Monday, September 9, 2013

Missionary Monday ~ Deputation with Kids

Keeping Deputation Fun
Let me begin by letting you know that I am not an expert deputation-er!  Most of the things I wanted to share have come from the advice of the many wise missionaries that I have come to know.  I have read many missionary books, but nothing compares to actually having the opportunity to sit with a missionary that has already been serving for many years.  I love to hear their experiences and pick their brain with the millions of questions I have.

This is going to be a brief list of the tips that have been shared with me that have really made a difference and helped our family along on this deputation journey.

1.  Decide to have an Adventure!
An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
Engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory: "they had adventured into the forest".

Deputation is an exciting journey.  You're embarking into the unknown.  You have no idea what lies ahead - but that's what makes it so exciting!

Attitude is everything - and we determined early on that we DID NOT want to be miserable for two years!!  We got our children (and ourselves) excited about traveling America and told them of all the adventures we were going to have.  Deputation has really been the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us!

2.  Stay close in your walk with the Lord.

This is the most important of all.  You have to stay on top of your devotions!  This is the only way to keep your attitude right.  Keep your eyes on the Lord and keep trusting Him.

3.  Have fun whenever you can - especially if you have older children.

Deputation can become very stressful, very dull, and routine if you don't find things to break up the monotony. Don't drive past the Grand Canyon and Mt. Rushmore and not take an hour to look at it!!!  That's crazy.  And it will be embarrassing for your children when people ask them what they saw when they visited Arizona and all they can say is "The Church Parking lot!"  America is beautiful; take time when you can to see some it.  If you have a day, take a day.  Mostly, we stop for an hour and then have to keep driving!  But that is plenty for our kids and for our sanity!

4.  Don't compare churches/conferences or yourself to other missionaries. (2 Cor. 10:12)

The fastest way to lose your joy is to start comparing yourself to other missionaries and start questioning "Why isn't God blessing us as much as them?"....oh, you don't want to start down that road and give Satan a stronghold in your heart.  It WILL ruin your deputation experience and can make you very bitter.

You also don't want to compare churches.  All churches are different!  Enjoy each one; there is something to learn and something to enjoy at each one.  We don't allow our children to compare churches/ conferences either. If you allow them too, they will develop a critical spirit and not appreciate what they have.  Make every church an exciting experience!

5. Find opportunities to serve.

This can be really hard sometimes.  Some churches want to serve us and be a blessing.  If you come from a church where you were always busy serving others, it can be very awkward and humbling to be served. 

Use your gifts and talents freely at the churches you visit.  Whatever it is that you are good at - do it.  Singing, playing an instrument, cooking, cleaning, photography, graphic design, etc. It will be a blessing to others and it will encourage you to be serving others.

Let your children serve.  Find opportunities for them to serve.  It will help them stay balanced and not think that they are Kings to be served.

6.  We are not Home-Schooling at HOME!

I learned this one the hard way.  I wanted to keep the same routine and rhythm or life as we did when we lived in a house.  HAHA   So I was waking my kids up at 7:30am having them go out for their morning walks and starting school at you can imagine I was a VERY frustrated mama, and my poor kids were VERY stressed out...

Our first school-year on deputation was horrible.  This school-year has been wonderful, and we are on pace to be done in April!  What did we do differently?  We started the second week of August, and we have been  flexible with school start times.  We begin when we begin.  If we take a day off, we make it up on Saturday.  WE NEVER DO SCHOOL ON SUNDAY!  Sundays are so long already; the kids need a "day of rest" as much as we do.  If I see we are falling behind, we add an extra lesson or two every day until we are caught up.  We take field trips anytime available.  We have reasonable expectations of the kids and ourselves.  Even with a much more relaxed and flexible approach, we will still get done early this year!

7. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all

This is can be hard when you want to rant or complain to your husband, children or others around you.  This is very destructive.  Not only will it discourage your children and husband, but it will begin a root of bitterness in you.  Not all of deputation is glorious, but we will have a much harder time keeping deputation fun for our family after we've just let all these negative feelings out.  You might feel better, but your family won't...

Complaining is also discouraging to other missionaries wives and pastor's wives.  Complaining just doesn't accomplish anything good - so when the feelings are bubbling inside, let's take them to the Lord.  (Phil.4:8)

8.  LAUGH!

You are going to have some crazy experiences - and you just have to laugh at them.  Don't take anything too seriously.  (If you'd like to hear some of my crazy stories visit )

9. Work and Play Hard. 

When it's time to work, we work hard!  But our kids know when it's time to play that they have our undivided attention and we're going to have fun.  Whether it's playing Clue in the dark or skiing - we are going to have all the fun we can and enjoy our family.

10. Meet up with other missionaries when you can.

This helps keep me to stay encouraged (as long as we're following tip #7).  It's such a blessing to be around others who understand us!  We love sharing our funny stories and encouraging each other in the Lord.  

11. Don't go to pieces over your weight.

Walk, run, watch your what you can; but at the end of the day, don't let that be what Satan uses to make you hate deputation.

12. Keep a journal.

I love looking back in my journal and reading the funny stories and also how God delivered us out of different trials!

13.  Collect ideas  - you will be running a church one day.

14.  Listen to veteran missionaries.

I love talking to missionaries who have already done what I'm praying the Lord will do through us.  They have sooo much wisdom and advice.  I have befriended several of these ladies and email them.  I think it encourages them as much as it blesses me.

15. Give yourself to others.

Love the church you're in, and give your heart to the people.  Don't be afraid to make friends.  My children and I cry many times when we leave churches, but we've made real friends along the way.

16.  Do anything you can to stay out of a rut!

Get creative and try to stay out of a rut.  We try to "Taste" all the States and places we visit.  We try to visit something interesting where we are, we hike, collect rocks, takes pictures.  We buy new board games...   Constantly be looking for something fun, interesting, and new to do.

17.  Have something you're learning.

Have something you're working on to keep your mind from getting bored.  I'm working at piano, graphics design, and baking/cooking from scratch.  Becca is learning the accordion, how to cook, how to sew.  Brian is learning the guitar and how to work on cars.  Jonathan is learning the ukulele, mandolin, and mechanical skills.  Steven is learning how to read, put Legos together, and clean.  My husband is studying the history of the DR and learning Spanish.

18.  Catalog your journey in pictures.

On New Years' Eve last year, I made a slide show movie of our entire year!  It was 45 min. long and had comments and music in it.  What  a great way to kick of the New Year counting our blessings and getting excited about the new adventures that lie ahead! We were amazed at the incredible journey we made and all the people we met!  We plan on doing this every year.

19.  Read good books, listen to sermons, and collect good music.

Deputation gives ample opportunity for these, and they will be an encouragement to us.

20. Be sensitive to your kids' needs.

Keep close to your children; sense what their needs are and adjust accordingly.  Maybe the kids are too tired to go out to eat after having been in church for 21 days straight!  

We watch our kids and take cues from them.  Sometimes Chad will leave us home (RV) while he goes out to eat  if the kids are needing a break from people.  Happy children make deputation a whole lot more fun!

These are just some things that have been a help to our family.  I hope that you will add some ideas too!  I would love to hear what you're doing to keep deputation fun and exciting!
Guest post written by Cynthia Pape, missionary to the Dominican Republic.  You can read about their adventures here.


Lou Ann Keiser said...

Wonderful advice. I remember when our kids knew where we had been by the color of the church carpet or whether or not the church had a balcony. We decided it needed to be a better experience than that, and we started to do fun things with them between and when possible. All that you mentioned is hard to do at once if you have a full deputation schedule, but each of the ideas is good and profitable. I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to peeking at your blog. God bless you!

Carol S. said...

Excellent post! I think many of these tips can be applied to any life situation - make time for fun and to laugh, take cues from your kids, journaling, etc. Thankful for your sweet spirit that shines through in this post.

Rachelle Metzger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachelle Metzger said...

Thank you for this post. It's such a good reminder that we aren't the only ones and that we are doing something right by following other's advice to be flexible and have fun! Going on 15 months now- headed to Argentina!