Missionary Diary: Juggling a baby and a new ministry

Lachlan and his wife Tiffany* have served with Operation Mobilisation (OM) in Albania for the past two years. Their baby son Caleb now joins them for the next chapter of their work in this country. 

For some reason, getting out of bed in the morning is so much more difficult now that we have a one-year-old than it ever was before. I don’t know if it is the waking up during the night, the amount of effort that is now involved in a day or simply because we are being forced to leave our bed by a tiny, but very cute, tyrant. We love that boy to bits, but during those first 20 minutes of being awake, you could almost convince us to trade him in.

When we think about this year ahead it is impossible not to think of how much Caleb is growing and changing each day and to wonder at just what he will be like in another year. As parents, we get to guide him as he learns about the world. We get to see his personality come out as he matures and see how this fascinating life of multiple languages and video calls with the grandparents affects him.

Albania is a beautiful country and different to Australia in so many ways. Each day as we ride our bikes to the missions centre and feel the chill of January on our hands, we are reminded of how little Queenslanders know about cold.

We have started as the local leaders in Albania for a discipleship movement called TeenStreet.

Caleb’s development often creates changes that feel freeing at first and then we find the new obstacles to getting through a day of work. We often say in OM (Operation Mobilisation), “it’s not bad, just different” – and that is especially true when daily schedules get totally changed. While we both have office roles in the OM missions centre in supporting our coworkers and our organisation, we are really looking forward to one other big, recent change: TeenStreet.

Together, we have started as the local leaders in Albania for a discipleship movement called TeenStreet. We were both lucky enough to be a part of TeenStreet events in Australia as teens and young adults, and they played a big role in the development of our faith. Now, having the opportunity to bring this movement to Albania, is a huge privilege. We are excited to be helping the next generation to embrace the Great Commission and find the unique way God has formed them to do so.

But how do we take those first steps in a new ministry? Especially while our little one wants to start his first solo steps down our stairs, and chucks a tantrum if we don’t let him!

We have learnt so much about ourselves over this past year trying to organise ourselves and a baby. No doubt we will continue to learn much more as in the year to come we work around nap times, pastor’s schedules, meal times, church youth events, our son’s need for focused play, and setting aside time to pray and plan for TeenStreet. It doesn’t surprise us now when we look back and see it’s been over a year since we had a proper date.

It can be so easy to see examples around us and wish that we could “do missionary life like them” …

That’s not the only area where we feel we could improve. It’s so easy to wish that we were better at some things, or could be more flexible in different situations, be on top of housework and better at keeping up with Caleb’s ever-changing needs. It can be so easy to see examples around us and wish that we could “do missionary life like them” as, for example, we see a family who easily takes their baby with them as they work throughout the city. We are starting to understand more and more how important it is in this new year not to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others or wishing we were different.

Of course, we want to set ourselves goals and strive to be better, but God does not love nor save us based on our performance, so we shouldn’t start seeing ourselves any differently. Instead, we can focus on the ways that God has made our family unique and as we grow personally with him, all the rest will fall into place. We may have a messy home and a child with an almost-finished haircut, but he is growing up in the knowledge of who God is, so we are trying to focus on the important stuff!

We see so much potential for this year – it is hard not to dream bigger than we can accomplish both in ministry and with our son. But we know that as we let the Lord guide us every day and live according to the power at work within us, he will do more with our ministry and our family than we could hope or imagine.

*Surname withheld for security reasons