Our Missionary… Maw-Maw

I wrote this post a couple of nights ago, not knowing when I was going to post it. This morning’s preaching was on being a missionary wherever you are…whether that be on a foreign field or your own hometown. So I thought this was a good day to post it. Also tonight after church, Matthew told me while eating his grilled cheese, “Mom, I can be a missionary to my family even while I’m a kid.” Someone was paying some attention, huh? =) He then told me how easy it would be…just give them a tract or ask them if they are saved. Exactly. My hope is that we’ll all work harder at this. We can look to our missionary as an example.

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Our Missionary

The night Meagan made public her surrender to the Lord’s call on her life to the mission field, I asked her if she’d like to call her great-grandmother and tell her the news.

“YEAH!!!”

she answered.

When we got home, Matthew said something like, “why do you want to call Maw-Maw?”

I replied, “Because she’s OUR missionary!”

And then it hit me. She really is. I mean originally I’d said it because we’d all grown up knowing the story of how Maw-Maw had been a missionary to Argentina when my mom was little, and so by “our missionary” I meant the missionary we knew personally, and best…for a long, long time the only one we knew at all.

As soon as I said it, though, I saw much more to it than that. Yes, she HAD been a missionary to Argentina when my mom was little. (All three of my uncles were born on the mission field.) When they came back to the States one time (on furlough??), though, my grandfather left her and the six kids. She did not return to the mission field…or rather not the SAME mission field.

I realized then that while she didn’t return as a missionary to Argentina, she did return to a mission field. Her family.

All throughout my life, the first person I’ve thought of when I think of a Christian has been my Maw-Maw. When I look back and think about the person I’ve known to be a Christian the longest…it’s Maw-Maw.

I can’t remember a time I did not view her as a Christian. I can not remember a time when I did not know she loved Jesus. I can not remember a time when she wasn’t SHARING WITH OTHERS that Jesus loved them, too. I can not remember a time when she wasn’t influential in my life.

Even when I was at my punkiest worst, it still bothered me to think about Maw-Maw knowing how horrible I was being. She became the standard to which I held up my behavior… “Is this something I would want Maw-Maw knowing I did/said/read/etc?” Even if the answer was no AND I STILL DID IT ANYWAY (which I’m ashamed to say happened a lot in my teens…) the question was still in the back of my mind.

When I got saved and started my new life as a Christian, it was HER life as a Christian that I tried to model my own after. I tried to think about what I knew about being a Christian…that is, I tried to think about what I knew about Maw-Maw being a Christian. What did she do? How did she handle things? React? When I wanted to turn my home into a Christian home, it was hers I looked to as a model. Her house resonated with bible songs in my mind. It was her home that housed the Christmas play in which I played Mary… her house where the whole extended family (when I was young there were a dozen grandkids, we’ve since swelled to 17??) met for family get-togethers where Maw-Maw had us all hold hands in a giant swirly-circle and prayed before we dug into the massive quantities of culinary goodness.

I also can’t remember a time when Maw-Maw was not actively sharing with ME and the rest of my generation the stories, songs, and lessons from the bible.

Maw-Maw took me to Sunday School, dressed up in my little girl finery, and then to Piccadilly’s for lunch and jello afterwards. Maw-Maw taught me the songs “Zacchaeus was a wee little man…” and “This is the day that the Lord has made…” and “Jesus loves me, this I know…” She taught me the little hand-rhyme about the church, the steeple, the doors, and the people. It was Maw-Maw who let me listen to her kids’ praise records for hours and hours at her house. It was Maw-Maw who had a little plastic box in the shape of a loaf of bread that housed bible verses. She taught me the wordless book. She sent me books about being a Christian girl as a young teen. She sent me tracts. It was Maw-Maw who sent me to church camp at 10 years old where I overhead a camp counselor telling a fellow camper that in order to go to Heaven we had to ask Jesus to forgive us.

All these little pieces, along with the bible verse (John 3:16) and the deep conviction that God would help us and never give us more than we could handle that my mom shared with me, added up and paid off when in the spring of 2000 I accepted Jesus as the Truth…and my Savior.

So you see, my grandmother really is OUR missionary. Her influence played such a huge part of my own salvation! She reached out of her home and to me (after a fashion…I was SO stubborn and bull-headed!) and it’s trickled down to my own children as well. Without her influence on me, I don’t know if I ever would have come to Jesus. And if I hadn’t…and hadn’t started teaching the kids…would they have ever come to know Jesus? I don’t know. I do know that we see her as OUR missionary.

That is why I thought it OH-SO special and sweet that Meagan surrendered to be a missionary on the night when we had a missionary family headed to… ARGENTINA! And more than that? They have 3 girls and 4 boys. (Maw-Maw had 3 and 3.) And even more than that?

I’d learned in an old newspaper (?) article that it was Maw-Maw who was called to the mission field first. I’d always assumed she kind of followed along… I also learned that where she ended up (Cordoba, near Buenos Aires) was not where she’d wanted to go. She’d wanted to go and reach the Indians up in the mountains of Argentina. Guess where the visiting missionary family is headed? Yup! =)

A most wonderful circle of coincidences. God seems to surround me in these circles often. I love being caught up in the middle of them. They’re so beautiful!

Thank you, Maw-Maw, for being my missionary!

I am so very thankful that the Lord blessed me with the family I have. I’m so grateful to have the grandmother that I do. She’s one of my heroes of faith.

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