Every year, usually around the first of March, our mission-minded church has week when we focus almost exclusively on missions. This is a time when we celebrate the missionaries our church supports, and our congregation is challenged as to how they will participate in missions in the coming year: Will we choose to pray, give, or go? (In our family, it’s all three!)
To wrap up Missions Week, visiting full-time missionaries come speak to Sunday Bible study classes throughout our church to share about their ministries, how God is working, and so forth. This year an Austrian missionary named Wolfgang spoke to our class.
Wolfgang believes that Christian families are the hope of the world. In Europe, conversions to Christianity are far and few between. When the young people he works in sports ministry with come to know and follow Christ, he prays that they will someday choose to marry another Christ-follower and raise children in a loving Christian family. This may not be the most dramatic way to spread the gospel, but certainly a very powerful way.
Currently, the Muslim faith is growing quickly in Europe. Part of the reason is that their culture still believes in having large families. Wolfgang pointed out that somewhere along the way our Western culture stopped believing what God said in His word about children being a blessing; now our culture has become all about how not to have children, or at the very least, how to avoid having “too many” children.
When Wolfgang’s first two children were no longer little, he and his wife were praying about whether she should go back to her job as a teacher. One day she came to him and said she felt that it was more worthy in the eyes of the Lord for her to raise children than to go back to any job, even one as positive as teaching. And so, they had more children. And eventually, they also adopted twin boys. [Actually, they permanently foster the boys because in Austria, you cannot adopt if you have biological children of your own. Weird.]
Wolfgang reminded us that God intended us to have and want children! In his delightful Austrian accent and English-not-his-first-language wording, Wolfgang said this:
Be not afraid to have children!
Ken and I had been talking for quite some time before this about whether or not to grow our family, and when Wolfgang said these words, we looked at each other and knew we were both thinking the same thing. God is not subtle when He really wants to get a point across, and this was one of those times. Wolfgang’s words were the culmination of many God-nudges we’d been getting for a while. So: more children? It seems so! We don’t know exactly this will look like in our family, but I invite you to join us on the journey to find out.