Mixing ministry and motherhood
Posted on: 18th September 2017
CMS Missionary Grace Adams (serving alongside Chris in Timor-Leste) recounts her experience of ministry as a new mother to Micah. With Chris’s support and involvement, God has used Grace’s abilities in Bible translation and discipling to advance an important local project and encourage a gifted friend, Sandra. Grace shares how she has managed this joyful load.
I thought that when I become a mother my ministry would be to raise children, support my husband, Chris, in his church ministry, and share the gospel as I ‘do life’ with people in our community. Now, since the birth of Micah, I find that all of these things are indeed a joyful part of my life and central to my identity as a Christian and a mother.
My other passion, however, is Bible translation. That work is what first led me to Timor-Leste. I assumed, in the season of motherhood, that this and related ministries would need to be put on hold.
So let me introduce my dear sister, Sandra. She is 26 years old and the youngest daughter of our local minister. When we arrived in Timor-Leste, she was one of the people who helped us with language learning (as she continues to do). We spent hours interviewing her about her life story. We would re-listen to the interview recordings with her and ask many questions.
It soon became apparent to us what a special person Sandra was. God gave Sandra a gift of loving and teaching children. She is brilliant in Sunday school. She is intelligent and godly.
When we heard that Sandra had started working for Scripture Union (SU) as the first and only SU worker in Timor-Leste, we were thrilled. However, without training or support and with irregular pay, she became discouraged and unsure of her role and was on the verge of quitting.
At this time, the regional coordinator for SU came to visit from Malaysia. Sandra asked me to join in the meeting and help with communication. The plan was to talk about Sandra’s role. But we ended up brainstorming together the future direction of SU in Timor-Leste, and the exciting possibilities of reaching the Timorese people with God’s word.
A Bible and a Bible study
One of the projects suggested was translating and publishing David Helm’s The Big Picture Story Bible. As there is not yet a whole Bible translated into the local language, this children’s Bible overview could be enormously useful to both children and adults. Chris and I were asked to support Sandra both by assisting in this project and by studying the Bible together with her.
Since then, Sandra and I have been working together on the children’s Bible. We have tried to fit this in around Micah’s nap time and have also had Chris’s help in looking after Micah while we work. The project has been going well, and we are considering submitting the book to the Department of Education for possible use as a school textbook.
Once the translation has been published, we plan to start a reading club using the book at a local primary school, as well as developing additional materials for Sunday school teachers.
That is not all that’s been happening. Our home Bible study with Sandra has been joined by two other young leaders from church. We recently came back from Home Assignment and Sandra excitedly told us that six young people had signed up to join our Bible study! We think Sandra is ready to co-lead the group.
Sandra has just come back encouraged and inspired from a traineeship with SU Malaysia. God also provided funding for Sandra for full-time work with SU. Sandra and I now work closely together, share life together and dream big dreams for the sake of the gospel together.
I am in awe of God’s sovereign grace in opening unexpected doors for ministry in this season of motherhood. It is an amazing privilege to serve him alongside Sandra according to how he has designed me and prepared me for his mission. Through all of this I have learned, and am still learning, not to put limits on God.
Write a note to Grace letting her know that you are praying for them. You might also share unexpected ministry opportunities, similar to the ones Grace has mentioned, that God has given through your family time.