This morning, my wife and I hugged our daughters, Julianna and Heidi, goodbye as they left for a mission trip to Uganda, Africa. My wife, who is super detailed, packed their suitcases and backpacks with everything imaginable. I believe they could survive stranded on a deserted island for at least two months. We made sure they had their passports and other important papers. They have their malaria medicine and have received more shots that we can remember. We prayed together on the way to drop them off and gave them the normal talk about people skills, handling adversity, etc.

As we said goodbye for the ninth mission trip between the two girls, I had a few crazy thoughts go through my mind. What if some terrorist decides to kidnap Americans in Africa this week? What if the plane goes down? What if they get sick and are in need of advanced medical care? I think most parents think about these things, and I could tell some of their team members’ parents were struggling more than we were.

You might ask, “If there are so many risks, why would you even think of allowing your daughters to travel to such a volatile region of the world?”

First, it’s better than Julianna’s first choice, Afghanistan.

Second, when they were just babies we publicly acknowledged before God and man that they belonged to God and not to us. We promised them and God that we would raise them with this understanding. We have known from day one that our purpose was to prepare them to serve Christ with their whole heart and life. By going on this mission trip, they are fulfilling the purpose God has given them.

Third, we have taught our daughters to know and love the Great Commission from their earliest days. On their list of duties for this trip, Heidi will be telling Bible stories and Julianna will be sharing the plan of salvation after the story is told. Yes, that’s what I want my daughters involved in. As we prayed on the way to meet the team, I asked the Lord to help someone in Uganda come to a saving knowledge of Christ through our daughter’s ministry. Just think of the impact their ministry could have through even one transformed life. They might lead the next great spiritual leader for Africa to Christ in the next couple of weeks.

In a world where young people are taught to live according to the lust of the flesh and follow their feelings no matter where they lead, I’m grateful that there is an army of young people, like those on this Uganda team, who have chosen to follow Christ and give their lives in service to Him.

As parents we must not settle for the standard this world calls normal for young people. If we will lovingly lead our children to Christ and instill a thoroughly biblical worldview in their hearts and minds, they will become young men and women who will change their world for Christ.