photo by Daniel Leininger
A very hearty Midwestern hello to my friends visiting from Blog Around The World, and a special thanks to Debbie for letting me be one of the hostesses for today. I’m so excited to show you around my neck of the woods, but mostly to introduce you to the ministry that God has grabbed my passions with.
Watch-e-kee is actually the original Indian name for the town we live in, Watseka, IL, population 5700 give or take a few cows. How the European settlers manage to turn an Indian name around always fascinates me. It’s like they ask for the name of a place and then only half listen to the answer.
Regardless, Watseka is in east central Illinois at the eastern edge of the Great Prairie, which means that the land here is flat, flat, flat. During the winter when the corn and soybean fields are resting you can see for miles in any direction. We’re also at the edge of Tornado Alley, which makes for some interesting posts sometimes. On top of that, in April of this year our part of the world was rocked by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake. Could the happenings get any more diverse than that?
As a matter of fact, they can. Watseka sits on the Iroquois River, a small tributary of the Kankakee River, and in January, after a heavy snow melt coupled with several days of heavy rain, our town and surrounding areas were devastated by a flood. Water was so high that it was coming in through the drive-thru window at KFC. This is a picture (photo by Shutrbug72 ) of what one of our parks looked like.
Just as the waters receded and clean up began, a second storm system moved through, and since there was no where for the water to go with the ground being so saturated, everything flooded again. Then the temperatures plummeted, and everything froze. There were people who lost everything in the first flood but were nonetheless resolute to pick up and move on. After the second one, though, I noticed a lot of shell-shocked faces walking around.
Below is an excellent video produced by Phil Gioja, a member of our church, who interviewed several people from our church and captured the devastation in their lives from the flood, but also how faith played a role in their recovery.
Our family moved to Watseka in May from just across the state line in Indiana (you mean, you moved to a flood-prone area that has tornadoes and earthquakes, like, on purpose?!). Well, yeah. Our church is here, a lot of our activities are here, and it brought us a little closer to my husband’s work (at the time). We live outside the 100-year flood plain, but just inside the 500-year flood plain, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. That, and up to date on our flood insurance.
Challenges and trials aside, the real reason for this blog ministry is to encourage and equip parents to be witnesses of the gospel to their children. Did you know that 80-85% of children from evangelical homes will walk away from their faith after graduating high school? As Christian parents, that statistic should motivate us to do whatever it takes to make sure our children know who God is and why His salvation plan is so important.
Many of these children attend church weekly with their families and participate in mid-week youth activities and Sunday school classes, so obviously those things alone are not enough to keep our children engaged in their spiritual walk once they’re out on their own. I’m convinced that a lot of us parents have been persuaded that the church is better equipped to guide our children than we are.
I’m also certain that a lot of parents honestly don’t know where to start. Barna research states that 85% of all parents believe it is their primary responsibility to teach biblical values to their children, but less than 10% actually read together from the Bible.
So my passion is to tell the parent, “You can do it!” Recognize that the Great Commission starts in your home, and that the most precious target of your outreach is your child. Are you ready to go on The Greatest Mission Trip You’ll Ever Take?