When I first started traveling as a YWAM missionary, I was in my early 20's and had no children. I remember more than one well-meaning person telling me it was good I was "getting it out of my system" while I was young because once I had kids, I would no longer be able to travel in missions but would instead need to settle down. I guess God had other plans though because I now have five children under the age of twelve and I am involved in traveling on outreaches as much or more than I ever have been. I am amazed at what God has enabled me to do with five children in tow! Here are some examples:
I found out I was pregnant with my first child two weeks before boarding a plane to Australia for a music school. I spent my pregnancy traveling all over the east coast of Australia, singing about Jesus in everything from churches to schools to bars, sleeping on church floors, camping in tents, and showing the rest of my outreach team how delightful morning sickness can be (sorry friends!) It was challenging, but I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
When my fifth child was a baby, I began working with single moms at a YWAM maternity home. My children loved eating meals there and playing with the young moms. They looked forward to the weekends we spent there. We even invited one young mom walking through a particularly challenging situation to stay in our home temporarily with her newborn. My children loved having them in our home and still ask about them on occasion.
I went to do evangelism in a very rough part of San Francisco, and after praying about whether it was a good decision, I decided to take my children with me including my baby in a carrier on my back. There were so many homeless people on this street that we were literally stepping over them, but my kids ended up being a great conversation starter and seemed to bring out the best in the people we talked with. They brought smiles to so many faces and seemed to be a reminder to people who were obviously hurting that there was still goodness and hope to be found. Years later, my son, who was very young at the time of that outreach, still remembers the name and prayer request of one the men we prayed for on the street, details that I didn't even remember!
I recently took all five of my children on a outreach trip with the worship school I was a part of. We traveled to Chicago, Detroit, and some other Northern cities, in the middle of winter. Despite the challenges of my family all sleeping (if you could call it that!) in the same room and having to keep up with boots, gloves, hats, and scarves for my small army, it was an amazing experience not just for me but for my kids too! My children, who live in a small town with warm weather, got to play on a frozen lake, make some awesome snow forts, go sledding, ride the train around Chicago, and meet such a wide variety of people from many different nations, races, and cultures. The outreach wasn't just a gift to the people we went to serve but to my children too!
I'm glad I didn't "get it out of my system" as suggested by some but instead trusted God to guide me AND my kids on these trips. Consider taking your family on an adventure with YWAM's Crossroads DTS! I don't believe you'll regret it.