Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh, giving gifts with meaning


When our children were still very young, with a desire to keep us focused more on Jesus and less on  the consumerism of wants, we began the three gifts...like the wise men brought to Jesus. Each year we retell their meaning and celebrate together God becoming man, taking on flesh as a baby lying in manger who would one day grow to be a man and take on our sins for our salvation!

The 'gold' gift is symbolic to show Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. As the magi gave this to Mary and Joseph it may have been God's provision to allow them to flee from King Herod and escape from Bethlehem and travel to Egypt. This gift was significant to Mary and Joseph, so choose a gift to give your children that is significant and of great importance to them. It can be a trip (just include a map with the destination marked). The 'gold' gifts often end up being the most expensive presents. However, not each year! This year our son really wanted a specific Nerf football, so yes, it is his gold! He will find two wrapped, one for him and one to take to Costa Rica to share and play with the boys there in the barrios.
The 'gold' gift is wrapped in gold shiny paper and ribbons or bows.

Frankincense is a white resin/sap from trees in East Africa and Southern Arabia. Even today it is known for its antiseptic, anti- fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. In ancient times it was probably looked at as the first "cure-all" medicine. What a great gift for Mary to have with a young one around. In Exodus 30:34-37, God instructs that frankincense be used as sacred incense in His Temple. It was to be placed "in front of the testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you.” says the LORD to Moses; the very place where God promised to meet with them. Jesus is our Emmanuel: God with us. The frankincense gift is to be something that helps our children meet with God. This can be a new study Bible, especially as they advance in reading and comprehension. This gift can be a new Itunes gift card for worship music, book, magazine, devotional or DVD.
With frankincense being white, the 'frankincense' gift is wrapped in white paper and ribbon.

Myrrh is also a resin from trees. It is dark and earthy in color and has a rich aroma. It was used to scent oils, perfumes and embalming liquids. Today it is still added to some soaps, oils and lotions. Jesus was born to eventually die to save us from the penalty of our sins. John 19:39-40 confirms that Nicodemus anointed Jesus as part of His burial preparation. The myrrh gift for our children is something to anoint their bodies (or wear). This can be something as simple as lotions or bubble bath or a desired clothing item.
Wrap this gift in brown paper packaging and tie it up with string or raffia.

May your family celebrate with the wonder the gift of our Savior this Christmas!

  

Shepherds on the hillside, family advent devotion


“And all the ends of the earth shall see the Salvation of our God.”
 Isaiah 52:10
C
an you think of the least favorite chore around your house that no one wants to do?  How about the most boring job ever; the dirtiest job?  From ancient times to present day(not so much in our western world) one of those jobs was being a Shepherd. Many of those who were shepherds were uneducated formally (but very smart), and were often dirty from having slept out all night with the sheep.
It really was one of those jobs that most people would not have wanted!

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.”
Then the angel said to them’ “Do not be afraid...” Luke 2:8-10

These men were tough, staying out in the dark night and protecting the sheep from wild animals, but this had them trembling. The shepherds had never seen anything so bright and beautiful – the glory of the Lord! It was so bright that the angel had to tell them not to be afraid. 
“...for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you.  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

The Shepherds must have been amazed not only to be surrounded by the glory of the Lord, but to hear the words of the angel! The angel brought them news of great joy which was for all people – even Shepherds.  All people – even the poor. All people – even the uneducated.  All people – even the lonely. 
What was the good news? A Savior - “born to you.”  How special the shepherds must have felt, to know that God had sent a Savior, a savior who was born for them too!

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” vs.13,14

Oh, how this must have taken the shepherds to their knees! If one angel frightened them, can you imagine a whole host of angels praising God together? What an incredible time of praising God for this Savior who was born! 

“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” vs.15

Perhaps they slowly got up from their knees, still stunned by all that had just seen, but at once they were heading for that little known town, Bethlehem! It is no accident that what the shepherds said to one another is recorded in the Bible. They were heading to Bethlehem to see that “which the Lord has made known to us.” To us – lowly shepherds.  To us – the poor. To us – the uneducated. Yes, the Lord chose to reveal this good news to shepherds! Why? Isaiah 52:10 tells us that all the ends of the earth shall see the Salvation of our God!

God loves each of us.  It doesn’t matter what kind of job we have. It doesn’t matter if we are the smartest in our class.  It doesn’t matter the kind of clothes we wear.  God chose to send His Son for our salvation!  For your salvation! This is what Christmas is all about!

God goes to great lengths to show His incredible love for us.  That includes sending an angel to shepherds on a hillside to be the first to hear of His son’s birth!  God gives us His word, the Bible, so that you will know of and hear of His son’s birth too.  

Advent season, preparing the hearts of our children

Christmas is a beautiful time for Christians.

A celebration of the birth of our Savior!

Advent is the season.
Advent means the "arrival."
The entire month of December is beautiful in that we celebrate advent ~
the long awaited, arrival of a Savior.
Our family made a wooden manger to keep central in our Advent season. 

There are many ways to make this time special for your family and turn their eyes; hearts to Jesus during an also very busy, commercialized holiday. I hope that your family has traditions that make this season especially worshipful.
Below are a few ideas.
 We would love to hear from you, simply post how your family celebrates the birth of our Savior to share with others!
               Display a manger scene - talking through the birth story of Jesus as you put it out.
               Create a Jesse Tree
               Light an Advent wreath, Advent Devotions
               The Three Gifts 
              Choose wisely & purposefully the gifts you give your children              

Tis the season to celebrate a Savior's birth, a Savior born to die for our sins!

the Light of the world, an advent devotion



Gather your family (or class), a dark room & a candle!

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
This was written nearly 800 years before the birth of Jesus!  God planned for Jesus to be born in this little town of Bethlehem. That star above a little known town was just a small glimpse of an everlasting light, Jesus, who was bringing with Him salvation.

The darkness that surrounded us before we lit the candle is what life is like without Jesus. Darkness often represents evil, or sin.  Jesus is the light of the world.  He is not one of many lights; he is the only “light” that can take away our darkness of sin.

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Each of us is born a sinner.  That means that no one had to teach us to do wrong things like lie, cheat, or think of ourselves before others.  We were certainly born able to do that!  It is for that darkness – our sin – that Jesus was born, died, and rose again to bring salvation.

Jesus tells us himself in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  When we trust Jesus as our Savior, and follow him, the darkness fades away; He forgives our sins. Jesus points us always to his (and our) heavenly Father. 
We are to be a light too!
In Matthew 5:14 -16 Jesus says that if we follow him, THE light of the world, that we are also to be a light shining before others! Imagine Jesus as the sun and we are the moon.  The moon doesn’t shine on its own.  The moon reflects the light of the sun. 
This Christmas, and always, we should be reflecting Jesus, pointing others to our heavenly Father too!

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas let's focus on the one true light of the world. That star that was shining bright in Bethlehem for all of the world to see - it was shining on the Savior of the world, the light of the world. 


Give me the "easy button"



The "easy" button seems to have taken over our way of doing life in our culture of ease, even in the life of believers.
Let's take the easy road.
If it's hard, don't do it.
If it makes me uncomfortable, I won't.
It's too risky, no thanks.
I may loose friends.
If I admit wrong, others will see my weakness.
I will look the other way, it's easier.
The cost is too much.
The sacrifice is too high, we just can't.


What do we forfeit by taking the easy way?
What would happen if we chose to not be so quick to hit the easy button?
The building of character.
Teaching our children by example.
Growing in endurance, a proven faith.
An opportunity for the gospel to be on display in our lives.
Transformation, sanctification.
The process of being refined, the ridding of idols, sins, etc. that keep us from being useful.
Fruit that seems to flourish after having gone through difficulties (because we abide in the Spirit) - love,  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

In light of Scripture:
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 ESV
it seems that pressing the "easy" button, or taking what seems to be the easy route will in the end be the greatest loss.

After Sunday morning...


After your time serving on Sunday morning, whether holding babies, building blocks, or teaching Biblical truths...PRAY!
I have found that Sunday afternoons were always the best time for me to pray for the children and families that I had just been with. Their needs, sweet faces are still fresh. Be the teacher who prays. You could be the only one who is praying for a particular child.
Take a prayer journal with you each week, record their needs, requests, praises...and follow up. You may be able to point out where God has answered a prayer too!
You are praying to the God who loves you enough and powerful enough to do more than we could ever ask or imagine! Pray.

Making a list and checking it twice!

This Christmas our family will be celebrating the birth of our Savior with our good friend Mariana, in some of the poorest barrios of Costa Rica.  We will work alongside Mariana to share the love of Jesus with teen moms and their babies, encourage those that mentor the teens, celebrate Christmas with the boys of Glorious Day Orphanage, and provide a Christmas morning meal while sharing the truth of hope born on Christmas morning with those in the barrio pictured above.
If you would like to help out, here's a list that we would love to provide for those we get to share the joy of Christmas with...



Mariana's Pura Vida Costa Rica Christmas Shopping List
These items will be for gift bags for the teen moms and for the boys at the Glorious Day Orphanage:
48 Christmas 12” x 8” Gift bags with handles -  
big bag full of candy 
big bag of chocolates 
17 scripture bookmarks
12 scripture bookmarks
12 scripture bookmarks
17 - 3 oz lotion     
12 - 3 oz lotion     
12 - 3 oz lotion 

17 pack of footie socks – grey or black
12 pack of footie socks – grey or black
12 pack of footie socks – grey or black ~ thank you!

17 - 4”x 6” sized journals for boys thank you!
12 - 4”x 6” sized journals for girls thank you!
12 - 4”x 6” sized journals for girls thank you!
17 packs of colored pencils thank you!
12 packs of colored pencils thank you!
12 packs of colored pencils thank you!
17 large sized toothpaste       17 toothbrushes ~ thank you!
12 large-sized toothpaste      12 toothbrushes ~ thank you!
12 large-sized toothpaste  ~ thank you!
17 bars of soap ~ thank you!
12 bars of soap ~ thank you!
12 bars of soap ~ thank you!
17 - chapstick ~ thank you!
12 toothbrushes ~ thank you!
12  chapstick ~ thank you!
12  chapstick ~ thank you!

Pura Vida Costa Rica Sponsor List
These items will be purchased locally:

Sponsor a Christmas meal & party for 17 boys $200.00
Sponsor a Christmas meal & party for 12 girls $120.00
Sponsor a Christmas meal &  party for 12 girls $120.00

Sponsor a Christmas morning breakfast for children in the barrio
$50.00 ~ thank you!
$50.00 ~ thank you!
$50.00
$50.00

Sponsor a buggy full of diapers $150.00
Sponsor a buggy full of diapers $150.00
Sponsor a bag full of baby formula $100.00 ~ thank you!
Sponsor a bag full of baby formula $100.00

Sponsor a $30 pair of shoes for the Glorious Day boys
                    X  X  X X  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  

Sponsor checks can be made out and mailed to:

CMC                                   or        HopePoint Church
P.O. Box 219228                          P.O. Box 170151
Houston, TX 219228                   Spartanburg, SC 29301
(memo: Mariana Melo)              (memo: Mariana Christmas)

Thanks for checking the list, and helping others hear the truth of a Savior born on Christmas Day and experience the joy of receiving a gift this Christmas!
You can email me or message me on facebook if you would like to give!

Merissa

A Sunday morning thought, singing bad theology

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands!! 
And you know I will - nothing wrong with this song. 
We go for fun, we go for upbeat, we sometimes teach bad theology through the songs we sing.
Yes, even a few of those age old songs we loved to sing as a child... because certainly as Christians we will be inright outright upright downright happy all the time! Really?
For Sunday mornings worship leaders are intentional in choosing songs that are truth about Jesus, and sincere words for believers to sing to an incredible God...should we offer anything less to our children in their worship/music time?!
My desire is to not make a list of songs with bad/wrong theology...but to have us think of the songs that we sing! Especially on Sunday mornings, let's not overlook the importance of being intentional with the songs we lead our children in each week.



thankful...for pleasant aromas

This November I am giving thanks for much...and that includes the five senses God created.  So this week, along the way I am inhaling deep breaths, taking the time to stop and smell the...


freshly ground coffee beans
the wood burning in a campfire
fragrant blossoms of a tea olive plant
cool salty air at the coast (Thanksgiving I will be doing this)
crisp Autumn air (has it's on fresh scent bidding summer good-bye, welcoming cool nights, apples, the changing colors of leaves...)
cinnamon
a Votivo Bright Leaf Tobacco candle
earthy smell of soil while planting a winter garden
stew or soup that has been cooking in a slow cooker all day
rich smell of chocolate oatmeal cookies right out of the oven
pine sap
pages of an old book
early morning rain


when these scents fill my nostrils, I am thankful. Thankful for a creative God!






Speak the truth


With heart racing there are words on the tip of your tongue, they must be spoken.
Like a meteor shower "what if's" begin to light up in your mind leaving you a bit lightheaded:
"they will think i am crazy"   "my motives will be judged"   "it is truth, but what if it is not received well"   "will they be angry?"   "but it is truth"     "it goes against the status quo"    "it's the right thing to do"     "this is like swimming upstream"


With a quiver the words come, spoken in love, but mighty in truth. The time is now, 
"speak the truth, even if your voice shakes."

Speak the truth...in your home, in the classroom, in the conference room, in the courtroom, on the field, on the court...
Speak the truth...to your family, with your friends, to your professor, with your boss, to your enemy... 
"speak the truth, even if your voice shakes."

"You shall speak all that I command you" Exodus 7:2
"My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely." Job 33:3
"He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend." Psalm 15:1-3
"My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding." 
Psalm 49:3
"I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame." 
Psalm 119:46
"My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever." Psalm 145:21
"Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit." Proverbs 12:17
"And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' whether they hear or refuse to hear." Ezekiel 3:11
When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19&20

Sticks and stones may break my bones,

but your words have the power to choke the life out of me.


Preparing to share with a group of women who are in need of guidance and encouragement to be better moms because they didn't grow up in an environment that fostered the love of Jesus. They live in difficult circumstances, not having life's advantages that so many of us take for granted...then God speaks to my heart. 
It isn't just His word for the women that I will be sharing with, it is His words to me.
Listening attentively to the sermon being taught on James 3 with my children on either side of me, the pastor asked "Parents, how are you doing? Do your words encourage your children?" Then the pain...literally. I get little elbows from both sides into my ribs, I turn to see little accusing eyebrows raised. 
WHAT? My children think that my words are harsh and I don't encourage them?! 
Later, finagling my way, I explain to my children that correction is not the same as being hurtful with words. However, as the day goes on His spirit within me raised little red flags each time I spoke harshly, my words were accusing, my tone unkind. One red flag should have been enough, but there were several. Then came the defeated voice of my child,
“Can I not do anything right today?”
Ouch. Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words make me feel like a failure.

I realized that all day I had noticed those little things that irritated me (and said so). I saw what was undone or not done correctly (and was sure to point it out). I missed the mark – big time. I failed to say out loud all of the good stuff, to point out what was pleasing and right, missed getting to laugh off a mistake and say the words “you’ll get it, just keep trying.” I hadn’t stopped to say, “I love you” out of the blue for no reason at all, except that we all need to hear it.
Research on the power of words tells us that for every one negative word spoken, there needs to be two – five positive words to negate the one negative. Our brains remember the negative, and dare I say our hearts begin to believe it.


That’s why God’s Word has so much to say about the tongue. Here are just a few verses…
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”Proverbs 18:21

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.”
Proverbs 10:19-21(ESV)

James 3, read the whole chapter!

Yep, God is using much in the ways of my mess ups to teach me about His great love for me and to change my heart to be more like Him each day.

My prayer today: Help me, Father, to speak with gracious words, those like honeycomb that are sweetness to the soul and health to the body. If at any point Lord, my words are not, PLEASE put your hand over my mouth (and of course keep changing my heart)! Amen.

Now, because I am reminded that I don’t have it all together, I am ready to share with these moms and encourage them to measure their words by God’s Word too.


Sweet Lydia

Lydia Paul
September 12,1975 - September 29, 2011

My heart is sad that time on this earth will be no more with my sweet sister in Christ, Lydia. Peace fills my heart knowing that we will have eternity with our Savior.
Pouring over pictures of my visits to El Shadai, remembering tender moments of tears shared, smiling at the memories of the times we laughed like school girls have been a balm to my heart. May these glimpses provide smiles for you too!

Join me in praying for those who are daily left with a "huge gap" - her husband, Joseph, her daughter, Becky and 63 children who call her mom at El Shadai. Her tasks were many, her presence loving and reassuring, and therefore each are feeling the great loss of someone so dear.

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, 
your labor prompted by love, 
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 
I Thessalonians 1:3



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the hinge

A door opened can introduce one to a whole new world. A door closed can provide safety and protection. But have you ever given much thought to the hinge? 


Someone once said,
"A teacher is the hinge on which all teaching hangs."

Dear Teacher, 

       Whether you were in the classroom, your living room, or on a stage in an auditorium; whether you had eighteen faces looking to you from behind their desks, one child at your feet, or hundreds at the edge of their seats...YOU set an example, perfected your storytelling, inspired a generation, poured knowledge, shared wisdom, pointed the right direction, allowed creativity and individuality, trained in righteousness, asked the questions, stirred emotions, modeled diligence, directed a symphony, choreographed life's dance, introduced shades of color to budding artists, coached what it meant to be a team player, you opened countless doors and closed those necessary.  Because of who you were day after day, I am all that I was meant to be today. You were the hinge on which all of that teaching hung. You allowed Jesus to be the doorpost frame on whom you were fastened.

Sincerely,
a student who once sat at your feet

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8



a comfy sofa

Looking for an investment piece for your home?
I highly recommend a comfy sofa. This single piece of furniture welcomes guests to linger a while longer, and it's the best Sunday afternoon napping spot.


The profit from this investment? More investment. 

Our comfy sofa has held a daddy napping with little ones - until they grew too big! It cradles a mom with her children on either side for reading books and having early morning quiet times.

Our comfy sofa has the been the plopping spot for a young ladies Bible Study every Wednesday night for over three years. Gathered around God's Word, hot coffee (sometimes tea) in hand many tears were shared - some from heartaches, the rest from laughing and sharing joys.

Our comfy sofa has cushioned many missionaries as our family gathered to hear stories, learn from those serving in hard places, and pray with them.

Our comfy sofa has been the hang out spot for the "twenty something" crowd, aka the Big Kid Youth Group, where we dress outrageous, don't take ourselves too serious, and laugh a lot.

Our comfy sofa has welcomed soon to be husband & wife couples, where tough questions have been asked, sweet stories shared and young love abounds!
It's where the neighborhood children gather to play the wii, get a snack, and just be kids!

Our comfy sofa is audience seating for countless, special performances by our children, their cousins, and friends.
It's where life is shared.
This investment is more than a piece of furniture - it's inviting others into our home and into our lives. The real profit of more investment is priceless.
Be wise with your spending, get an investment piece. Are you inviting others into your life?


sometimes, it's just too heavy

Have you ever noticed that children are the best question askers? They do not beat around the bush, they just ask it! Favorite question around our home..."but why?"
I simply cannot jump on the band wagon of "because I said so," especially to the "BUT WHY's?" to the serious, hard questions. Yet there are times when the WHY is just too heavy.

No doubt you have, if not you will, receive the "but why" when it comes to decisions that you make as parents that affect your family -whether it is relocating, downsizing, or a moral question where the answer is simple, but the weight of it heavy.
So recently when a decision of change came into our family and the "but why?" followed, I drew from the wisdom of another parent. Corrie Ten Boom's father, his response when she asked a question that at her tender age required too heavy an answer:

"And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sexsin?"
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor. Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning. It's too heavy," I said.
Yes," he said, "and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."  excerpt from The Hiding Place
Be encouraged that when the difficult questions come, God will give you the right words. Sometimes our words may need to be few so that we do not give our children such a heavy load to carry. 
Oh, and that heavy bag that you and I, as adults, try to carry...our heavenly father wants to carry that for us too!

Deep calls to Deep


"Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, 
and at night his song is with me, 
a prayer to the God of my life."
Psalm 42:7 & 8

Along the treacherous path we hiked. Even in the midst of the rugged terrain is the beauty of God's handiwork in the delicate flowers. So it is in life's journey that during difficult times, destination unknown, that beauty arises, a psalm in the heart.


As the hike continued - for over three miles, we were promised it would be worth it. Small glimpses of beauty along the way were nice, but there was still uncertainty and thoughts of "Is this worth it?" Then as deep calls to deep, we heard the distance roar of His waterfalls. This psalm was living and active for me, reminding me of his steadfast love and that  his song is with me.

refreshed in the Nauyaka Falls in Costa Rica!

Indeed his breakers and waves have gone over me...my prayer to the God of my life will be rejoicing with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. Thankful for my God who knows my heart, hears my cries and because of His great love shows me his beauty and allowed me to experience the psalmists words in a tangible way.

Listen for the roar of his waterfalls, be content to let his waves go over you. He knows your heart and hears your cries.

family missions together

we love missions, near us or abroad. My husband gets to travel all over, loving on orphans and encouraging those called to serve in hard places - he loves it. I have opportunities to travel abroad speak to women, teens and teach children God's truths - I love it. Nothing tops getting to do this as a family. We know this is a tremendous blessing!

Taking our children with us is huge for us. We have been asked, "But what can you REALLY do when you have your children with you?" My answer: be a family.
Many that we have the opportunity to serve are not surrounded by healthy families. The children we get to love on do not see many outside dad's and mom's just getting to be dad and mom. The women I share with are often wives and moms - in need of encouragement.

Our children get to serve by playing - tough job, but somebody's got to do it!
When in India our son played cricket, soccer, and just got to be himself. He couldn't communicate because he doesn't speak Tamil and the children didn't speak English. In Costa Rica the boys speak Spanish. Thankfully for boys grunts are universal and sports are an automatic connection.

Man Time with boys - playing soccer, devo time & ice cream!

Our daughter loves to hold the little one's. In India, most of the time there was a child on her hip. In Haiti, she smiled, held them and played. In Costa Rica she smiled, held them and played.
playing & loving on the little ones

If you have been thinking of going on a family mission trip - stop thinking and start planning. It's not as easy as going solo...but the worthwhile things in life are rarely the easy ones!