Sunday, April 15, 2012

M is for Ministry

Almost 2.5 years ago, we hopped on a plane and headed to the Philippines. Looking at the fresh-faced smiling airport picture of a young family with 3 kids 2 and under, all I can think is, what were they thinking?
At the airport September 2009...about to board the 1st flight on our journey to the Philippines.
The last couple of years have been a blur---

Language study. Language study.

Whoah! A new baby!

Language study. Language study.

Move to a different island.

Whoah! A new language!

Language study. Language study.

In the midst of all the grammatical fun, we have tried to remember something we both learned from our missionary parents.

That is: We are The Johnson Family Team.

We don’t want to live our lives saying: “This is ministry.” “This is family.”

“I can’t do ministry as much because of my family.” Or neglecting our family for the sake of “ministry”

It is ALL ministry.
We cause quite a stir...lots of little blond heads.
Our kids are some of the best doors to relationships that we have. Filipinos love kids, and when they see 4 little blonde kids in one stroller, they are usually willing to talk to us!
Asia with friends @ church.
When I see my kids playing with their friends at our barrio church, I know that those kids see us as missionaries, and my kids are examples (not always the best examples!) to them.

As they grow older, we pray that they can truly take ownership of their part.

It is not “Mommy and daddy’s ministry. That’s why you never get to see your grandparents.”

It is: Our family’s privilege to live here and minister together as a team. There are hard things for all of us---but we get to experience things together that lots of kids only dream about…or frankly, don’t even know exist!
Skye eating durian...She LOVES it. Google it if you don't know what it is.  Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods can't eat it...and he eats cockroaches, worms, jellyfish, etc.  :)
As I was washing dishes earlier today, and Asia was (voluntarily) standing on a chair, carefully rinsing the soap off each dish, it was a good reminder how MUCH my kids want to be involved, and do something important—something that matters.

My prayer is that we won’t get so bogged down in “Ministry” that we forget that “Ministry” really begins and ends at home---

And we try to remember...right now our ministry will look different because of the age of our kids. Sometimes I get frustrated about this.

But I try to keep reminding myself:

Ministry is a marathon. Not a sprint.

A marathon is 26.2 miles. We know God can change this tomorrow, but we would love to stay here more than 26.2 years. In between that time, are kids are going to grow up, be back in their home country, and be doing (literally) God knows what.

We want to be here for the long term, and we want our kids to be prepared well for whatever God has for them. Our family is a testimony (for better or worse) to all the people around us.

And that’s something that’s true no matter what side of the ocean we’re on.

1 comment:

Dennis and Valerie said...

I hear ya. One of the things in particular that propelled me into "missions" was the thought that I could be a mom to my kids anywhere. It is true. It takes a lot of careful balancing and it seems like in my life a lot of times one will seem more pressing to the other... but all in all, my kids are my primary ministry, and why not do that here rather than there? The strength for the task doesn't come from within, that's for sure! He is faithful, he will do it. :)