A year ago, our church started ministering in a lower-income area of the city, actually located only a mile from our church. The children are beautiful, the people are friendly, but make no mistake – it’s a dangerous area. I can tell by the nervous faces of our Thai church members who go with us. They’ve heard the stories and they know what goes on in this area and they are protective of us farangs (white foreigners).
For the first few months we lived here, as any mother, I was NOT about to take my child into this area. When people first started visiting the district, I just stayed home with Josiah. Duh, I’m not putting him in danger. But the more adjusted Josiah became to Bangkok life and the more adjusted I became, I just really wanted to take him.
I remembered in Brazil, some of our friends took their then seven-year-old boy into a favella run by drug Lords. I remember how powerful it was to the people in the favella that we trusted and loved them enough to bring one of “our children” into their "neighborhood." It really impacted them and strengthened relationships. We all kept an eye on him of course, especially his mama, but we trusted God and ministry fruit came from it.
Of course BEFORE, I had Josiah, I was like “I’m totally bringing my kids into dangerous situations for the gospel” but then when I actually became a mom, I was like “You people are crazy! No way I'm ever doing that with my son.” It’s funny how much our zealous parenting philosophies change after we actually become parents.
|Photography courtesy of the amazing Brandon Tomlin|
Well I finally took Josiah into this area of Bangkok and it was actually so awesome. He did great and loved it. We’ve been a couple of times, and I can’t explain it. There’s a universal connection mothers have with our babies. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, what language you speak or the color of your skin – we ALL know what it’s like to chase a two year old around. We know about breastfeeding, we know about wet diapers, we know about the joy our children give us, we know the cries that annoy us and the cries that send us running to them. We understand each other. With Josiah at my side, I was able to hug and love on these mamas who are also chasing their babies. They laughed at me trying to speak Thai. It was just a ministry connection I could never have gotten on my own, without my son.
I continue to learn that it’s the Lord who protects our children. We spend so much energy protecting them from danger, but I’m reminded, the safest place to be is in the shadow of His wings. The most dangerous place to be is nestled inside the cheap security of our own making.
I’m not saying I’ll take Josiah every time or into every situation – I think God gives us common sense. But I do think he calls us to trust him. And as I’m learning, everything we have – our health, our money, our time, our possessions, even our precious babies - can allow us opportunities to share the love of Christ. I’m learning to hold it all loosely in my hands to the Lord; it’s his already anyway.