That’s What We Do: Lessons Learned from Missionary Kids
By Lindsey Romero (Originally posted on the blog: http://romerosonmission.blogspot.com/)
It’s been a while since I’ve written about our little mishomarys, but not because of lack of material! Here’s a cute story from the other day that ended up giving me lots of food for thought.
Ash Wednesday was our weekly home visit day, and after breakfast it was time to walk down to the little store to buy items for dispensas to give to the families we planned to visit that afternoon.
[A little background: a typical dispensa that we give out on home visits is made up of basic food and personal needs items, and in the Philippines that looks something like: rice, dried beans, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, oil, noodles, oatmeal, powdered milk, coffee, canned tuna or sardines, shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, and toothpaste. Sometimes we’ll add in a few vegetables from our garden, or vitamins for the children or pregnant women in the household. Our home visits are little trips we make to the house of someone who’s home bound, sick, elderly, lonely, or having some particular need at the time. We keep them company for a while, pray with them, read Scripture, and leave them with the bag of goodies.]
Anyway, the kids love this kind of thing. Buying “food for our friends,” as they call it, is one of their favorite ministries. We put on our flip flops and headed down to the little sari-sari store at the end of our block. The kids ran ahead of me up to the store window, and stood up on their tippy toes to peer inside. I heard the store owner greet them in Visayan and ask, “Unsa imong?” or in English literally, “What’s yours?” to ask what they wanted to buy.
Evie, my four-year-old, responded without missing a beat. “We’re here to buy food for our friends and then later we’re going to give it to them, because we’re missionaries, and that’s what we do.”
That’s what we do.
All day kept thinking about what Evie had said, and the more I thought about it, the more it challenged me. It was also Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, so all the more reason to ponder.
That’s what we do.
Gosh, how often is it NOT what I do? All too often I know what I should do, but simply do not do it. Or I know what I shouldn’t do, and then do it anyway. Hmm. Sound familiar, parents? Yeah. Shame on me! If my kids could read, I’m sure they’d send me straight to the corner for a timeout.
So, Lesson One out of all this: Be more patient with my kids this Lent. When it comes down to it, I’m still learning the same lessons they are and I’m a grown up for goodness sake.
Lesson Two: Strive for holiness! I mean, really go for it! Evie spoke so confidently and with such resolution. What joy it gave me to hear her say something like that! It was like listening to a Saint.
My big little mishomary
Now, don’t get any crazy ideas. Kids are kids, and my kids hog toys and argue and whine and disobey and get out of their beds 50 times a night when they’re supposed to be going to sleep just like every other kid on the planet. Some days, I half-seriously-but-seriously beg God for a trans-continental portal to grandma’s house just for a few hours, please!
But then, there are those wonderful, shining moments, like at the little store on Wednesday. Or when I see them choose virtue over their natural inclinations and do something generous, compassionate, obedient, or selfless because they’re missionaries and that’s what they do. Like give away a favorite pair of flip flops right off her feet to a barefoot child on the street totally unprompted. Or ask me for a band-aid and then try to apply it himself to one of his playmates at Isla Bonita with a boo-boo. Or when they simply share their toys, talk nice, or mind the first time they’re told.
In those moments, I’m joyful. Proud. I’m not all hung up on the times they may have failed to be perfect, or worried about the fact that they’re still a work in progress, and I definitely don’t want them to be, either. I rejoice with them in their victories and encourage them to keep going for it. That must be how our Heavenly Father feels about us when, in spite of ourselves, we do what we should because we’re Christians and that’s what we do. We must boldly strive, reach, and run after holiness and rid ourselves of the notion that we shouldn’t or can’t because we’re not holy already. Our Merciful and Loving God, who came to call sinners, is cheering us on.
This Lent, I’m running after holiness. Evie, Anders, and Maggie Joy will be my companions and my inspiration on the journey!