Have you ever felt as if you are spinning your wheels instead of changing the world? Many of us start off as homeschooling parents full of fire, raising children to the glory of God with vision and mission. Though it’s a scary feat, we are ready to take on this great call and educate our children! Then, something happens—routine and daily life! Many parents have subsequently hit a wall after the initial passionate charge into homeschooling, wondering what the next step is and what really matters. I challenge you with this truth: Through this blessed routine and daily life, heroes are grown, world-changers are sculpted, and the foundation of a new Godly generation is created.
Let me introduce you to a mighty hero of our faith whose name you likely have never heard before. Jewell Cunningham was a mother, a pastor’s wife, and daughter of God. Every Saturday, with her three children in tow, she accompanied her husband as he faithfully practiced open-air preaching in their community. Afterward, she opened her home for Bible study to the people who had listened to her husband share the Gospel. She welcomed them with faith-filled hospitality and gingerbread cookies. The next day, Jewell would welcome the visitors to her husband’s church, as well as help tend to the congregation.
Jewell Cunningham was a woman of vision and sacrifice. She demonstrated humility and grace. She was both Mary and Martha, seeming to balance them quite well. Her children watched her as she went about her life and they grew closer to God. Their faith grew as they watched and heard her pray. She was a woman bold in her faith, both quick to her knees and quick to take action. Her children watched her as they pursued the Lord and grew under her care.
One day God allowed Jewell to see the fruit of her primary ministry of motherhood. Her son, Loren Cunningham, was founder of one of the largest mission organizations in the world, Youth with a Mission, better known as YWAM. Loren had a call from God to bring young people to all the shores of the world sharing the Gospel with every nation, tribe, and tongue, a goal he has achieved—and then some.
Had it not been for Loren watching his mother, Jewell, walk out her faith daily, he may not have taken seriously this call, and many never would have heard the Good News of Jesus. Jewell is a silent hero of our faith, and I am sure she was richly rewarded the day she arrived in heaven.
Many may look at Loren as being a hero of our faith. After all, he has changed the look of youth missions by motivating several generations of men and women to look beyond their backyards and take the Gospel to all of the world, and he has remained faithful to the cause of Christ all of his life. He is surely one whom we should respect when it comes to spreading the Gospel. If we look just at Loren’s public missionary life, we would miss the big picture, the picture of parents investing in their son and modeling a life laid down before the cross. Jewell Cunningham was a mother who was faithful to her Savior, faithful to her family, and faithful to the Great Commission; she was one who trained her son well.
Recently I spoke with a friend who is a veteran homeschooling mom of five children. She told me how she had a passion for missions from a young age. She desired the life of serving foreign people groups in faraway lands. She wanted so badly to share the Gospel with the whole world. However, every time she tried to pursue missions, the doors closed.
She stayed home, teaching her children, and I am sure that on many days she wondered, Is this it? Fast-forward to today. Her five children are grown, and all of them, in one way or another, are missionaries. Some live full-time in the mission field, and others go on mission trips around the world, all burning with a passion to share the Gospel.
This past Sunday, my friend’s daughter stood in front of our church sharing about her recent trip to India. She was brokenhearted about the people she had seen and about the churches that are under persecution, and she wept for the people lost in false religions. Her mother hugged her there on the stage, and I got a glimpse into why the Lord had never sent my friend onto the mission field: She had five missionaries growing up in her home whom she trained to love the Lord and to do anything He calls them to do. Now there are five world-changing missionaries as opposed to just one. Just as Jewell Cunningham modeled her love for the Lord daily, my sweet friend did as well.
Jewell had no idea who Loren would be as she traveled through life day to day, and my friend is now watching as all of her five children have picked up her passion for missions around the globe. Both mothers’ goals were the same: to raise their children to love God first, everything else second.
The last great hero of the faith may be someone you’ve never thought of as heroic. This is a person called by God to shepherd His children to His feet so that He can take their hands and direct them to their mission fields, a person who would lay down his or her life for those children, just as Jesus laid His life down for us. A person who is a bold missionary, ensuring any little ones brought up in his or her home will walk away with knowledge of Who Jesus is and what He did on the cross—armed to evangelize.
In order to see this hero, you must get up and walk to the closest mirror, look deep into your reflection’s eyes, and see the picture of a hero God has placed in your home. The hero of our faith I want to introduce you to is you, the homeschooling parent.
Jenn Hoskins is a wife, homeschooling mom of six, and founder of Mommy Evangelism, a ministry devoted to training moms to sharing the Gospel during the busy season of motherhood. You can find out more by visiting www.mommyevangelism.com or reading her personal blog at www.herdofhoskins.com.
Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.
Publication date: July 10, 2013