It seems like every week there is another news story about a child who is kidnapped or murdered. Parents are much more cautious with their children than our parents were with us. Most of us have probably trained our children from a young age to be wary of strangers and to memorize the phrase “stranger danger”.
As Christians, though, God has made it very clear he wants us to entertain strangers and help those who are possibly out of our comfort zone. The ministry of Jesus made it very clear that God does not want us to reject people who are different or maybe even a little scary. Jesus definitely set an example by reaching out to all kinds of people who would have been considered undesirable by the religious elite. He even had a tax collector and a Zealot as two of his apostles.
Our daughter is currently working on her Silver Award project for Girl Scouts. She is collecting hundreds of books and setting up libraries and a reading incentive program for the children in a children’s home in Mexico. Although the award only requires a service project of 40 hours, her completed project will take probably three times that amount of hours to complete. Yet she is excited and has managed the project with a flair and maturity well beyond her years. I believe this is not only because she has a passion for the project, but because of her love for the recipients.
When our daughter was two years old, she went on her first mini mission trip. We were vacationing in Mexico and went for the day to encourage a missionary family we knew in another town. Since then, we have been on numerous full length mission trips to help with a children’s home that was established in that city. Our daughter would move to Mexico in a heartbeat to help with the mission. The worst punishment we could give her would be to lengthen the time between our visits. In fact, we often joke that one day she will live with her future husband in Mexico as full time missionaries.