Last Updated on March 20, 2018

My 16-year-old daughter is very transparent in her desire to have her boundaries respected. She refers to the area around herself as her “personal space bubble” and she does not like her bubble busted. She has been this way since she was very young. Obviously, her father likes this personality quirk when it comes to teenage boys!

While in Rwanda last week, I looked in amazement as my daughter was surrounded, and constantly touched, by many small black hands who were curiously trying to get the “white” to rub off of her and delighting in “petting” her long brown hair. She was being fawned over the way American children clamor and fuss over a litter of puppies.

What I saw while observing my daughter was pure joy and a bright smile filled with the same wonder as the little smiles all around her. She was delighting in giving love and attention to these curious African children who didn’t know what to make of the group of “mzungus” visiting their small rural village. In particular there was one little girl that never left my daughter’s lap and two others who could not stop themselves from touching her the entire time we were there.

We were given the amazing honor of going with a Campus Crusade for Christ group to show the JESUS film to this magnificent little village, filled with many families and countless children. As we sat and watched the film with our hosts each of us was surrounded by villagers who were mesmerized by the film playing before them and cheering and clapping every time Jesus performed a miracle and the local pastor exclaimed the glory of His name.

Another highlight of the evening was just after our arrival as we were helping set up the projector—a Rwandan pastor was singing and encouraging the shy villagers to participate with him in his praises, but they were reluctant. At first they were bashful, but I managed to convince my children to get out there with the pastor and dance and praise the Lord. As they did they were joined by many of the villagers, especially the children, and the mood of the entire village changed to one of celebration and anticipation of what was about to happen.

Though I couldn’t understand all that was being said, I could sense the anticipation in the air and I smiled knowing there was a celebration stirring in the heavenlies as well. To be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission with my children … well, it was more than this heart could handle and tears flowed!

That evening many of those villagers accepted the message of Christ’s love and redemption and it fills me with great joy to know that there will be a day when they will once again gather with my children, rejoicing and singing praises to their Savior.

That night back in the relative comfort of the small room where we were staying, I asked my daughter what happened to her personal space bubble. She smiled and explained to me that all she could think about was making those children feel happy and loved and she had absolutely no thought of herself.

We were both reminded of the words of Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”

What a privilege it was to be His hands and feet while in Rwanda—I would ask that you consider where you and your family might go on a mission trip to share His love with others. Heavens borders will widen and you will be forever changed.

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  1. This is a completely BEAUTIFUL post. Your daughter is a remarkable young woman and she has such an understanding of God using her as an instrument for these kids. WOW!

  2. Justina Owens says:

    WOW! What an amazing time you all must have had, I can only imagine. Thanks so much for sharing your stories so that we can hear of how God is moving around the world. It helps me to remember the truly important things in life. One of which is spreading the gospel. Treasures in Heaven, right?! 🙂
    (Justina Owens)

  3. Tracey Lanter says:

    Thanks friends for your comments! It has been an amazing blessing to experience Rwanda and it's people alongside my children. We continue to process and learn from all that happened while we were there! We started doing missions work right in our own community! I'd encourage you to do the same! Blessings to you, Tracey (FLMB)