Mission Trips: A Family Affair
How did you decide to take this trip as a family?
Dave and I had been on mission trips together, and considered taking Riley with us each time we returned. I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit that last year’s DC trip might be the one! After praying. things just seemed right for this one: we were going with former small group members that Riley was familiar with, Stacy Pritchard was bringing her daughter, Ellie, on the trip, and we were going to serve the Watson’s church, former LH member’s that Riley knew well. So, it seemed that God lined this up before we knew it.
What was most challenging and how did God provide in those moments?
A challenging thing was Riley’s picky eating habits. We ate a variety of foods from different countries, but she could usually find something wherever we went. Plus, we kept a bag of snacks with us to supplement. Also, a BIGTHANKS to Nancy & Jeff Cox and Nancy & Jeff Garner, because they took up with the girls as if they were their own grandkids! I was wondering what Riley and Ellie could contribute and God answered that every day of the trip. The girls would volunteer a hand wherever needed and were great ‘ice breakers’ for meeting new people.
What memories will stick with you?
I will always remember working in the learning garden at the local elementary school where the church meets. Riley was given a job and basically took over the project!
She was organizing the other kids from the school and making sure the job was done. Also, I will never forget the bonds made with the people on the trip. My favorite picture is of the girls skipping down the streets of DC holding hands with Nancy and Jeff Cox, their “grandparents” for the week. Lastly, I will never forget the feeling of watching my daughter serve food to and talk with a roomful of homeless men. One man even thanked her for being there by kissing her little hand! I pray that she will serve the Lord like this her whole life.
What did your family gain from the experience?
I saw that God can use Riley in so many ways, and that it’s my job to guide her, not to decide for her. It is wonderful to tell stories, laugh, and remember what we saw. I really want Riley to see that people live differently in different places. She is realizing that things are not easy for everyone and that she should help as often as she can.
What would you tell those who are considering taking a mission trip as a family?
Pray first. If the Spirit nudges you, then DO IT!! Serving in another place as a family just further supports what we encourage our children to do with their lives: serve the Lord. We are now considering LH mission trips outside of the US in the next year or so (LH trips to Nicaragua or Mexico are good for families). Plus, my goal is to take Riley to serve at the orphanage in Kenya when she is 16, Lord willing.