Today I was reading some of the things again about our missionary journey. When I says ours that includes our two children. Tara was in 10 grade and Jared was 6 grade when we sold our house, most of our things, packed 19 duffle bags and raised our support in a few months and heading off to Bolivia, South America. It was a rough start for us since we were going to be high school guys dorm parents which meant our daughter had to go into the high school girls dorm. Jared could stay with us which made it easier for him. The story Tara will tell in this post is my favorite thing I love about her, her being real in the face of hardship. If we do not learn to trust God for them while they are still at home with us, having them go and leave us with an empty nest is so much harder. This story shaped Tara’s character for her future.
(1994) How different it feels to be completing our third year at the MK school in Bolivia. Our daughter was in the 10 grade and our son in the 6th grade when we went to the field. We were warned how hard it would be, especially on our teenage daughter, to take her away from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Nothing could have prepared us for the months of crying and depression that came as a result of our move overseas. Like a child with an open, bleeding wound, she told us, I know it is God’s will that we are in Bolivia, but Gods will still hurts me. All the fears of what this move could do to our daughter filled our minds those first few months. Thoughts of going back to the states and returning to a ministry there kept crossing our minds. Daily we prayed, Please God, do something, ease her hurt. Replace it with your love. You can read what took place, as she tells it in her own words.
As I sit in the dorm, I look back over the past three years. God has done a tremendous work in my life. When Dad told us that we were going overseas, I wanted to run away. I was just stepping into high school. I was on the cheerleaders team and liked a boy. Everything that a teen could want I was getting. But Dad’s decision tore my life apart. Soon my anger turned to my parents, then to God. I stopped praying and having devotions because I felt like God had hurt me. All though missionary training and language school as my parents went through the New Tribes Mission training program, my heart was hardened to what God wanted my family to do.
When we stepped into the Miami airport I knew it was my last chance to run. I even prayed for the plane to crash, or for a hijacking just so we would not have to go. Well, nothing happened, (only a few air pocket, and soon we arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. From the beginning I hated Bolivia. Not anything particulate, but the whole country. I DID NOT WANT TO BE IN BOLIVIA!!
It was like that for the first semester. Then during our second semester, my sophomore class went on a camping trip. We had to hitch a ride on a passing truck to get where we were going. Sitting next to me on the truck was a Bolivian baby girl. I’m known for loving babies and kids, so started to play with her. She kept smiling and laughing. Then it suddenly struck me, “Tara this little girls is why you are here”. “Who is going to tell this child about Christ when she grows up?” Right then, I knew why God had called my family to Bolivia. I will never forget that little girl’s face and the need she had for a Savior. Tara Draper ________________________________________________________________________________
We have shared that story many times with those taking their children overseas. It is risky, no matter their age. One must count the cost of serving God this way in those kinds of locations. No matter the location of your body, you must deal with your own children. Tara was not in sin, she was just plain homesick. Oh, she was mad at God , we told her, that is ok, He can handle it. Our hearts broke with every tear she shed.
I have been told there are a few children that look forward to a move, but let me say, this is extremely rare. If you don’t believe me, just ask, wait, that is the wrong word, ” tell” your teen, we are moving! Even if that child struggles in school socially, they at least know the rules and know the players. There is some safely in that. In our passion to go, we forgot at times it was not their passion. Missionary kids, MK”s as we call them will say good-by to more significant people by age 18 than the average person will in a life time.
We ask her to start the second semester of school and if she still wanted to go home at the end of the semester, we would go. I think this gave her hope which left her heart open to hear what God was going to do through that little Bolivia girl on the truck.
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” ― David Platt,