When my children were babies, I already knew that I wanted to take them on a mission trip and I set a goal to take them when they were between the ages of 10-12. Many people might think that seems young, but I had learned in Bible college that a child’s worldview is generally in place by the time a child is 13. Additionally, I knew that mission trips have the potential to make a huge impact on a person’s life. I concluded that this would be the time for maximum impact on a my child’s spiritual life.
As my children grew, I found that there were many obstacles in the way to achieving my dream. However, when God wants something to happen, He will make it happen. Despite knowing that, I was uncertain and afraid at times.
I started planning early and began telling people about my interest in family missions when my children were toddlers. The problem I found, was that there were few opportunities for tweens to go on short-term, overseas missions. In addition to that, trips were pricey for one person, let alone for multiple people.
Since trip opportunities were limited, I kept my eyes open. At my suggestion CBOQ offered an opportunity, but it was offered before my kids were old enough to go. Thankfully, I learned that Samaritan’s Purse offers opportunities for children as young as 10 with Operation Christmas Child. This turned out to be perfect because our family had been packing boxes together for years.
In early 2017 I saw an opportunity for families to travel to Costa Rica. My daughter would be 10 at the time of the trip and I proposed that the two of us go together. My daughter was excited, and so was I, so I took a step of faith and I applied. I did so despite knowing how much it cost and also wondering about health concerns, since I had to communicate about an upcoming surgery. Even though I had my concerns, we were approved and I was on the hook for a $7000 bill.
I really do not like asking for money, and I had my concerns, but I believed in the mission and the opportunity it held for my daughter and I. Thankfully, I had a few ideas of how to pull this together. I was aware of grants I could apply for and I had my church community behind me.
People were excited to help and loved hearing about our motivation to go on mission as mother and daughter. I had people support us through an Epicure spice fundraiser; we had a paint night; I sold cards with artwork by my daughter and I; and I had other people offer to do fundraisers too. They came to me with all kinds of ideas; people wanted to do bake sales, craft sales, I one gentleman offered a promotion where he would do people’s taxes and match donations toward our trip.
One lady got creative and really wanted the kids to be involved. She needed help at the location where she helps raise assistant dogs and offered for some of our kids aged 7-14 to help pick up pine cones in the yard for a morning. She paid the kids a donation that they were able to give toward our trip. They worked for the money, but the kids also got to play with the dogs and they had a BBQ too.
(Astra from Golden Opportunity Assistance Dogs making a donation with Cortland looking on)
I also had people give donations directly to us. I had opportunities to talk about my trip and was supported by some Baptist women’s organizations, and one group who has regular fundraisers chose that our trip would be the recipient of their donations that year.
In the end, I was blown away by God’s provision. My fears should not have even been a worry at all, because we were intended to go. God walked with me through my health concerns and we were able to meet our financial goal (and more) within half of the time!
The trip was amazing too. It was such a blessing to be able to travel to Costa Rica with my daughter and to join so many other families. All together, we had 17 adults and 15 children and youth! We did God’s work together and we grew in our faith together. I am so glad that I took that step of faith despite my fears and allowed God to provide for such a wonderful and life-changing opportunity.
Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Jose, with Jasmine and I after we gave him our shoebox packed by our church’s Midweek program. (Photo Credit: Beatrice Mora)
Tina Rae is the Christian Education Specialist at Westview Baptist Church in London, ON.