Every summer we take our High School students to El Salvador for their summer mission trip. One of the characteristics we are wanting to build in our students is a heart for the nations. I know of no better way to do this than taking our students out of the country. If you are a Youth Pastor and do not currently take your students out of the country, I would highly encourage you to consider it. After all, we have been commanded to go to the nations. This past year however, my wife and I took our 10-year-old daughter (at the time) with us. If you are a parent I would highly encourage you to find places and opportunities to serve alongside your children. For us, there were several reasons we decided to take her with us to El Salvador:
We wanted her to see how others lived and worshiped
We want our children to see what the world is really like. We want them to break out of our “American” bubble and see what is beyond it.
We wanted her to see us serving and sharing the gospel
We want to model for our children what serving others and sharing the gospel looks like both here at home and around the world.
We wanted her to be a part of taking the gospel to others
We want our children to know what it means to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Taking her to El Salvador with us and allowing her opportunities to share and serve are experiences she will never forget.
We wanted her to begin to love the nations
A love for the nations is not simply a characteristic we want to build in our students. We want to build those same characteristics in our own children as well.
We wanted to make memories as a family
We want to make memories as a family that will be topics of conversation for years to come. I cannot begin to tell you how many conversations we have had over the last year as a result of this one trip.
Whether you take your children overseas (which I would encourage you to do if possible), or you serve in your community (which I would also encourage you to do), be intentional with your children. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have to disciple your children well. For us, this trip was so good. I enjoyed having my family there with me in El Salvador as I served. I made me appreciate the trip even more than I already do. I cannot wait to take our other children as they get older as well. Friend, disciple your children well. Take them with you, and serve with them. You will be glad you did. We are.