As Father’s Day dawns this year, three of my children will be nearby. One, however, will be half-way around the world in South Asia. That’s not altogether unusual but Tim’s only 16. He’ll be on an extended mission trip (7 weeks total) with two other 16 year old men and a 21 year old advocate. This bold group of Kingdom adventurers is part of Fusion Impact.
Just two years ago Tim and I traveled together to South Asia on a father/son mission adventure. The time we spent traveling, serving and sharing together produced experiences, memories and changes that we’ll never forget. It also provided Tim with more context for him to own and personalize his faith in Christ.
There were funny moments… unusual food experiences, traveling by bus (WOW! You have to watch the video), and Tim’s mind wandering during serious group devotions… “Hey, are those coconuts?”.
There were challenging moments… We had everything ready to start the generator in one village to show the Jesus Film but the local Imam told our group leaders “There will be trouble in our village tomorrow if you do this. You need to leave.” The animated crowd surrounded our van as we packed up to leave and pulled out. Some were angry at the missed opportunity. Others were anxious to see us leave.
There were life-shaping moments… We shared the Gospel with many individuals in several villages where people were quite open and anxious to hear more. They were ready but we had to leave. We talked often about the enormity of the task but that our God is able and will accomplish His Will among these people.
The impact on Tim has been pretty exciting. He’s bolder now, more confident in sharing his faith and he has unique perspective compared to many of his peers.
One of my favorite examples is from his World History class last year. His teacher was explaining monotheism and polytheism. According to Tim, at a lull in the lecture, he raised his hand and started to compare and contrast Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The teacher finally asked, “How do you know so much about this?” His response… “I went on a mission trip with my Dad last year. I’m a Christian, but I’ve been in a Mosque, I’ve been in a Hindu temple and I’ve talked personally to Imams and Swamis. I’ve heard the call to prayer and seen men and young boys gather to pray to Allah. I’ve seen Hindus worship and experienced their culture.” He became the resident “Missiologist” for his class and several others since.
I’m proud of my son and the other young men who will journey together for the sake of the gospel advancement this summer. In each case, their families have invested strategically in their sons to point them toward Christ and develop a heart for adventurous mission. I expect this will only be the first of many Father’s Days when I and their dads wake up and pray for a son who is on another continent for the sake of the King.