Posted by jlwile on March 26, 2014
As I wrote in my previous post, last week was a very busy week. It started off in North Carolina, where I spoke at a church, a bookstore, and two classes made up of homeschooled students. I then traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to speak at the Southeast Homeschool Convention. This is part of the Great Homeschool Conventions, and I am scheduled to speak at all of them this year. I did the same thing last year, but this year was different, because I now have new books to sell.
Last year, I just sat in an empty booth and waited for people to come to talk with me. It got to be a bit dull at times, because without something in the booth, most people passed right on by. Of course, I had several great conversations with people who specifically sought me out to talk with me, but there was a lot of “down time” in between those conversations. This year, my new publisher (Berean Builders) had a booth, so when I wasn’t speaking, I hung out there. The publisher had my new elementary series, but it also sells the books I wrote with my previous publisher, so people could come to that one booth to see all the books I have written over the years.
The attendance at the convention was great (up significantly from last year), and I got to speak with a lot of people, both after my speaking sessions and at my publisher’s booth. I did three solo talks this year: Recent News in Creation Science discusses some of the more recent scientific studies that confirm the predictions of young-earth creationism or falsify the predictions of evolution. The Bible: A Great Source of Modern Science discusses some of the scientific facts that were written in Scripture long before science figured them out. Finally, Teaching Elementary Science Using History as a Guide discusses the rationale behind my new elementary science series.
I also did two talks with Diana Waring, who not only has an excellent history curriculum but is also about to re-release a series called Experience History Through Music. This three-CD/book set allows you to hear some of the classic songs written during different parts of U.S. history and learn the history behind them. It is a delightful product that allows students to not only learn history, but experience it! It would be an excellent supplement to any study of U.S. History. The talks we did this year were I Didn’t See That Coming and Arguing to Learn. The former was about what to do when your young-adult children make decisions that are unexpected, and the latter is about how debating different points of view can be an effective learning tool.
In one of my parts of I Didn’t See That Coming, I talked about Katie Davis, a young lady that seemed to have everything a teenager could hope for. She had a great family that was upper middle class, a car, a cute boyfriend, and a great scholastic record. Naturally, her parents wanted her to go to college and develop her talents so that she could be a real “success.” Instead, she felt a leading from the Lord to do missions work. This was definitely not what her parents wanted for her, but they allowed her to “test the waters” with a short-term mission trip to Uganda. While there, she was offered the chance to teach kindergarten the next school year, and she felt the Lord leading her to say, “Yes.”
Her parents obviously weren’t pleased when she came home and told them the news, but they agreed to let her go. However, she had to promise that when she was done with that academic year, she would come back home and go to college. She ended up breaking her promise. She has adopted 14 Ugandan girls and runs an organization that provides assistance and school fees for hundreds of Ugandan children. She is literally changing lives where she is, and while this wasn’t what her parents had planned for her, it is exactly what the Lord had planned for her. She wrote an incredible book called Kisses from Katie, and I strongly recommend that every Christian read it. It shows you what can happen (both good and bad) when you follow the Lord’s leading in your life.
I wanted to show the audience exactly how Katie Davis is perfectly suited for the mission field, despite the fact that her parents didn’t think it was a good idea. To do this, I quoted from her book and had a hard time making it through the quote. Most people in the audience shed a few tears over it as well. Here is what she writes about the children she taught that first year in Uganda:
The children would run to me with gifts of stones or dirt and I saw myself, filthy and broken, offering my life to the God of the universe and begging Him to make it into something beautiful…He blinds himself to my sin and my filth so that He can forge a relationship with me. And this is what He did for me with these precious children. He blinded me to the filth and disease, and I saw only children hungry for love…I just sat right down on that cold, hard floor and snuggled my nose into their dirty necks and kissed their fungus-covered heads and didn’t even see it. I was in love. (p. 7)
Clearly those are the words of a young lady with a heart for missions. Can you imagine her going to college and learning to be a CEO, scientist, or TV weatherperson? Of course not! Her heart had been forged by God to do missionary work, and it would have been a travesty had her parents forced her to follow their goals.
I think Katie Davis offers all parents a lesson about how we need to nurture our children as they get older and start following God’s path for their lives. We need to be there offering our point of view, telling them anything we see that might be unwise about their intended path, and telling them what we think they should be doing. Like Katie’s parents, however, we need to entertain the possibility that God has something completely different in store for them. If that’s the case, we need to put our priorities for them aside and assist them in following God’s plans!