Back in campus when I was studying for my undergraduate there is a book we had to read for one of the courses – Peace Child by a missionary Don Richardson. The book is one fascinating read, I tell you. It spells more like a high energy fictitious Hollywood drama; only thing is its real.
Peace child is a book about a Christian couple Don and Carol Richardson’s missionary work among the Sawi people of New Guinea. The Sawi people had changed little in over one thousand years. They were untouched by outside forces and their language was unknown. Their daily chores were routine. Half of their babies died before reaching childhood. Death was frequent among them due to diseases and wars. They idealized treachery as part of their view of life that is forming friendships with the express purpose of later betraying the befriended one to be killed and eaten. They called it “ fattening with friendship for slaughter”.
It is in this setting that the white people “Tuans” both the colonizers and the missionaries start penetrating the interior of New Guinea. Using the analogy of the ‘peace child’ Don is finally able to reach the Sawi with the Good News about Jesus Christ. Don concludes the book by saying that it would be unwise to think that the Sawi people would continue to be alienated from the outside world any longer. Sooner or later forces from without would penetrate them but he thanked God that the gospel of Christ got to the Sawi people first.
That thought, that statement right there has stuck with me since I first read that book (and I have reread peace child countless times). It has also formed part of my convictions as regards missions, witnessing, and most definitely bringing up my children. Especially when it comes to children and the ‘unreached’ this idea of first influence becoming the standard for all other influences thereafter is profound.
I have observed it firsthand having been literally born and bred in the church; God’s Word and generally Christianity is my default filter for everything! I pause to imagine what a treasure it will be to my children seeing that I am giving them the same gift – exposing them to God’s Word –
These commandments that I am giving you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8)
It is never too early to teach our children about God, about our faith, and our way of life. I am reminded of my Biblical Theology teacher. We had a debate in class one day as regards infant baptism, I have since become a convert to the same ??. His main argument was basically that: as believers we should stop looking at our children like far away missionary lands especially those in the 10/40 window – closed up to Jesus Christ and never heard of Him. Our children are ours, they belong to us, and we belong to God therefore they belong to God. They actually don’t have much of a choice, they’re Christians by birth and by intentional upbringing with continuous prayer that when they are of age they will make a personal confession of this faith!
This idea that we will wait until our children are grown up and are cognitive to tell them about the Gospel is in my opinion a sly lie from the enemy. Why? By the time they reach a ‘favourable’ age to hear about Jesus they will already have been influenced by the world, and that will become the standard by which they filter everything else including the Good News! What a tragedy, to have a ready, ripe soil for planting the eternal seeds of God’s Word and then pass that golden opportunity waiting for cognitive abilities. God forbid!
That’s why I am indoctrinating mine by daily teaching them prayers, how to pray and the Word of God. By taking them to church, BSF and of late Sunday school and discussing the lessons thereafter. Memorizing God’s Word together, answering their questions as they come along (One of the most frequent question from my daughter is – Mommy why do we have to pray every day?). I am deliberately, prayerfully and consciously setting a standard for them and God’s Word is that standard. Everything else will be filtered through it!
I belong to God, my husband belongs to God, our children belong to us and because we belong to God they belong to God!
#BeBoldForChange – IWD 2017