In wrapping up this series of posts on MKs, I had planned on talking about some of the amazing blessings and privileges of having a cross cultural childhood. I was going to talk about adaptability and cultural sensitivity. I was going to talk about linguistic skills and the ability to see different perspectives. I was going to talk about adventure and swimming in the Amazon River or hiking through the Andes Mountains or climbing Macchu Picchu. But those things, although amazing, are not our inheritance as MKs. They are in the past. Not the future. An inheritance is something that is coming. It is ahead of you. So I want to get personal here. No more quotes from MK books. Instead I am going to draw back the curtains and let you peek into one of the most beautiful windows of my life.
I remember standing in the back of the auditorium and looking out over the room. Everyone was seated at tables. There would be a meal. It was a celebration, a farewell meal for our family before we moved back to the States for good. I was about to head off to college. I remember standing there, as if frozen and just taking in this scene. Each person I saw had a story. I knew their stories. We were part of their stories. I saw one of my friends. I remembered the first time she and her siblings nervously came into the church. I remember introducing myself and meeting her family. I remember when she met Jesus. I remember when her family met Jesus. I remember years later while she taught VBS with me that it dawned on her why sheep were sacrificed in the Old Testament. I remember that she cried. I cried too.
I saw a teen aged boy that played guitar with me. I remembered when he first started learning to play. I remembered how nervous he was the first time we led worship together. I remembered how much he improved.
I saw another young man from our youth group. He was like an older brother to me. I remember feeling so safe with him and the other guys when we would be out walking to or from youth activities. They would walk with us girls, like a strong wall of protection and a warning to other men. They were my brothers. How I would miss them.
I saw our taxi driver. I remember the first time he came to church. He was on the verge of a divorce. I remember when he met Jesus. I remember seeing his wife and daughter start coming to church after seeing him change. I remember when his wife went forward to accept Jesus. I remember weeping in my seat and thinking, “I can’t believe I get to be a part of this miracle.”
I looked at face after face in that room, different stories, so many memories. All of those people, there, in that moment had become family. With us, with each other…with Christ. God did that. And for some reason that I will never understand, He chose to use our family in the process.
I looked around that room on our last Sunday and knew in the depths of my soul that this is my inheritance. This room full of changed lives. People who had once walked in darkness, now walking in the light. I would have this forever. I would have them forever in Christ, because in Him, we never truly lose anyone.
My parents will probably never leave us piles of earthly treasure. And I am ok with that. And I may always have MK issues to try and sort out, and I am ok with that too. I would not trade my inheritance for anything on this earth.
My parents spent their lives laying up treasure where “moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
They taught us to never confuse the tools with the treasure. Do you have a car? Great. It is a tool, not a treasure. Use it in pursuit of lost souls. Do you have a house? Great. It is a tool, not a treasure. Use it in pursuit of lost souls.
They taught us that people are people. Rich or poor. They are just people, who are precious to God and need a Savior. I have seen my mom praying over some of the wealthiest people you’ve ever met and the next day sitting in a shack on a dirt floor with her arm around a woman crawling with lice. I learned something from watching her. I learned to look past the wealth and to look past poverty to the heart… to what God is after.
My parents taught me that people matter more than my convenience. Was there room for one more family in our old Suburban on the way to church? We were squeezing them in. Did we need to host another Bible study at our house? Haul out the folding chairs.
My parents taught us to never say “No” to God. Ever. No matter the cost. They said “yes” when God called them to take their three little children into an unstable and dangerous country. They said “yes” when God called them to move back to the States and pastor their sending church. I saw how hard that was, but they obeyed.
I saw God’s faithfulness in our lives time after time. I saw Him work in people’s lives and change them. The spiritual inheritance my parents left for us is staggering. What am I going to do with my inheritance? What are you going to do with yours?
I have become more and more aware of the fact that there is no such thing as a secular job. If the Holy Spirit lives in you and you know the God who spoke the world into being, you are a missionary. Full time. You are in the unique context of your life by Divine design. It is on purpose. Don’t waste it. Let’s not get so caught up in collecting shiny tools that we neglect to go after the treasure.
When my girls are grown, it will not matter how far they went in sports, or how high they scored on a test, or how popular they were. It will not matter how big our house was or how clean the minivan was or how perfectly scheduled our days were. What will matter is the way they loved God and loved others. That is it. That has always been it. I want them to look back at our lives and see them full to the brim with people that we loved and brought to Jesus…so that they too will have a glorious inheritance.
Such an amazing reminder, thank you! I sometimes get worn out and grouchy about the not so joyful parts of being His hands and feet. It’s hard to remember sometimes the example we are to our children. I wish I could have heard these stories from you in college 😉 thank you for sharing!
I couldn’t talk about it at that point. (Maybe if you’d stayed longer than a year…) ; ) It has taken years for me to sort through a lot of these things I am writing about. You were a gift to me freshman year Erin. God knows how much I needed my fiery little Canadian friend that year. Thank you for being there for this MK!
Powerful testimony of what is real-people matter to God. You were abd are blessed with excellent parents. I have always known that.