One of the things we rarely talk about as Christian parents is how to know if God is calling your child to live in a mission field. Granted, the entire world is a mission field, but I am talking about ministering to others in another country.
Short term mission work is a part of many youth ministries. Some teens and young adults feel drawn to the drama and excitement living in another country might provide. For those who have ever gone for several weeks without clean drinking water and avoiding insect bites which most likely carry horrible diseases, you know life in the mission field can be anything but glamorous.
There’s a great new book Made for the Journey by Elisabeth Elliot, that should be a must read for all Christian teens. Reading the book, it seems it could have been written about today as well as the 1950’s when it actually happened. It takes place in Ecuador, but could easily happen in many countries around the world.
Elliot shares her experiences in her first year as a missionary in Ecuador. Perhaps best of all, she shares her honest reactions. Life definitely wasn’t glamorous for her and it caused her to have emotional, mental and spiritual challenges.
Even though the epilogue has a happy ending of sorts, her original story in the 1950’s ends the way many sessions in the mission field do – with the missionaries having no idea if they really did what God wanted them to do or if they made a positive difference. Her conclusion that ultimately, it is our trust and faith in God that matters is important. As well as her sharing how others years later benefitted from hearing her stories of that time.
This is a great book to read with your teens and discuss. How can we know how God wants us to serve Him? How can we address the same issues about culture and faith with which she struggled? There are no easy answers and that’s why it’s important to start having these conversations when your kids are still at home.
Even if your kids aren’t interested in mission work, this is an interesting read of life in Ecuador’s jungle in the 1950’s. Adults will enjoy it for the story and for the way it causes you to think about your faith walk. It should be a classic for Christian readers.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.