For Pastor Kevin Moore, just thinking about taking a missions trip to China was a stretch. The thought of not talking to his wife, Julia, and their four children for even two weeks would really push him beyond his comfort zone. But he knew this would be a great opportunity to create global awareness in his children and teach them how to be a ministry team.
"Julia and I sat down and talked about the trip and where I'd be going. She had mixed emotions at first, but as we prayed, she felt the same thing I did — that this was important to our family heritage," Kevin said. "I wanted to send our children a message that what we do for God is sometimes a lot bigger than ourselves or our family." So they devised a plan to involve the whole family in Kevin's trip.
When Kevin and Julia talked with the kids about China, Kevin blew up an inflatable globe, turned off the lights off and got a flashlight. They explained that Daddy would be on one side of the world while the kids and Mom would be on the other. He shined the flashlight on the globe to show how it would be daytime in China while nighttime in the United States. Then they looked at the time zones and the differences between America and China.
"We also traced my flight to Beijing," Kevin recalled. "Then I talked about the trip — visiting an orphanage and the children's hospital and all that. I took little puppet eyes and taped them to the globe to map out where we were going. The number of eyes corresponded to the number of days I would be gone."
"On the last night before I went to sleep, I took a tape recorder and recorded a message to them, reminding them about different prayer points. I wanted them to play an important part in this trip, not to just see it as 'Daddy's' trip. Then I blessed them and asked them to be there for Mom and help her out as much as they can," Kevin said. While Kevin was gone, Julia and the children prayed daily from the list he had left for them.
"In the evenings, to get our minds off Kevin's absence, we enjoyed lots of pizza and more dessert than normal," Julia said. "One thing that helped us was to pull out old family pictures and organize them for a scrapbook. Of course, Kevin was in many of the pictures, and we would have discussions about him being China, what he was doing and what fun we would have when he returned.
The two weeks in China away from comfort and family was still hard for Kevin. But well worth it. "God taught me that my family and I are a team and that the family heritage I began with this trip can reach many generations to come," Kevin said.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.