The gift of giving!

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I have been leading missions’ trips for the past 14 years. There are numerous life changing moments that happen on these trips. One of my favorites’ is the interaction between parents and their children during ministry. There is something very special that happens when a parent is able to watch their child pray, interact with and give hope to others. I get to see the joy on parents’ faces as they see their child minister, and then in turn we all get to witness how it causes them to bond in a deeper way.

My own life changing moment came sooner than I expected with my daughter Summer. It began with a conversation that I had with her after I returned from trips to Panama and Peru. She expressed to me that she wanted to go on a trip so badly, but she knew that she was only 8. I was accustomed to taking teams primarily of teens and adults. Spiritually, I really believed she was ready for the challenge, but I wasn’t sure if physically she could handle the demands of a week long trip. She insisted that she could. So I told her we would think about the possibility of taking her to Nicaragua next year.
Well, that conversation started her mind churning and she started a blog to begin her road to Nicaragua. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and it became her passion. She ran lemonade stands for Nicaragua, she began knitting items for the children at the orphanage, and she began writing assignments for school where she talked about going to Nicaragua.
In July 2012, Amber and Summer came with me on our trip to Nicaragua. Summer got to give an illustrated message at the orphanage that she’d prepared for months, she participated in dramas with the team, and gave away all the things she made. The most impacting part of the trip came for her when we traveled to a feeding program where we got to share dramas and give testimonies. Summer saw a little girl without any shoes walk up for food and she had the opportunity to give her shoes to her. My heart jumped as I watched Summer take her shoes and socks off and place them on this girls feet. We’ve talked about this moment often, it’s something that she will never forget. The impact of family missions, both local and foreign, is life changing. Through the process of giving hope to others, individuals and families grow stronger themselves. It is an amazing experience that I would love for every family to have. I would encourage everyone to consider taking a missions’ trip with their child at some point during the years of their youth. I have experienced these moments with teens and most recently my own family. It is now my hope to help others experience even more.

written by Jeff Davidson (founder of Lastleaf)