She drew this on her sixth birthday for a pastor. I’m not sure what made her think about India. We were learning about Japan and spent much of the day reading a missionary biography, in between receiving visitors and phone calls.
“When I grow up, I’m going to tell the world about Jesus,” she told me.
She’s a funny one, that kid. About once a month, she’ll pull out an old blue binder from the Thirty Days of Prayer for the Muslim World that we did back in June. “Mom, we need to pray for Muslims!” she’ll say. “They don’t know Jesus!”
On the hard days, when her strong little will clashes vehemently with mine, I sometimes lose sight of these things. Yet, with proper guidance, her feisty spirit will serve her well someday.
Right now, it can be exhausting.
We’re a lot alike, she and I. When I was little, I wanted to tell the world about Jesus too. I’ll never forget one day in Sunday school. I was four or five years old, not yet big enough for kids’ church.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” the teacher asked the class.
I stuck my hand up high. “A missionary,” I replied.
For some reason, among all my fuzzy memories of early childhood, this memory stands sharply clear. My parents had been missionaries. In Papua New Guinea, the year before I was born. I grew up seeing photos and hearing stories.
I grew up dreaming.
I don’t know what God has in store for my daughter. But, always, I want to encourage her to dream too.
“Maybe when you’re a teenager, we can start by going on some trips together,” I tell her. “Even if it’s just for a couple of weeks here and there.”
“I’d like that,” she says.
In the meantime, we’re focusing on sharing Jesus right where we are—in our own city and in our own neighbourhood. Because, the truth is, you don’t have to travel the world to be a missionary.
At home, where everything is familiar?
People need Jesus here too.