My husband always says, " With a last name like OUTLAW, you might not want to look very far into your family tree!" With a name like ours, you expect that your family might have a reputation! When our kids were little, strange looks were the norm when we'd holler "lets go Outlaws" trying to wrangle our five kids ages 10 and under out of a MickeyD's playland! Most people thought we were talking about our family's character -- wild and rowdy - rather than our actual given name! We'd just smile and say, "Yep, that's who we REALLY are -- The Outlaws!"
Over the years we've gotten a reputation for more than our last name -- some good things, and some not so much! But when people run into THAT family whose name they can't remember just heard was crazy enough to take their 5 little kids across the ocean, they say, "Oh, you're... THAT MISSION FAMILY." To some that might be a compliment, and others just might mean we are weird. There are a few other ways we know we're THAT MISSION FAMILY like when....
Okay, so maybe we ARE just weird! Or maybe we got a jumpstart by living overseas. But truthfully, wouldn't it be great if the world would see ALL christian families as THOSE MISSION FAMILIES! They would see how much we LOVE the WORLD and the people in it! They would see that we live with purpose and mission for our lives. That's really the purpose of every family no matter our vocation or our location!! In Genesis 12:3, God tells Abraham that through his family, all the families of the earth will be blessed! And truthfully, that covenant continues today. We are all Mission Families with a mission from God to bless all the other families of the earth -- Kazakh families, Syrian families, Chinese families, immigrant families, neighborhood families, poor families, your soccer team families -- all the families of the earth!
JUMPSTART your Mission Family today by doing this ONE thing! But be careful, you might be get the reputation for being "THAT MISSION FAMILY."
I have a confession....
We have a WORLDly family!!
I mean, really, really WORLDly! And I'm proud of it!!
We've got WORLDly maps, globes, books, pictures, and even world-shaped post it notes!! We eat WORLDly foods from different countries, sing happy birthday in a bunch of WORLDly languages, and hang out with other very WORLDly people!! Long before our family packed up our life to head across the ocean to work for a humanitarian organization, God had put a love for the WORLD in our hearts! So when He said GO, it wasn't such a foreign place to us! That's why it's our our passion to help other families and churches raise WORLDly kids too!
If you are not sure where to start, take the 1st of 10 things, and just do something! We believer that step ONE is to get to know the World! Go out today and buy a map....or sew one, google one, or color one! Get to know the WORLD! There are 195 countries with 7 Billion people! Check out this WORLD METER for some cool details! Why do we need to know? Because on each continent, in each country, in every city, there are people who need to know about Jesus. Millions of them HAVE NEVER HEARD!! And we have the privilege and responsibility to pray for them and go to them to share the GOOD NEWS! What a HUGE task! And before you go on about your day.... check out this cool-hip video that helps learn ALL the countries of the WORLD! It's been playing at our house on repeat all morning!
As tiny fingers traced the route from our home in Tennessee to our new destination, we crossed borders, oceans, seas, countries, continents until we finally found it!
"How do you say it again, mom? Kaz-ak-i-stan?Krackistan? "
"No, dear, it's KA-ZAKH-STAN! "
When we began our journey overseas, we LITERALLY had to dig out our placemat with the world map and LOOK for the place we were being assigned! As our eyes focused in on our new home country crowded between more famous superpowers we'd all heard of, we realized just how little we knew about the world.
"It's Kazakhstan (KAH-zahk-stan). It's South of Russia, West of China, and North of Afghanistan."
Our country was really quite large! How had I never heard of it? In the days that followed, I'd find our little ones huddled on the floor around that little placemat, trying to wrap their minds around the enormity of the world and the our place in it! We had always known that GOD so loved the WORLD, but it was then we realized that he had called all of us to LOVE the WORLD, too, so we'd better get to know it! And that began our obsession with the WORLD! We wanted to know it; to know it's borders, it's countries, it's people, it's lands! Over the years we've built quite a world map collection! We've got map puzzles, placemats, notepads, shower curtains, table cloths, and more! We've fallen in love with the WORLD and it's changed our family forever!
SO here's our challenge to you.....
GET A MAP........ TODAY!!
Don't make God send you 7,000 miles away to teach you about the world! Or better yet, buy a map just in case He does!! You'll be better prepared than we were! Start with one of these COOL MAPS......
......then tell us how your family will use it to get to know the WORLD!
Take a pic of you and your map!
Post on Facebook @TheMissionfamily #themissionfamily
Post on Instagram @themissionfam #getamap
Tweet your photo #themissionfamily #getamap
(David wrote these thoughts after finishing his Ph.D. in Theology keeping all those hours of study in perspective. These words were written when our kids were ages 1 to 11! No wonder I love this man! --AO)
Our world needs scholars, but scholars must live a life of particular discipline. A scholar’s life demands long hours of uninterrupted research. Loneliness often results from the time dedicated to library and office. Friendships are limited to those that will enhance the life of the mind. Scholars find their friends in the pages of Homer, Plato, and Augustine. Worth and prestige are intimately connected to publication in scholarly journals and books written for consumption to a select group of like-minded readers.
I am not a scholar. Though much of my training leads me toward scholarly endeavors, and many of my acquaintances are top-shelf scholastics, I am not. Perhaps I do not possess the mental acumen for such a life, but this is not the primary cause of my realization. I read as much as I possibly can, but my life is different from that of a scholar.
When I read, my time is likely to be shredded by demands for a sippee cup of milk, a change of diaper, or to observe the most recently perfected stunt. A sleepy two-year old, crawling into my lap instead of her bed will, inevitably interrupt moments of mental debate with the works of Bertrand Russell. It is likely that as I sit and write doctrinal essays someone will ask when I will finish so that the internet can be more adequately explored. My notebooks and papers, prepared for lectures or sermons may be adorned with scribbling, x’s and o’s, hearts, or other artwork common among the preschool set. Scholars do not tolerate such blasphemy upon the sacred ground of their study, but I am not a scholar, I am a father.
Indeed the world needs scholars, but it must look beyond my door, because I am busy tying shoes, zipping coats, changing diapers, and tickling unsuspecting members of my family. I doubt that the academic world is suffering an insurmountable gap due to my altered course. There are moments when the smell of old books, the clicking of the computer, and the hallowed loneliness of the study beckon. I rarely have trouble dismissing these overtures because the fulfillment granted by the academy is far too small to compare the kiss of a two-year-old. When asked, I would love to respond that I am indeed a scholar, but when the evidence is examined and the verdict given, I am but a father. -WDO, 2009
mom to five kiddos and wife to the only man who could put up with her; lover of God, the church, missions, and all things community and culture.
dad, husband, theologian, global leadership guy, professor, and author of countless words hidden in stacks of journals that sit in our bedroom whose wife is making him put his writings here for others to read. :-)!