An EQUIP participant shares her thoughts on spending a year in New York City with her family – living life, ministering to unreached people groups, and receiving missionary training as a wife and mother.
What was your thought before coming to NYC? I was very eager to start this program. All the classes, the ministries and evangelism I could be a part of sounded so exciting.
What has been the hardest part of being a mother here in NYC? The hardest part was having the ambition and thought of accomplishing all EQUIP asked of its participants but then realizing how much that took away from my role as mom. As the program continued on through the year I finally realized how much I was needed at home and how my role as mother would actually be the vital part of the ministry God put me in. I struggled with feelings of guilt as I began to be less involved with the actual tasks of Equip but was reassured by my Father in Heaven, my husband, my team, and my mentors that my motherly role is of utmost importance. The Lord really allowed me to see that.
What has been the hardest part of being a wife here in NYC? Having a very scattered schedule. It is hard to not just want my husband home because he is around. We finally had to make sure we had a schedule where he was out of the house even if it was just to read or write. I did not want to be a distraction to him here as he is longing to grow, learn, and be out in the community.
How has this year differed from what your expectations at the beginning of the year? I thought for me it would be crazy amounts of evangelism, bible studies, etc. Instead my ministry involved being a mom. I just visit with other moms in their home and use the joy of the gospel in almost all of my interactions.
How have you seen God grow you in this year? I was humbled by the Lord as I sought dependency on Him. I had a vision of how I wanted this year to look and a crazy zeal of how that would happen but then I realized how that all involved just my own thoughts. God changed my direction through health issues, problems with children, and sense of loss of who I once was back home. As I clinged more to my identity in Christ rather than my ministry tasks, or lack of, I blossomed as a wife, mother and woman who loved Jesus and could live out of that in everyday life.
Has your mind changed on what missions looks like with kids? How? Yes it has changed. I believe through all of this I am seeing how much my children need me and it is an honorable thing in the Lord’s eyes to love and take care of them well. But it does not have to stop there. As missions continues in our lives I know that my love for my children and taking care of them can be one of the biggest doors into the lives of others.
What is your advice to a mother for future equip years? Do not think that your children or you being their mother is a hindrance to ministry. Thrive as a mother and allow others to be involved in your life and be involved in others lives as they are in the same season as you. Your life as a mother lived out in love and obedience to Jesus Christ will be a huge testimony to those you reach.
What would your advice be for a wife for future equip years? Encourage your husband in his ministry. Ask questions. Listen to the great stories he wants to share with you. Rejoice with him. Pray for him as he is out and about. Be on his team!
Did you have your kids in Public school or homeschool? Why? I had 2 of them in Public school and one I had in public school half the year but then homeschooled the other half. We chose public school because we live amongst the people group we were reaching and all their children go to the school. Having them in public school was one of the biggest inroads we had. It allowed natural relationships to develop. Our children enjoyed each other and it gave a really enjoyable and real way to live life amongst a people you long to have hear the love of Christ. We homeschooled one because the transition was very hard for him. We felt his emotional and spiritual well being was way more important than keeping him in public school.
Would you do it again if you could do it over? Yes I would put my children in public school again. They did really well, they made lots of friends, and I made lots of friends through it as well.
How much experience have you had interacting with Muslims before coming to NYC? Just a little. I used to drive and did child care for an ESL program at a church that served Iraqi refugees.
How has that changed? I was so scared before to talk about spiritual things. In fact I could barely have any conversation. Now it is so completely normal and freeing to feel such confidence in talking to Muslim women. They are just like you and me and they need to hear about the love of Jesus.
What was the most beneficial thing you have learned while at EQUIP? Method? And Training?
The most beneficial thing was the concept of living out loud. From the beginning of the year we were told to always let people know we were spiritual people. This has opened the door and broken down so many barriers that come with friendships. If someone knows right from the beginning that you follow Jesus than every conversation there after is not unusual if it is spiritual.