"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. ALL we have wanted for our children (career wise) is for them to love and serve the Lord..."
- Laurel Diacogiannis
I am honored to feature this special guest article, written by speaker and writer (and my good friend) Laurel Diacogiannis of A Journey of Faith. Laurel is a mission-minded homeschooling mother of 13 children (ages 7-24), including three adopted children from Ghana, West Africa. ~Ann Dunagan
Raising up Missionaries
Recently, someone asked me how I have raised up 3 children who have chosen to live overseas in service to the Lord. (I have one child serving the Lord in Argentina for the next 2 years; one in Jordan for the next 2 years; and one currently in India as part of a 6 month missions outreach.) This woman went on to say that it is exciting when even one child from a family chooses such a personal journey … but for 3 to choose a similar journey was quite unbelievable for her.
No, we did not tell our children, “When you grow up, you should be a missionary.” We did not focus all of our homeschool curriculum on missions (which would not at all have been a bad thing, it just wasn’t something that we thought of). So, what did we do?
- 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.
- We trusted God for financial provision, when having 13 children and a teacher’s salary don’t match up on the budget spreadsheet. 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.
- 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 (7 kids that year, I think), read the Trailblazer Books or Christian Heroes Then and Now series (both from YWAM Publishing) for their homeschool history course.
- We watched videos of missionaries. The Gladys Aylward story (The Inn of the Sixth Happiness) was our first, I think.
- We went to hear missionary speakers. Cassie told us at age 10 or 11 that she wanted to go to India, after hearing (and meeting) K.P. Yohannan. (And, that dream came true when she was 21, after previous trips to Haiti, Senegal, and The Gambia.)
- We supported missionaries. (We have supported Gospel for Asia, K.P. Yohannan’s ministry for over 15 years.)
- We took our family on Mission Trips. In 2001, we took all 9 children to work in inner-city Los Angeles for 10 days. We weren’t afraid to take them to the ghetto, to work at a church there. In 2006, we took all 10 children to New Orleans for 2 weeks. Just the other day, Elijah (who was only 4 at the time) asked me, “Mom, do you remember when we went to New Orleans and gave all the presents to the kids there?” We didn’t buy our children any Christmas Presents that year, but not one ever complained … they were filled with joy to be giving presents to the children in New Orleans.
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 have 3 young adults serving the Lord overseas, we also have 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.
This article is an excerpt from “What Does the Future Look Like for Our Children?”, first published on Laurel’s blog - "I'm Ghana Adopt."
For more about raising mission-minded children, and having a mission-minded family: