A legacy is something you leave, a gift, what you are remembered for. Women are known as mothers, teachers, nurses, CPA's, stay-at-home moms … the list goes on and on. These are important, but as daughters of God, children of His, we are asked to leave a different legacy — a legacy of faith.
Anne Daub and her husband, Mike, live in Texas. She shared this speech with Texas WMU at their state convention.
My family has a legacy of faith that stretches across four generations. It all began with Grandma Myrtle.
Myrtle Pauline was born in the Texas Brazos River bottom, the daughter of a cotton farmer, one of nine children, in 1900. Her father was an abusive man and didn't work much, probably due to TB but certainly because of drinking. Eventually, she eloped and moved into town where she and her husband, W.E., ran a laundry on the Texas A&M campus and struggled to get by. Their life was very hard with three children that they could barely feed. Their marriage was full of the unexpected. W.E. had an affair. Myrtle had colon cancer and then W.E. died unexpectedly at an early age. Through all of this hardship, Myrtle had one constant in her life — she never stopped praying.
She even prayed my father, Norman, through World War II. When Norman’s battalion went out, he had to stay on the island because his papers got lost. Most of the men never returned, killed by the Japanese as they were in a battle to death for the islands. And Norman remained, stuck until the war ended.
When he returned to the States, he went on to become a doctor. He married Carolyn, a pretty nurse from Pasadena, and they had six children. That’s where my story begins.
My father was heavily influenced by the Youth Movement in the late 1940s. Though he didn’t feel led to travel the country preaching and leading worship, his heart was arrested with the thought of missions. By the ‘60s, Dad realized that there was actually a place he could fit into missions — by traveling the world and assisting Baptist hospitals. Eventually, he made it to most of the Southern Baptist hospitals in the world — Israel, Gaza, Jordan, India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines — offering his expertise in anesthesia and helping to provide better services
Myrtle prayed for her son and future generations to have a missions heart.
My father didn’t keep his passion for missions to himself. He and my mother were faithful to raise us with a continual focus on missionary work going on around the world. They showed us missionary prayer lists and we prayed as a family for them. We welcomed missionaries into our home and heard their stories of where God had planted them. They also took us to GAs and RAs (mission clubs/classes for children in our Baptist church) and encouraged us to go on mission trips.
Before my father died unexpectedly of a heart attack, he and my mother had instilled in us such a legacy of missions that all six of us became involved in one way or another. Carol and her family went with the IMB to Africa and now lives in Southeast Asia where she and her husband, Dan, minister at an international school. Laura and her husband, David, have lived all over Europe during their career with the IMB. My brother Ron followed our father’s footsteps and became a doctor. He spent time in Ethiopia. Then after marriage, he and Mary served in East Asia. Polly stayed in the States but has led GA’s in her church for almost 40 years, passing on the “missions” torch to so many young girls. The youngest, Gary, is a deacon and on the board of Young Life.
You may be wondering about the sixth child. That would be me. My husband and I have worked with refugees in Belgium, done childcare in Scotland, helped build a seminary building in Canada, worked in various mission projects in Mexico, assisted with projects in South Asia and now work with a small mission in our town.
Norman and Carolyn’s 17 grandchildren also benefited from their legacy of faith. They are doing everything from serving in South Asia and Central Europe to teaching farmers in Africa. Some work in public service in the States. Who knows what the others will end up doing, they are still in school.
In total, our legacy as a family includes ministry in 21 different countries. We have used various gifts: Bible teaching, financial knowledge, special education expertise, medical practice, ESL teaching, carpentry skills, organizational skills … the list goes on.
I don’t tell you this to exalt my family. We’ve had our share of problems and mishaps. I tell you all of this to say: You can leave a legacy. Your family can leave a legacy.
AT WORK AROUND THE WORLD
Most of Anne Daub's siblings went into ministry all around the world. Now, their children are continuing the legacy.
My grandmother, Myrtle, left us a legacy of prayer. Her faith stayed strong even among the tough events in her life. My father, Norman, gave our family a legacy of seeing the whole world way beyond our little view of East Texas. And now, my own legacy of faith is being formed in my actions and those of my children — in the decisions we are making to follow God.
The Bible says we are to be transformed. This is what the legacy of a Christian becomes: transformed by God to be what He wants you to be. Put God first in your family. Teach your children about missions and pray with them for missionaries. Help your church be a church that fosters missions and teaches its young people to follow the Lord with all their hearts.
This means that you and I have to be involved. A children’s ministry doesn’t work without adult volunteers. A youth program cannot stay afloat without the unthanked hands of those who cook hamburgers, make cookies, pick up children/youth or stand at the back to assist in any way needed.
Ministry is not just a feel good activity: it is being God’s conduit. His love for us is the reason we love and in turn do ministry.
A legacy is not built from sitting on the sidelines. For if you do this, the extent of your legacy will be an empty chair. A legacy is built on being involved in people’s lives, exhorting them to become better people through Christ, teaching them to be transformed, meeting needs as we go.
How will you build your legacy of faith?