Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Missionary Training

We have a missionary in our family.  

Her sending date:  mid-August.  

Her sending agency:  Us.

Her destination:  Lusher Elementary School.

Her next two months:  Training for the field.

{Ava ready to be a flower girl a month ago.  How is it possible that my girl is old enough to go to school?} 

The past year has taken us through the craziness that is applying to public schools in New Orleans.  We applied to three of the incredible public schools in the city, all of which are open enrollment to anyone in our parish.  They each have a lottery since there are way more applicants than spots.  It was time consuming and a little stressful . . . and we trusted in God's sovereignty from the beginning . . . I can't imagine the families that are desperate for their child to get a good education and are just hoping to get lucky.

We went through all the lotteries and Ava didn't get it any of the three.  And we were fine with this.  We signed her up to go to Arthur Ashe, which is 3 blocks from our house and started buying uniforms.  

Then, two weeks ago, we got a call from Lusher.  Because of Ava's good score on their assessment test, she had been #2 on their waitlist.  Even so, we didn't expect her to get in because people don't typically give up a spot at such a great school.  We were shocked to hear them offer Ava a spot.  We took a few days to pray about it {the weight of this decision was more overwhelming than I expected}.  

We are confident after much prayer and wise counsel that God has opened this door for Ava to learn at Lusher and for our family to intentionally make disciples in the Lusher community.

We have talked with Ava about the fact that she will be a "missionary" at Lusher.  Don't worry . . . we're not heaping pressure on her.  But we do want her to understand that God calls us, even her, to be intentionally making disciples as we go about life, in all areas of life.  We want her to get a great education, but that is not our greatest goal for her life.  We want her to see {and we've got to show her} that her place at Lusher is for a purpose far greater than just her education.  Our family will now have the opportunity to encounter other families, students, and teachers who may not have heard the good news that Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

As you know, missionaries don't just get thrown on the mission field.  They go to training first.  Intensive training.  Our great friends JB and Liz have been at training the last few months before heading to Africa.  Ava has been faithful to pray for them as they prepare {she always prays for their language learning, which they haven't even started yet!}.  

This morning the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that we are her sending agency, but don't yet have an intentional training plan for Ava to prepare her for going to school.  

{The catalyst was a nightmare last night about Ava's first day of school.  I'm still having the "can't get my locker open" nightmares and I've been out of school for 14 years!  Now evidently I get to have them for my daughter too!}

So I spent time this morning praying and thinking about how to best use the next two months to prepare Ava for school.  Now here me . . . it isn't like we have never talked to Ava about Jesus or don't read the Bible with her.  We do.  But it is a whole other thing to think specifically about what Truth I want to make sure is hidden in her heart and mind as she steps foot in a whole new culture.

Our plan for now is to focus each week on one of the "I AM" statements of Jesus recorded in John.  {If anyone has any craft ideas or illustrations for any of these, feel free to pass it on!}  

Ava has also been very interested in my Scripture Memory System and has asked for one for herself.  It might be a little much for her, but since she's asking, we're going to give it a try. {She is a firstborn who loves structure and routine so it just might be perfect!}

That's a start, but I'm writing this because I know I'm not alone.  I know there are families who have already walked or are walking this road and have priceless wisdom to share.  And I know I'm not the only mama who would be grateful for practical ideas and insight for intentionally discipling our kids to be a light for Christ at school!  

So this is where you, my friends, come in!  I would love some wisdom, advice, and sharpening to be shared here!

What are some of the verses that have been most beneficial for your children to have memorized to deal with what they encounter at school?

What teachings from the Word have you focused on that have been practical and encouraging for your children?

What things have you intentionally done to prepare your little one's heart for engaging with children and teachers who don't know Christ?

As school begins, what do you do to keep the big picture in mind of making disciples . . . for your child and for your family?

What are the best ways that you have connected with teachers and parents that have opened doors to share the Gospel?

 Please share!  Life is so much better in community {even online community!} where we can spur one another on in our faith!


  1. this is great! i don't have wisdom to share but i love the intentionality of preparing her for school in this way! i can't wait to hear what others have to say!!

  2. Friend, I think your outlook on this is so great and I love the memory scripture piece of it! I think Ava will blow you away with the amount of Scripture she'll be able to hide in her heart. (I say this mostly from AWANA experiences where the kids learned memory verses, starting at 3 years old! Granted, they may have been a little simplified, but those kids truly put me to shame!) I love your ideas... press on!

  3. Leah you are so right! Ava already amazes me with what she memorizes ... I just want to be more intentional about what it is that is staying in her mind and heart! Thanks for your encouragement! And Jenny ... I was definitely hoping to get some wisdom for us on here!

  4. Cole I sure would love an update on Chad and Mrs. Tina. Still praying for your families. I pray Chad is sleeping and that Mrs. Tina is out of the hospital.