Delightful Deputation (Part 2) The Family
Maybe your definition of deputation looks more like this:
That time period when it's work, work, work, and nothing but sitting in a car or sitting in a hotel until you reach the field.
Um, well, deputation can be that for your family if you make it that way. But we had a totally different experience because deputation is what you make it.
Our definition looked more like this:
That time period when a missionary family travels around seeing things most people only see in books while they visit different churches.
While we were on deputation, we were in 21 States and two countries. After praying, we set a goal of two and a half years for our deputation, however, we made it clear that God was in control of our timing. If He wanted our deputation to take longer or shorter, then we would trust Him. Setting a goal helped us to stay focused, though. (I will let you know now, we reached the field in two and a half years. God blessed us so much.)
As we were travelling, if there was a site to see along our route, we took the time to see it. I mean, think about it. Travelling in a van for hours and hours every week is like duct taping your children to a wall for hours every week. That doesn't make for very fun childhood memories, and to much "duct tape" time can encourage bitterness to creep in the hearts of children. Just because you are on the road, doesn't mean you stop living. With a little planning and foresight, every trip is a potential adventure. And there are tons of adventures to be had that are very inexpensive or free without deviating very far off your path. There are also online coupons for many of these places.
Creation Museum in Kentucky
Do you homeschool your children? Well, you can have them read about the St. Louis Arch in a book...
(Boring!) Or you can stop in St. Louis on your way by.
St. Louis, MO
(By the way, the museum below the arch is wonderful!)
There are museums, zoos, landmarks, parks, monuments, and more all around the country. Deputation is an amazing educational opportunity for your children.
Creative Children's Museum, Chattanooga, TN
Hitting the Limits
We figured out our children's travelling maximum was about nine hours. That wasn't just when they starting getting bored or antsy. That was when they hit their emotional and physical limit. If a trip took longer than nine hours, we usually tried to divide it into two days. If there was a long trip, we also tried to plan some time outside the van. Time for some fun!
Niagara Falls on the way to Canada
Holes in the Schedule
Every now and then, we would have a dead spot in the calendar that we just could not fill. We would be too far from home to make a trip back before having to head to the next destination. Time for a memory-maker road trip! That's how we ended up in Washington, D.C., as we were heading to Maryland.
Host Church Adventures
Several churches had adventures already planned for us. Sometimes they were adventures for our family to spend alone, and other adventures were times for our family to spend time with other missionaries and/or the church family. We treasured both kinds of outings. We loved the family time, but we also loved getting to know the members of the church and the missionaries.
Boating in South Carolina
There were gators in there!
Enjoying the beauty of West Virginia
(Funny story... when the children found out we were going to be near Orlando, their first thought was Disney. We told them it was out of our price range. They said they would just pray about it. I must confess, I shrugged the prayer off thinking THAT would never happen. The next day, the host church called to say they one of their treats was to send us to Disney.)
Sometimes we were at a conference and would have nothing on schedule until the evening hours. If we discovered there was an interesting site nearby, we took advantage of it! Often we asked the pastor or church staff for suggestions of places to go. We wanted to get the children out of the hotel as much as possible.
Mount Airy, NC
Statue of Liberty
Exploring New York
As a result of planning ahead, a little flexibility, and a determination to get the children off the duct tape wall, we had a deputation that was full of fun, adventure, and fabulous memories. We are now on the field and enjoy reminiscing about this special period in our lives.
So now we have added to our definition of deputation:
An Opportunity to Grow Closer as a Family
An Opportunity for Education, Exploration, and Adventure
To be continued...
By Charity, Southern Asia