In My Universe, There’s Two Kinds Of Families.

That’s a gross oversimplification. There are a whole lot between the polar opposites I’m about to address. But we’re not grading on a curve here, just talking about a bit of a revelation I had this weekend on Facebook.

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I was enjoying the spectacle of my friends posting their semi-regular kid updates this weekend. We don’t have any children without fur, and that’s for the best. (Truly, God is wise and avoided cursing some child with me as a father. I might be disturbed/disturbing, but imagine if I got to mold someone from birth in my image. Whoa!) I live through other’s college tuition bills, since Stormy isn’t prone to doing much beyond simple addition. (I’m pretty sure there’s an algorithm for how many times she must summon me to the back door depending on my keystrokes on the computer, but that’s for another blog.)

I realized that none of my friends were posting pictures of their son or daughter heading off to Cabo with twenty of their best friends for a weekend of sun and debauchery. Nor, for that matter, were my friends headed to the local bar to go nuts for Saint Patrick’s Day. (Except for my CT friends. They’ll drink to anything! Cheers, shipmates.)

Where were all these people during spring break? Missions. God, help me, but I’m the guy who looks forward to mission trips. Furthermore, I enjoy it when my friends are raising their children up to do the same. Double the enjoyment when they go on their missions at the same time.

This is in direct opposition to those folks who send their kids on debauches, or go for it themselves. I used to live that life in a minor way. Passed out in the chair in the corner, empty bottles on every flat surface, I could party with the best. Never did the spring break thing, but there was more than one boozy road trip in my life. It is who I was at that point in my life.

Looking at it now, I really wish I’d been saved as a kid. My parents tried to drill some God into my thick skull, but I was too smart to fall for that gibberish. Yeah. Right. The wasted years when I could have been growing as a man and a soul. I wonder what my life would have been like if I’d been a kid who wanted to go on a mission trip somewhere.

Is there a moral or a message here? Yes, there is: if you are an influencer of children, what influence are you having? Are you offering them the chance to grow in God? Or, like I was, are you telling them about the awesome bars in Naples and Toulon?

That’s a pretty heavy question. I am planning a trip very soon, and one of the things I’m looking forward to is the first time people going with us, and what I can bring to the experience to help them. I’m not talking about which shoes to pack, but what parts of their hearts they want to leave behind here, that they might replace them with something from our destination.

That’s what mission trips do for me: a heart healing through locational surgery. I leave something behind and bring something home.

You’ll hear more about that in the next few months. (I’m not even counting Dengue Fever. Brought that one back with me the last time…)

In conclusion (a phrase you hear in Baptist churches no fewer than four times each sermon) I applaud the parents, and children, who head for the mission on spring break. I like being your friend. I’m honored to know you. I’m blessed to have been able to hang out with you in some of the strangest places and laugh like loons over a grimy set of clothing and a bottle of water.

I love my new life in Jesus.

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