My intelligent version of the word courage is:  finding the guts to do something you don’t feel too comfortable doing.

Now I will crack open Mr. Webster and see what he thinks.

Courage:  the ability to conquer fear; bravery, valor

When the word first pops into my head, I quickly associate it with the cowardly lion on Wizard of Oz or a soldier risking his/her life for our country.

I must confess that this is one trait that does not come to mind while praying for my children.  I guess it has something to do with the fact that my children have seldom been in situations involving much fear.  All three of them seem to take after their mother’s straightforwardness and don’t have a fear of people.  I know there have been a few minor bouts of fear for each of them but very few that have left scars on their hearts.  Most of their issues seem to be more about not having confidence.

My prayer is that my children will always “be strong and courageous” in their character and in their actions.  (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Like many of us, I know finding the courage to be bold in their faith anywhere and with anybody is not so easy.  My prayer is for them to have courage to stand up for what they believe in and have the guts to share their beliefs and ultimately lead others to the Lord.

Writing the previous paragraph reminded me of an event in Africa this summer.  Because Daddy was out and about in the communities working during the day and I was busy cooking for all the Americans, the children had freedom to have a summer to be kids.  They had various tasks but we were careful to preserve their childhood need to PLAY and gave them ample time to do so. We lived in a secure housing community with paved streets (won’t see that in the communities there) with few cars busying them so we allowed our kids freedom to ride their bikes and scooters about with Kaleigh (the boss’ daughter).  They loved the freedom and enjoyed bopping from one villa (house) to another.

One day the girls decided to grab trash bags and tidy up the streets.  They were not too dirty but this little activity kept them busy for hours.  After being gone for a while one afternoon, the girls came running into our villa out of breath and all three talking at once.  At first I was confused with all the jibberish.  I finally was able to interpret what had taken place. Road work was taking place the majority of the summer so there was a group of men moving about fixing potholes (in the most inefficient way I could have ever imagined – that is the African way).  There were also gardeners tending to their assigned lots.  Apparently a few of the men called out to the girls (makes you nervous, doesn’t it?) and inquired about them cleaning up.  “Why would you do that?”  they asked.  To make a long story short:  The girls explained that they wanted to help and wanted to be servants.  “But why?”  The girls then proceeded to share all about why we were in Zambia and eventually shared the plan of salvation.  That man, named Stephen, stopped right then and asked Jesus into his heart.

Did you catch that?

Three little girls stood before a Zambian man and spoke the TRUTH to him.  They were instrumental in planting a desire to know God.

The joy on their sweet faces was incredible and you can’t imagine the giggling and chattiness that came from it.  All three of them could not wait to tell their daddies.  They even got up during testimony time and shared.

Of course the husband and I were tickled and I know Kaleigh’s mom and dad were too.  They practiced their faith in the midst of just being kids.  But a thought occurred to us (both sets of parents).  Would they have done that in their neighborhoods in Texas?  Would they go home after 9 weeks in a third world country and still have the courage to share what they believe even when others don’t get it?

We sadly agreed that this most likely would not occur back in the good ole US of A. Our children felt more secure about sharing their faith to a stranger.  My heart was proud (don’t  get me wrong) but I have pondered ever since then the boldness of my children.  Will they be able to stand up for what they believe in all situations?  Will they be able to look into the eye of a peer and share their heart and even show mercy when things get ugly?  I have been convicted that it is easier to be a Christian in Zambia than here.  I prefer walking into the depths of the compounds and ministering to Africans than spending time listening to a neighbor pour her heart out to me as I unload the groceries.  Hmmm…..

May I have the courage to step out and conquer my fears of rejection, not getting things done on time, and not knowing what to say to those in pain.  I want my children to be bold, to have guts to do whatever it takes to carry out God’s plan for their lives.

Below are those three little gals welcoming more children into the Tree of Life Children’s Village:

The Lad AMAZED us with frequent testimony on how God was working in his life.  WOW!  This is the same little boy who would have NEVER thought about standing up and sharing his heart 2 years ago.

This is a random picture but shows another way we allowed the kids to just be kids a bit this summer.  Yes, the American Girl dolls traveled with us.

Kaleigh and Pumpkin with their Zambian partner, Mulenga.

Another snap (as they call a photo in Zambia) of the three girlies.

Did you know that the Bible contains 366 commands not to fear?  I pray that my children and I would heed that command each and every day . . . no matter where we are.

One Comment

  1. Ella Tracy
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    This is the most beautiful testimony of sharing Jesus! Praise the Lord that Stephen accepted the Lord!
    Love the snaps!

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