When I was growing up, in Missouri, I lived in a big farming community. It was very country...the good kind where you trust your neighbors and don't lock your front door. I heard about foreign missionaries at church but didn't get many chances to meet them in real life. Mrs. Jeanie Barbier and her husband were probably the first ones I ever met. They'll never know the positive influence they've had on my life.
Mrs. Jeanie's parents attended the same church that I grew up in. When they came back to visit their family it helped me realize that missionaries are real people just like everyone else. They love to laugh and eat good food and hug their family. I started looking up to this couple when I was a little girl and now my little girls pray for this family.
When we had to return to the States to have Princess Brynlee the Barbiers and their parents graciously let us stay in their Stateside home. So you know they mean a lot to us.
I've asked Mrs. Jeanie to share how she became a mother. Just a warning....grab a hankie.
"Buenos Dias! My husband, Walt, and I are missionaries in Mexico. My family is from the same area of Missouri as Maria and that’s how we know each other. We live on a small rancho with our 12 year old son, just outside of the city of Chihuahua. Our ministry is to teach in an MK (missionary kid) school in the city. The Lord first brought us here in 1987, so now we sometimes teach the children of former students! That could make one feel very old, but God had a way of rectifying that issue.
In 1998 we were miraculously blessed with a son. I know, every child is a miracle, but this was a bit different. Allow me to share a brief story of our miracle child. Walt and I were not able to have children, so in 1997(on furlough) we actively sought to adopt. We knew that was what God wanted us to do at that time, but when furlough ended, there was still no child. We returned to the field in September of 1998 thinking God was closing the door on adoption. Through a series of impossible and freak “circumstances”, we were contacted (late on a Saturday night) about a child that would be born within a couple of weeks and would we be interested in adopting that child. Well, we said yes we were interested, but we needed to find a lawyer to find out if this could legally be done by us here in Mexico.. The next morning, we were reminded of a lawyer that went to the church we attended. Suddenly, we got another phone call telling us that the baby was coming now. So we made a fast phone call to our Christian lawyer friend, and he assured us, yes, it could be done, and he was the man for the job! After hearing his instructions, we headed off to the clinic. The lady that had called us was out getting some breakfast, so after meeting the birth mother, we sat in the waiting room.
At noon sharp God brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. We named him Edward Lee, after our fathers, and nicknamed him Teddy. Seeing him for the first time, I was slammed with the reality that I was looking at the son that God had for me! The following morning, we brought him home.
We went through all the Mexican hoops, and his adoption was finalized about 8 months later. There were still a lot of hoops to jump through on the American side, but there was never any doubt about who was orchestrating the whole situation! That special miracle was just the beginning of our incredible journey into parenthood.
As I look back over the last 12 years, I am reminded of lots of wonderfully fun activities that Teddy and I enjoyed together. Before I share one, I want to share with the Dad’s out there. You have an awesome opportunity and responsibility with your position as Daddy. Don’t neglect the playtimes with both your sons and your daughters. Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty with them. You will be the one who can show them a taste of the relationship they can have with their Heavenly Father.
Okay, here’s an easy one but oh so important.
Take the Time to Challenge #15 is.....
Sing to your little ones from day one!
Let them hear praises to the King of Kings from your lips.. You say, “But I can’t carry a tune!” So what!!! God gave you the voice you have, so use it! My dear husband still loves to sing the songs his mother sang to him. (That wasn’t an area where she was gifted, but she sang!) Start early!!! I sang to Teddy as a tiny infant and he would immediately turn his head to listen and smile. As your child grows they will begin to imitate you and try to sing with you. The more interactive it becomes, the more fun it will be for both of you. If you’re raising precious MK’s, you are probably the one who will teach them “Jesus Loves Me” and other choruses and hymns in English. If you run out of ideas, try getting videos of Cedarmont Kids. Someone gave us one of these when Teddy was 2, and he loved it. As we watched and listened, we began to sing along, march, skip or whatever else the children on the video were doing. We would have so much fun laughing and giggling together. The other part of this is introducing your child to the different styles of music. Get some classical like the William Tell Overture, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Bach, or whatever else you may enjoy, so that you can listen WITH them. I also highly recommend getting some of Majesty Music’s Patch the Pirate CD’s to share with your little ones. Our whole family enjoys these on road trips."