Day 23: Mission Stories



When my middle son Andrew was in third grade, I found a home school curriculum that I had never used before and wanted to try.  The year of learning was planned around the theme of “countries and cultures.”  Since it was a curriculum that had a Christian worldview, there were missionary stories and biographies to read as we studied the different continents.  We read Cameron Townsend while learning about missions to Mexico.  We read about Nate Saint and Elisabeth Elliot while studying South America.  We read about David Livingstone, Charles Ludwig, and Betty Greene while studying about Africa.  We read about George Muller and Mary Jones while we studied about Europe.  And we read about Gladys Aylward and William Carey while we studied about Asia.

Andrew loved making the paper model of Nate Saint's plane.  It didn’t take long into our first story, the exciting story of Nate Saint, for Andrew to begin saying he wanted to become a missionary when he grew up.

If you don’t know anything about Nate’s story, this is what happens.  He along with fellow missionaries to Ecuador, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Jim Elliot, are murdered by the tribe the attempt to make contact with.

The families of Nate Saint and Jim Elliot continue living their calling out in Ecuador.  They eventually are able to make contact with the tribe, offer their forgiveness for the deaths of their family members, and share the story of Jesus.  As members of the tribe accepted Christ as their savior, Steve Saint, the son of Nate Saint became friends and brothers in Christ with the men who killed his father.

It takes a certain amount of bravery as a mother to present the foreign mission field as a viable choice for your child’s future.

Andrew is now in 7th grade, and being a missionary is something he has not changed his mind about.  I realize that God may or may not eventually call Andrew into the mission field.

But I know that God has a plan for Andrew.  I can see him growing up into a great man of God.

If we let God write the story, he doesn’t always promise that all the chapters will be easy, but He does promise that in the last chapter, He will make sense of all the things that have happened in our life, even though some of them are terribly painful.
— Steve Saint, son of missionary Nate Saint

Am I willing to let God write Andrew’s story, even when there might be chapters of loss or hurt?

What choice do I have?  I could try to write my own story for Andrew, controlling his choices and options well into his twenties.  I can believe the illusion that the story that I could write for my son could be safe and good.

The truth is, the belief that we have any type of control over our life or our children’s life is a deception.  It is a fantasy.

We don’t have control over even our next breath.

...yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
— James 4:14 ESV

Today Hurricane Patricia, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere will make landfall on the western coast of Mexico.  The eye of the hurricane is hitting landfall at the town of Manzanillo, Mexico.

I have never been to Manzanillo, but James and I visited Puerto Vallarta just up the coast, 170 miles north.

One of my favorite things about that trip was taking the public transportation.  Riding with the locals from our hotel to downtown, we saw how the locals lived.  We saw some neighborhoods up in the mountains of the coast line.  Another day, we hiked down the coast, visiting four different beaches, see homes all along the way.

Millions of people live in the area that will be hit by this hurricane.

Right now my heart is breaking for mothers who live on that coast of Mexico.  I prayed all night that God would provide ways for those mothers to evacuate with their children and move inland.

The news is predicting devastation, flooding and mudslides, as the hurricane is making landfall as a category 5, much stronger than both Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Families that are able to evacuate will most likely not have anything to return to afterward.  The coastal towns will be uninhabitable for months.

Who does have control?  Our loving and merciful God does.

“Peace! Be still!”  These three words were uttered by our Lord, Jesus.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
— Mark 4:35-41 ESV

God could calm Hurricane Patricia with those three words.  Why He chooses not to, we don’t know.  We don’t get to see the last chapter until He is ready to reveil it to us.

How can I not put my trust in in someone who the wind and sea obeys?  Someone who laid down His life for me and for my son, Andrew?

All I know is that I want God to write Andrew’s story, not me.  And in writing Andrew’s story, God may use Andrew to rewrite many other stories.  And those stories are precious to me too. is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading!