The recently released book, "One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World", casts a vision for parents who want their family to live with purpose, passion, and to be counted among the heroes in the pages of "His Story."
Using a generous supply of inspiring testimonies of both families and young people worldwide who are currently being used by God in mighty ways, author Julie Ferwerda offers three stages of raising kingdom-minded kids: gather, sharpen, and launch. Gather up the children - your own, others in your circle of influence and, if possible, broken children who need a family. Sharpen them in the Word, raising them as disciples of Jesus. Launch them into the world, ready to use their God-given gifts, talents, and resources in order to make a difference for the Kingdom.
Interwoven throughout the book is also a call for families to get involved in the care and spiritual development of orphaned children worldwide who are being rescued, discipled, and spiritually trained to be launched back into their own countries with the life-changing Gospel.
The inspiration for this call to action came from Julie’s visit to India where she met world changer, Dr. M.A. Thomas. M.A. Thomas, known as "Papa" to many thousands throughout India, began rescuing orphaned and abandoned children off the streets in the late 70s. In India, it is estimated that there are approximately 80 million orphaned and abandoned children - more than half of the world’s estimated number in one country alone.
This troubled M.A. Thomas deeply until one day when he read Psalm 127:3-5, where all children are described as a gift and reward - like arrows in the hands of a mighty man - not just one's own children. He asked God to show him how he might help restore many more children on the streets of India, the "throw-aways" of society, to the earthly and heavenly purposes for which they were intended. It was then that God gave him the vision of gathering one million orphaned and abandoned children, sharpening them as "arrows for God," and launching them to start one million churches in the 600,000 villages and cities that have never heard the Gospel.
Whether you agree with M.A. Thomas' vision or methodology is besides the point. I only pray that our Father will give us the conviction and love to invest in the next generation who will raise up to fulfill His desire.
Interview with Julie Ferwerda
You mentioned the notion of parents investing in or training their children. Isn’t this what parents already do?
Some parents do invest in and train their children to some degree, but there is also a lot of hands-off parenting in our society today, especially in training character development as well as teaching our children how to live for the big-picture - like what were they made to do in this world, what are their unique gifts and abilities, and how can they use them to make a difference now?
We have to train our children to serve others - it doesn’t come naturally. But for many of us, once our kids head into kindergarten, it’s easier to let someone else take over a lot of the training, or to allow our kids to fade into their entertainment-driven culture in their spare time. We need to see parenting as a much bigger opportunity and invitation than that!
I use an illustration in OMA from 9/11 about victims, bystanders, and firemen, the roles people take when lives are at stake. We must teach our children to see themselves as the firemen of this world… the heroes who are willing to set aside their own comforts in order to make a radical difference for others who are suffering or even in danger. There are so many in our world - whether the world around us or the world at large - who need our help and care in order to be saved from terrible circumstances.
I am so encouraged to see a great movement of young people in our world right now who are joining God in His work, coming back to historic levels of competence, purpose, and service for their fellow man. OMA emphasizes helping your kids find what they are passionate about and then training them to use it to serve and positively impact others.
You can read Chapter 1 here.
This review is part of OMA Blog Tour, of which I have received a free review copy.
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