How to Give Your Family a Spiritual Adventure

Jim Gash, who took his wife and children on a six-month mission trip to Uganda, offers some tips on how you can strengthen your family—and your faith—with a spiritual adventure.

Posted in , Apr 27, 2016

Guideposts: Joshua and Jessica Gash at the Ugandan medical clinic where they volunteered

As a parent you want to pass along your faith to your children. You say grace, go to worship services, teach them their bedtime prayers, maybe lead a religious-studies class. But ultimately what you want is for them to live their faith, and the best way to do that is to have a spiritual adventure. Here are some of the things we learned on ours:

Don’t be overprotective. Your kids are stronger than you think. To minister to others, they need to understand their suffering. Our children saw a lot in the slums of Uganda—open sewers, severe malnutrition, families drinking dirty water, the sex trade.

At the very least it gave them a better perspective on their life back home. A computer on the blink? A broken air conditioner? “Dad, those are First World problems,” my son would say now.


Be open to God-scheduled opportunities. Someone might come into your life and make a suggestion that you think is outlandish, like the man who said I should go to Uganda in the first place. I could come up with a million excuses (“Can’t afford it” and “Don’t have the time” are standard). But I couldn’t get over the feeling that God was expecting me to say yes.

So listen to your heart. If something is meant to happen, doors will open. After all, the medical work our family did in Uganda turned out to be more lifechanging than anything I had planned.

Take a leap of faith. When I was growing up it was enough to pray for missionaries and write a check. That’s not the world our children live in. All of humanity is in front of them on the internet. You don’t have to go far to reach people in need. Take your family on a mission trip to Mexico or Appalachia. Volunteer at a soup kitchen in your own town.

A friend recently posed the question, “What are you doing right now that requires faith?” It’s not a bad question to ask of yourselves as a family.

Read about the Gash family's mission trip to Uganda!

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