November 20, 2009

Youth With a Mission: Teaching My Children a Valuable Life Lesson

This week something amazing happened, granting me the opportunity to teach a life lesson to my children. Let me explain:

Last Sunday, three college-aged youth stopped by our church offering their services to anyone in the congregation needing “help”. Most of the congregation didn’t know what to ask for, in fact many members simply chatted with the three newcomers. In my brief talk with one of them however, I realized that they had slept in their car and had a jar of peanut butter to eat for the week – the mother in me immediately jumped forth as I invited them to dinner and someplace to stay the next night.

Several friends and family members worried that I had invited strangers into our home, however it just felt right. The three “kids” (as my son called them) were with the youth group Youth With A Mission in Dayton, Ohio and were planning a mission to India at the end of December to help – orphans, prostitutes, teens, families - Whomever they could. The reason for their visit here was in preparation for their trip; They were given a car with a full tank of gas and $20, half of which they had to give away. They were then told to go wherever they could within a 600 mile radius to “help” people and spread God’s word. I presume this is to prepare them for what they might experience in a different country with different cultures - This group of three luckily ended up in Belleville.

Tony, Sean and Becca showed up at our doorstep around 5:00 Monday night and immediately asked what they could “do” for me, to which I replied “Nothing”. I did give in and say they could help my son learn a song to which they readily agreed and grabbed a guitar from the car. For the next few hours they talked with played with my children, and then ate dinner with us all. I could tell though that they were expecting to “do” something, as Sean asked multiple times, so at dinner I told them why I didn’t need help; I told them that be being here I was able to teach a lesson to my children about helping others when you expect nothing in return. I wasn’t sure it would sink in for Zach, my son is certainly learning to be a gracious host and all, but I just didn’t know if he would get the entire concept. Someday possibly he would be able to reflect on it though...
The next morning, without any other projects lined up, I invited them to my mother’s house. She had just had knee surgery and needed her one garden cut down and the yard waste bagged. Mom had a breakfast feast of bagels and cream cheese, sausages and OJ set out for them too – I shouldn't have worried about them going hungry! They helped her and visited for a while, then went off to help at the next place – Actually I was able to send them to a friend who is in the process of opening a non-profit maternity house for pregnant women without housing. They happily accepted that project as well.

On the way home from my moms though, is when the amazing happened. My son Zach said, “Mom I miss the kids? Will I see them again?” I told him that I didn’t know but said they were off helping people who needed help. “But mom, they didn’t help us.” Bing, bing, bing, he’d won the prize… “Well son, sometimes you help others even if you don’t get anything in return, you just help them because it is the right thing to do.” I couldn’t believe the opportunity had presented itself to discuss the events, with HIM opening the dialogue!

Moments like those are what being a mother is all about. Knowing that what I am teaching my children, often through example, is something they can hopefully understand and implement throughout their lives makes watching them grow and develop the most beautiful life experience for me!

photo 1: Tony Allen and Sean Powell watching a movie with Gabby & Zach
photo 2: Becca Heller helping Zach & Gabby with a project

1 comment:

  1. Tammy, Thank you for posting about the life lesson and our YWAM friends. Becca is a dear friend from our church. Thank you for helping them and finding ways for them to help others.