We’d waited and prayed for a long while for something new for our beloved brother-in-law to open up. His and my sisters’ heart for the marginalized and orphaned has only grown these past few years. So when he was asked to come on board with Children of the Nations, a non-profit that we already knew and loved, we could not have been more thrilled. And we wanted to be behind them in this faith venture in every way. As we talked about how to support them, knowing we already had our “give” dollars going several different directions, I sat down and talked with our kids. I told them how much an average dinner cost me to cook for our family of eight.
We talked about the Children of the Nations (COTN) meal packing events that we’d attended several times. Their faces lit up as usual and they bantered about how much fun it is to pack meals packs. COTN hosts these events to raise awareness and give people here on wealthy American soil an opportunity to do more than simply write a check. They are high energy and always fun. They’ve provided a fantastic conversation starter for our family multiple times to talk about how we can do more to share the love of Christ in tangible ways. I asked our kids, what do you guys think about eating the COTN meal – lentils, spice, chicken and rice – one night a week to free up some grocery funds. They said a quick and hearty yes. I perfected my own rendition of the COTN meal pack. My kids were the testers, telling me to STOP and not make any changes once the ratio was right.
So began Mission Mondays at our house. For no other reason than it was catchy so we picked Monday. The kids actually offered to eat the meal twice a week. I told them we’d start with one so we didn’t tire of it. But then quickly caught myself. Because the very real reality of the meal packs is that the recipients of the very simple food are content, dare I say crazy thankful for the food being provided for them. They would pale at a glimpse inside my organized pantry, well stocked for an emergency and a half dozen constantly hungry kids. And my kids, truth be told, sometimes don’t “feel like” eating anything in said pantry. Which is the double blessing of this weekly simple meal. It is a continual reminder of the bounty we live within. The basic comforts like grocery stores on every corner full of fresh food and a dizzying amount of culinary options.
Our Monday night table discussion centers around someone we know serving somewhere in the world. It’s no organized sort of thing. Just hearts that want to be aware and tuned in to the heart of God that beats for the orphans, widows and the poor. I always fight the urge to provide side dishes to the lentils and rice and simply serve the dish alone and everyone gets perfectly fed and full eating it.
…fast forward a bit to July this summer….we hosted a creation camp here at the house for a wonderful group of kids, all sorts of kids. It was one of those hallowed things you get to do and it almost pushes you over the top but when its over you can hardly catch your breath and you know, just know, that it was holy and beautiful and not to be missed. We have this crazy awesome, so-not-in-the-box pastor who came to play guitar and lead singing (and hang up tarps in the pouring rain!):
On our last day of creation camp, I talked about how we were created to reflect God to others, that we get to reflect his image and how completely incredible that is. Part of that is having the responsibility to be generous givers and ones who love others well, especially those in need. So I shared with them about COTN and the meals they bring and hope that a simple meal is to children who are starving. We then headed inside to prepare meal packets for everyone to take home with them so they could, maybe, start their own traditions and perhaps set aside some of their extra to share and give in some way. At one point there were 52 people inside the walls of our house. It was, literally, the only rainy week the entire summer. So our outdoor on the lawn activity all had to happen inside and cozy! It was insane. And so loud. And incredible. I hope and pray that this is one little way we can be mindful of the things that matter.