My parents came to Chile as church-planting missionaries when I was six years old. I wish now that I could remember more details of what was involved in starting a new church, but I do have fond memories of that time in my childhood.
Even now when I hear certain songs like "Vengo a Adorar a Dios," I can close my eyes and picture the black and white tiles of our church building in Santiago with its lofty ceilings (it was a remodeled beautiful old house) and almost feel the cold air on a crisp Sunday morning. I can remember the times our group of believers was still so small that it was practically just our own family huddled around a space heater but there we were, faithfully present and serving.
|Eva serving with the Sunday bulletins|
I was practically the same age as the kids in the Sunday School class where I was "assistant" to the teacher (and in retrospect, I'm sure that may have been quite annoying to them.) I was younger than a teenager when I would gather up the babies and head to the sala cuna on the second floor to help entertain them during the service (but that was my favorite job of all.) As a teenager I was in the rotation for Bible reading, special music and Jr. Church. At fourteen I spent three or four weeks out of the summer living in the homes of other Christian families along with several other young people, as we provided a week of VBS for different churches. That was just part of "missionary kid" life, and for the most part I loved it all.
|Isabel serving in the church kitchen|
In fact, I have wanted my children to experience it as well. I want them to learn the blessing of serving the church - of being an active member of the body of Christ - at a young age.
Recently we encouraged our girls to look for ministries they could do to serve God in our church. For Isabel, who loves to help in the kitchen and interact with adults, the ministry of preparing our weekly "compartir" (after-church fellowship snack) was a perfect fit. She takes her job seriously as she counts out the juice packets, sets out the plates of cookies, and attempts to dictate serving sizes to hungry children in order to assure that everyone gets a bite to eat! Isabel was eager to serve and it has been a joy to see her begin to do so regularly in this way.
Eva's new ministry is preparing the church bulletins each Sunday morning. While she was perfectly content to spend the hour before church just relaxing with friends, we gently encouraged her to invest that time in service instead. Doing a tri-fold seventy times and inserting seventy visitor cards into bulletins could be somewhat tedious, but Eva likes to organize and can focus on details so we knew she would do a good job! Often her friends will join her to chat and help, so it is a win-win situation all around. :)
It is a privilege to serve God. I learn this more every day even now as an adult, and it is my hope and prayer that my children will truly learn and be blessed by this truth all throughout their lives!
"But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart;
consider what great things he has done for you."
-1 Samuel 12:24