Guest Author: Raising Up Missionaries

Today’s post is written by my blog friend, Laurel, who writes Our Journey of Faith and is the mother of a large family. She and her family recently moved to a small house on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. She is a great teacher and I know you will enjoy getting to know her. Take a moment to stop by her blog.

As the mother of 13, I love spending time encouraging women in their career of Motherhood. I’ve spent the past 25 years talking to other moms about breast feeding, potty training, sibling rivalry, teaching young ones to read, etc…

Now, however, I find myself in a very unique place in life. I have 6 young adult children, so I have “been there, done that” with the many challenges of every stage of childhood. However, I have 7 younger children as well, so I am still “right there, in the trenches” with the young moms. Even though I’m the same age as some of their own mothers, I’m more like a big sister to young moms, because I still have a house full of young ones. I’m still dealing with children coloring on furniture, spilling their milk, and pretending that they don’t know how to do the math problems we’ve been working on for a week.

With 6 young adult children who love the Lord, younger moms often come to me and say, “How did you do it? Can I send my children to your house for ‘boot camp’?” Christian moms are beginning to figure out that they need to really step up in the training mode, in order to help their children grow up to be God-serving young adults. It won’t just happen by taking them to Sunday School every week. […]

Not only do my young adult children love the Lord; but most of them have chosen to step out into amazing ministry opportunities. Cassie (24) has ministered in Haiti, Senegal, The Gambia, and India. Jeremiah (22) lived in Ammon, Jordan last year, attending full-time Arabic Language School, and ministering to Iraqi refugees. Carissa (20) has ministered in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Argentina. And … she has lived in Argentina for the past 1.5 years, with plans to stay long-term. Lindsey (20) has ministered in Mexico (twice), Costa Rica, Germany (twice), India, and Bangladesh. Yes … the Lord continues to lead my children on AMAZING adventures, as they continue to seek and serve Him.

I am often asked how I have raised up so many young adult children who have chosen to serve the Lord overseas… One woman told me that it is exciting when even one child from a family chooses such a personal journey … but for 4 of my oldest 5 to choose such a similar journey was quite unbelievable for her.

No, we did not tell our children, “When you grow up, you should be a missionary.” But, what did we do?

  1. We demonstrated an active, everyday, personal walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The heart of a true missionary must come from such a daily, vibrant relationship with the Lord, that they absolutely know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are called into missions work.
  2. We trusted God for financial provision, when having 13 children and a teacher’s salary didn’t match up. Our kids know that the Lord will provide for their needs. They grew up learning how to pray, and how to trust God for the outcome.
  3. We talked about and read about missionaries … ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God. One year, each of the children that knew how to read, read Christian biographies for their homeschool history course.
  4. We went to hear missionary speakers, and we supported missionaries on a regular basis.
  5. We took the whole family on Mission Trips. In 2001, we took our 9 children to work in inner-city Los Angeles for 10 days. In 2006, we took our 10 children to New Orleans for 2 weeks, to put on a Christmas Outreach for Hurricane Katrina victims.
  6. While we didn’t travel the world with our children (as the price of airplane tickets was not in our budget), we traveled extensively throughout the U.S. We took 9 children on a 3 week, 8,000 mile Road Trip to 22 states in 2004. Then, we followed that in 2006 by taking 8 children on a 5 week, 8,500 mile Road Trip through 27 states. And, just this fall, I took 7 of the kids on a 4 week, 7,300 mile Road Trip through 12 states. So, our kids have learned to love adventures, as we step out in faith as a family, and travel where He leads us.

Seriously, we didn’t make a plan to “raise up missionaries”. We made a plan to raise up children who joyfully love and serve Our Lord. Whether He calls them to the military, to missions, to teaching, to the pastorate … it doesn’t matter. Really … ALL we have wanted for our children (career-wise) is for them to love and serve the Lord in whatever they might do. And, that’s exactly what they are doing. While we had 3 young adults serving the Lord overseas last year, we also had 3 young adults serving the Lord here on the homefront. And, we have 7 younger children, still at home, that we are raising up to follow the Lord, follow their dreams, follow their passions, and to be excited wherever it may be that the Lord leads them.

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Lisa H.
    February 6, 2010

    Thank you, Laurel and Lisa…I appreciate the encouragement in this post to focus on what REALLY matters….

  2. Gala
    February 7, 2010

    Laurel – thanks for the link. Once again, you have blessed me by your sweet and loving words!!

    Lisa…I'll be looking at your blog some more… 🙂

  3. Linda
    February 7, 2010

    Thanks Lisa and Laurel for this post! We are so of like mind on so many issues of child-rearing life!!!

  4. Dawn
    February 7, 2010

    Love this post…..because we should all be thinking about God using us in the MISSION FIELD! Thanks!

  5. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    How wonderful!! As a missionary who did not receive approval from family, Im sure your children are greatful of your support!!


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