This morning, Rey, Noah and I went down to the cafeteria area on the floor below ours to have coffee with a group of Americans that was leaving at noon. Our pleasantries were interrupted by the arrival of a fellow missionary and the adult daughter of our downstairs neighbors. I will call her Mariela. As I greeted Mariela, I asked her how she was--noting it seemed she'd been crying and that there were dark circles under her eyes. She said she was good.
She asked if she could say something to the group. Now, this group has been coming down and supporting many works here in Fresnillo for over 10 years, so she has known them for awhile--if only from afar. Weeping, she first thanked the group for their faithful love and support, and then began to share of the deep hurt and pain she was feeling. Her father has been in ministry all her life, and she shared how her and her sister never felt like he had time for them. That they were always last on his list, never remembered. She said that they felt damaged, heart-broken and hurt. Mariela said just yesterday, her dad had told her he was sick of ministry and was just going to get out of it for good.
"If that is true, what value was all this??" she cried to us, "What did it matter all we suffered?"
As she poured out her heart to us, tears were also pouring down my own cheeks. You see, before deciding to go into ministry full-time, Rey and I agreed on one thing: Family before ministry. We can make all kinds of mistaken decisions, pour our time into wrong places--but what we invest in our children will never be in vain.
We all prayed over Mariela, asking God to pour out His healing love in her heart and lift her up. I prayed these things, and I also prayed that not one of my children would find themselves in her position 10, 15, 20 years from now.
Family is our ministry.