I grew up the second of four children. I can remember once a comedian saying that he and his family were always at the church - "if the janitor was washing the windows, we were there in our pew praying". This too would apply to the Wilson clan. Even before my siblings and I came a long, my parents were incredible Christians. As they raised their four children they stayed close to the church and VERY involved. This of course was the worst thing parents could be when I was about 14-17. I, like many teens who have been raised in the church, fought and fought to not go. My parents really didn't leave many options when it came to attending church. But my real sob story is that we never took "normal" family vacations.
Since the time I was very young, pretty much every one of our family vacations was a mission trip with our church. As a child this seemed pretty much like my parents were trying very hard to torture me. We would not travel to the beach, or Disneyland, or snow skiing trips, or for relaxing-kick-your-feet up by the pool vacations...instead the vacations were full of cutting soup labels for Red Bird Mission, digging post holes, sleeping in nasty cabins with even worse bathrooms, eating processed-cook-for-250-people-at-a-time meals. And to top it off most of the time we were the only kids on these trips, so we spend time with all the "old people".
I didn't realize at the time that my parents were teaching me physical service to God. They were probably praying at the time that these trips would encourage their children to understand what it meant to be called into mission by Christ.
And I can tell you: IT WORKED!
Little did I know at the time that into my adult life I would be using my vacation time from work to travel to some of these same places to serve (now, because I want to), I understand that even the seemingly unimportant job (like cutting soup labels) is so important to people who are constantly striving to serve the less fortunate, that those cabins, bathrooms, and meals would be life-long reminders to be thankful for all that I am blessed with - afterall I have seen people living in those all the time and some living ini conditions much worse, and that those "old people" would turn out to be some of my best Christian mentors and friends.
I can not fit the words into a post on how thankful I am to my parents for teaching us what it means to serve. As I look back over these mission trips I can now see that my parents were teaching not torturing. They embodied the idea of teaching by example. Some of my most treasured memories growing up have happened on mission trips and these are memories that my immediate family as well as my church missions family will be able to share forever.
Missions will forever be an important part of my Christian faith, and I have no one to thank for that except my parents. They made so many sacrifices I am sure to follow God's call on their hearts to take their family on so many mission opportunities.
I could probably post for weeks other acts of Christ that my parents have shown to me over the years. My mom and dad aren't perfect, this I know, but at the end of the day I know that they put Christ first and try their best to live for Him. Because of them I now do the same. I have had many people in my life who have impacted me for the Kingdom, but none hold a candle to the job my parents did and still do in loving me as Christ does.
My parents and I got to visit my brother, Andrew, while he was on a mission trip to New Zealand!
My grandma, mom, sister and I on Ladies Mission Trip 2008!
Thank you for blessing me with incredible earthly parents. I ask that you would allow us many more days of service together. And that all missions trips, close or far, from the past or in the future, would bring glory to your name. Amen