Table Talk

It’s my fault really. If I hadn’t chosen a curriculum that emphasizes missionary work . . . Or if I sent the kids to school instead of homeschooling them . . . Or if Don and I weren’t so heavily involved in missionary work . . .

How could I have known it would get implanted in her head to such a degree?

Around the Table

I’m not sure how the conversation started, but the four of us, Kenneth, Melinda, Don and I, were sitting around the table, as we often are. It could have been lunch or supper. At any rate, Kenneth asked a question, as he often does. He wanted to know what Don meant. The general topic of discussion had to do with trusting God and following Him wherever He leads.  After Don’s explanation, he asked if we heard God instructing us in a particular area.

Very softly and solemnly Melinda began to speak. That in itself is unusual—she is typically quiet at the dinner table, mostly because she can’t get a word in edgewise—especially if the older ones are present. If she isn’t quiet, she’s giggling. But she wasn’t giggling now. I could tell by the look on her face she had given a lot of thought to whatever she was about to say. “How would you feel if I told you I think God wants me to be a missionary?”

Cautious Response

I took a deep breath. I didn’t want my “reaction” to give any of my panicky thoughts away. (Selfishly I was thinking, Really? There goes my last hope of someone taking care of me in my old age.) This topic has come up before, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But this time it was more sincere, more final. Now, I realize she is only ten and may change her mind many times before she actually walks onto a mission field; but it’s her reality at present. I didn’t want to squelch or diminish her insight. I told her I’d be happy and sad, but we want her to follow God wherever He leads. (I also reminded her she may have to search for a husband who shares her calling.)

Missionary Books

As I reflect on this discussion, I am proud. Mostly because she is contemplating the possibility of missionary work. At her age all I thought about was boys. I guess reading about William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and Hudson Taylor made an impression. Insisting on listening to missionaries speak at our church and observing her dad pack up and take mission trips all over the world impacted her life. Somewhere, somehow, in the midst of raising my children something sunk in.

Melinda with Bontha, Missionary in IndiaOctober 2011

Melinda with Bontha, Missionary in India
October 2011


12 thoughts on “Table Talk

  1. Wow that was powerful and certainly makes you think about what you have been doing with the family.  She sounds serious and what a good thing.  Love ya


  2. My heart is with you in this journey Barb and I will be praying for Melinda AND for you. I knew very early on that Cam and Canaan both would be in Missions. Cam from a very early age just truly loved God and had such strong convictions far beyond his years. But Canaan really blew me away when he was 9. We had also read those books on missionaries but then someone gave us a video from maybe the martyrs? I almost didn’t let him watch it because it was so graphic and about all that was happening in Sudan at that time. He wept and kept asking how this could happen and why no one was doing anything about it and stated then that he would one day go to Africa. A few years later at 12, he met an African missionary visiting friends in Sterling. He visited at length with the man and the man offered to take him back to Africa with him. This man believed there was no age limit if one has a call on their life. I as a mother of course disagreed:) Canaan was soooooo upset with me. But 6 years later off he went to Africa and eventually will be living there full time right along side his brother Cameron. I am so proud of them and grateful to God but at the same time find myself often feeling almost as if I am grieving. All the visions I had of having kids close and family get togethers and helping to raise grand babies has gone out the window. And now Colin is also in TN attending school at G.O.D. Intl. and he may also be living in Africa eventually. I could not be prouder but also not be sadder. Such a strange combination of emotions let me tell you. And she will find a spouse with the same burden and calling and vision. Cam and Canaan are both married to women who are on board and right there with them and Colin now has a girlfriend who looks to be a “keeper”. Hugs you!


    • Trudee – Thanks for sharing! You captured my feelings perfectly! Family is so important to me and I hope to someday live close to my grandkids and cuddle them and spoil them. That won’t be so easy if they are scattered all over the world. On the other hand how could I possibly deny such a noble and heartfelt calling.

      It was so good to hear about your family. Thanks so much!


  3. Beautiful photo of Melinda with Bontha! And a good reminder of the sacrifices so many have made to spread the Good News. Can you imagine what it must have been like for families before air travel, inexpensive phone calls and email?


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