Saturday, September 4, 2010

day 228: kayla is off to africa!

Today is a celebratory day for the Reishes—and I wanted to share it with our readers. Today our missionary girl takes off for her first assignment—as a health educator with the Assemblies of God World Missions (specifically with Global AIDS Partnership—GAP). I have written before about Kayla’s calling (at home as we read aloud as a family) and her preparation, but I wanted to get savvy today and attach a picture and paste an excerpt from an earlier post.

We have no idea how each conversation, each lesson, each ounce of compassion, each modeling of godly character, each decision that we make affects our children. I beg you not to underestimate everything you do in your home, everything your home stands for, everything you instill in your children. It ALL matters.

I wanted to share with our readers a little about Kayla and her upcoming mission work. I think Positive Parenting 3*6*5 readers will especially be interested in how Kayla first felt her calling to missions twelve years ago—while our family read aloud. And how did it begin and grow? Through her father challenging her to minister at home first—and to trust God to give her a future ministry. It is an amazing testimony that we thank God for continually.

Kayla with Mom and Dad at her missionary commissioning service in Springfield, MO in March--just before her six month itineration began.

Twenty years ago (when Kayla was only four years old) we began reading about missionaries, evangelists, and other godly people who “counted all but loss for the sake of the gospel.” We told Kayla that she was destined to do great things —and she believed us.

Not only did she believe us, but she also acted on that challenge throughout her childhood and teen years. When Kayla was thirteen, she was called specifically into missions as our family read aloud from a challenging book by Philip Yancey. About that time, Ray questioned Kayla about her future, what God was showing her, what she thought she should be doing, who she was going to minister to, etc.

She told him that she was going to be a missionary to Central or South America.

Ray questioned her further: “No, I mean now. Who are you going to minister to right now in your life?”

Kayla thought for a quick moment, looked up at Ray and said, "Right now, my ministry will be Mom."

Kayla had already been the most diligent child I had ever seen, but now she pressed in even harder. She would get up early, before anyone else was up, work in the kitchen, do dishes, fix breakfast. She never tired of it; her “ministry” was not just a passing phase. And she continued this—her ministry to her family has never ended.

Fast forward a few years later and Kayla found herself ministering to homeschooled students through speech, debate, Spanish, writing, and science classes she taught. She, along with her sister and another teen girl, wrote a newsletter for young girls for six years (and earned the money herself to mail it out—she didn’t charge the girls and wouldn’t let her parents pay for her ministry!). Kayla taught and preached at the young adults’ services on Sunday evenings for a couple of years, then she joined a Spanish church for a couple of years to further her Spanish speaking skills—and help those people right here in her own community. She continued to serve in many capacities--holding weekend retreats, mini seminars and workshops; speaking at homeschool conventions; helping us raise and train her younger siblings, and much more—all in an effort to “minister where she was planted” until her time came to “go out into all the world.”

Here we are, ten years after she was called to the mission field and practiced on this mission field known as home, and she has completed the degrees that she felt she needed in order to serve God in medical missions—RN, BSN (nursing), and BA (biblical studies). (She received her associates of nursing first so that she could work as a nurse while getting the other two degrees—and graduate debt free.)

And she is ready to go—as a health educator with Global Aids Partnership, developing materials, going into existing missions to help missionaries learn how to reach out to those affected by AIDS, and training pastors in other nations (especially Africa and Central and South America—she knew she would get there someday, even when she was only thirteen!).

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