After a day of driving and making deliveries, Doug asked Lilly, “Where would you like to eat?” He had taken her to work with him that day. There were plenty of options in the big city of Dallas. Lilly chose Italian.
Just any old pizza place wouldn’t do. Doug wanted to turn this into a date with his daughter. And, it was also a chance to immerse together in the culture of our future place of service. So, with some guidance from Google, an authentic Italian ristorante became the destination.
“Daddy, why are lights dimmer in here?” Lilly asked, as she scanned what seemed to be a much more sophisticated eating establishment than McDonalds.
“Because we’re on a date!” He replied. And, then, for almost an hour he engaged her heart. Telling her what a date was like. Showing her what someone does when he wants to make a girl feel special. And, helping her invite the culture into her olfactory senses.
Behind, the conspicuous, green t-shirt with large letters that read “PIZZA EVERY DAY” was the heart of an 8-year-old girl, beating with love. Love for Jesus. Love for her daddy. Love for adventure. And, the sparkle in her eyes told him she was ready for the adventure. She didn’t need to know every detail. She had no idea all that her Heavenly Father had in store over the next year as he engaged her in more ways than Doug ever could. She would be making disciples in an Italian context. Sharing in the family business.
After exchanging basic Italian phrases with the waitress and finishing her cheese pizza, Lilly was beaming. The idea of working for God in this kind of experience excited her. We pray for this feeling to grow in each of our children. From dates like this to singing worship songs with mommy at community group meetings to telling other kids about Italy, we see them growing. As parents, we get the joy of bringing then along with us and letting them see the hand of God move.
This is as much a calling for them as it is for us. God will use them as instruments in a natural way through their gifts and unique personalities to build His kingdom. Through struggling in class to learn Italian or playing with the kids across the street, they will create passageways for bridge building. Perhaps without realizing it, they will be sharing Christ. And we will be fanning that flame.
And, you get to see this too. You are part of our family. As we grow, you can grow. As we prepare, you can prepare. When we make Italian disciples, you can celebrate with us. Just as we are engaging our children, we hope to engage you in the sights and sounds and experiences of serving Jesus in a country which needs the Gospel. In a sense, we want to take you on a cultural date. On that date, we want to help you breathe in what we are doing. And, hopefully to join with us in the work.