Leaving a Legado

In January New Tribes Mission in Brazil (MNTB) hosts a field conference for its missionaries. This week is always a highlight of our year, as brazilian missionaries gather for a week of meetings, fellowship, and of course, “futebol” (soccer)… ’til all hours of the night. 🙂
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img_1143I treasured it all up as best as I could–
the dear ladies who gave me these tribal treasures and soap made from exotic fruits,
to see not 1 blue macaw in the wild, but 16!!
our boys translating for those who don’t know Portuguese, chatting in the gazebo, seed pod-swords,a coworker asking Miles to take their family pic,former students lending Jack their bike, Jude saying Brazilian food is the best food ever,
sitting on the couch of a couple who sat on our couch for premarital counseling, now married and deciding which tribe they will go,
all the stories from the field…

This year’s theme was “Legado” {Legacy}. The focus was on what kind of legacy are we leaving; what kind of legacy do we want to leave. {I’ll tell ya. I’ve been thinking long and hard at this. And I fear that the kind of legacy I want to leave doesn’t always match up with the kind of legacy I’m actually leaving. SO, I’m gonna do some more thinking and praying bout that and talk more today about the kind of legacy that has been left for me. Mmk? 🙂 }

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A special surprise was when Andy’s parents were honored for their 41 years of service in Brazil. They are in the process of moving to serve at the NTM Headquarters in the US. Their leaving is certainly bittersweet–Bitter because of all those who will miss them. Sweet because of all those they have impacted in their 41 years here.

Andy’s grandparents moved to Brazil in the 60’s, with their 7 kids {their pic above on the screen}. His dad grew up in a riverboat on the Amazon river until he went back to the US for Bible School, met his wife, and they moved to Brazil in the 70’s, where Andy was born and lived until he went back to the US for college, we met, and now here we are.

{Andy giving an update on Peniel}
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{Our little (and giant!) MK’s singing their song}
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I don’t think I ever realized the legacy we’ve been left— more valuable than gold, more secure than any trust fund– the conviction that there is no hope apart from Jesus, perseverance to be a part of making Him known where He is not, and faith that He is absolutely worth it all, even our very lives. The stories they have to tell…… {are cRaZy!!} but testify to how faithful God has been through it all.img_1084

But it’s not just Andy’s family. We sit behind all the white hairs and it’s humbling. People who have done this for 30+ years with no fanfare. Just faithful servants who have kept their hands to the plow. Even when the path is harder and rockier than they had hoped. Some of them are in more pain than we can imagine (and they will ever tell). Yet. FOR THE JOY they endure hardship. We have got a lot to learn from them.

And it’s not just the white haired-missionaries. But when there’s talk about legacy, I think about my parents….
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My parents have been by our side for birthdays and surgeries. They have come to our rescue when we needed a date night or our laundry folded. They have planned family vacations and silly-string wars. They have not only listened to their grandsons talk for hours about fishing and minecraft, but they have even taken fly-fishing lessons to teach our kids how to tie their own flies and played minecraft with our kids. They flew down to be with us and write emails when they can’t.

It’s hard to condense the legacy they are leaving into words, but here’s a few…
Affirmation— The other day our kids got off the phone and said “I like talking with them. They’re so warm and comforting. And they only say things to compliment.” That’s high praise from a 12 year old boy!! It’s the truth! Just scroll down the comments and you will see.
Belonging— It’s a big thing to be welcomed home, regardless of whether or not you have colicky babies or jet-lagged teenagers, and however long you’ve been away. But it’s what they do. Dad fires up the furnace and mom makes your favorite pie.
Faith— How many times have I called and heard “we were just praying for you.” People often ask me how my parents feel about us being missionaries. I’m sure it doesn’t “feel” good, but I’m thankful for their example of faith, that God is good and He can be trusted… even with our kids.
Joy/Gratitude— (Both, because I don’t know that you can have one without the other). I never realized how much my mom says one phrase until our kids picked up on it. Whether we’re headed to the store or just sat down at the table together, she’ll say “Oh, yeah!” But it’s not just circumstantial. Their joy is a matter is of perspective– looking for grace and celebrating it.
Love— I don’t know how they do it. They have beared all things, believed all things, hoped all things, endured all things. Not just when we’re love-able. In spite of our multitude of sins and offenses, they have given us the greatest gift of all– Love.dsc_0309

I don’t know if their photo will ever be on a projector (although it should!) I don’t know if they’ll ever be recognized for all their years of faithful service (atleast on this side of heaven). But I have no doubt that one day they will hear those words “well done, good and faithful servant,” because the legacy they are leaving is that whether you’re a mechanic or a cook or retired or a missionary, what is important is in all you do, you do it for the glory of God.

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