you have joined us in praying that they would find good friends here, and we greatly appreciate those prayers!