My wife thinks it’s a bad idea to take our children to a developing country for a short missions trip. I think it's good for them to see how others live. Who's right?

You know, I love this question because there is a lot more behind it than just right on the surface. 

Being able to expose your kids to short-term missions is a fabulous idea, no matter where it is in the world. But there is always tension between a mom and dad as to whether this is a wise idea, when you think of all the dangers that might be out there. 

But listen. If I’m going to side on one side or the other, I tend to lean with the dad here, because, I’ll tell you why. It is fabulous to get your kids out there and exposed to what God is doing in climates and environments that they are just not used to. They have to depend on the Holy Spirit. They have to see the God’s Word played out. It’s awesome to do this thing. And, on top of that, it gives them a chance to see you all in that environment. 

Now, listen, there are kids living in those third world countries, there’s millions of them, and their parents aren’t worried about them being there. And there’s a lot of missionary kids out there, and they aren’t worried about it because, you see, God is great. He is awesome. He can protect you in those situations. 

But I know that a lot of kids have their faith finalized in those environments, but while you are at it, let me mention something. Be careful that you don’t spend a week or two in a third world environment and say, “OK. That’s our mission involvement for the year.” Or, “That’s our service to God for the year.” No, what you want do is you want to bracket that week or two weeks in the mission field with twenty-five weeks on either side of it serving God right where you live. 

And when you develop a heart of service and a passionate love for God that shows itself in this unquenchable love and concern for everybody else around you, it’s amazing how your kids can really get that heart. 

So, you might have a third-world experience under your nose in your own town. There’s the inner city, there’s a lot of places that are in distress that you could expose them to. But listen, when it comes right down to it, don’t worry about trying to always keep your kids safe. I’d rather you try and get your kids strong. And getting them out there like that and watching the Holy Spirit work in them is the best way to do it.