Giving our children a happy place

So this afternoon we interviewed Ajith Fernando, well known minister and Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for over 30 years. I was in Prague today and I didnt have my watch but I suspected I was running LATE and I had to walk up a really STEEP HILL with my backpack STUFFED with more dirty laundy than an Televangelist. And then I had to and borrow a computer from a French guy I just met and steal a Wifi signal from a campground I was not staying at [but i did ask them] so my voice was more panic-stricken than everyone else on the conference call. And I thought I was late on my central European time when actually I was an hour early. But it all worked out.

Ajith said a lot of great and noteworthy things during the skype call as he answered questions regarding his recent article on a theology of suffering. And he gave a great response to one of my questions.

But then someone asked him about children and families and their place in a theology of suffering. Do we allow our families to suffer also? And Ajith said some incredible things and I was typing as fast as I could . . DANG IT WAS GOOD  . .  and the French keyboard was all screwed up so the letters were different that what I typed but here is my take on Ajith’s response. And in a few days you can probably download the audio and listen yourself. Watch for it at the Lausanne Blog.

The health of the family is very very important, Ajith said. We need to take it seriously. The church has been unfair to children and there have been many casualties. The welfare of the family one should serve at whatever time. Many of us live in situations where suffering sometimes happens so we need to have a HAPPY HOME. Children who suffer must be able to come into a HAPPY FAMILY.

He gave an example about a family he knew who were in desperate poverty but managed to bring some fun and celebration into their lives through finding some FLOWERS and some COOKIES. Its important to take time to celebrate and have fun.

Be committed to happiness, and I am quoting Ajith pretty much word for word here, especially the happiness of our children. Give our children a happy place.

Obedience to God means obedience to the people He has given us responsibility for and the prime group of people we have been given responsibility for is our family.

So there was steam coming off my keyboard. You can imagine. We need to hear this stuff before we overwork ourselves due to insecurity and end up with kids who are jealous of God because they never see their fathers or mothers who cant get themselves off the ministry treadmill.

Here’s to happy families.

UPDATE: Dion Forster also blogged the interview.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • A lovely post, Andrew, but an interesting contrast with the news out of Belgium this morning. Relgious is as religious does, as Oliver Duff (and others) put it.
    Can’t help wondering, though, if we shouldn’t take the gospel more seriously and use the children as our role model rather than an object of our compassion?

  • Dion Forster says:

    Hi Andrew,
    It was great to be on the call with you yesterday. I have cross referenced your post to my blog. Thank you!
    You can read my take on the interview with Ajith here Suffering and Ministry.
    Rich blessing from Cape Town!

  • Mary DeMuth says:

    Andrew, thanks for highlighting this. I was the girl asking the family question. I loved his response because it affirmed what my husband and I did when we lived in France. French schools were very hard on our kids, so we were sure to make our home a haven. Our kids could fall apart, vent, laugh, cry because we created a safe and happy place.

  • Josh Hopping says:

    Amen! There are WAY too many folks out there who believe that service the organized church and/or Christian NGO is more important then taking care of one’s family.
    One of the best stories highlighting this issue is the life of John G. Lake. Lake was a wealth business man in late 1800s to 1900s who gave up everything to be a missionary in Africa. However, he worked so hard while in Africa that his wife and children did not know him. In the end, his wife died and his children disowned him.
    Yet, in God’s grace, Lake remarried after returning to the USA and changed his ways even has he continued to work in the ministry. This meant that his focused and loved his second set of kids – so much so that some of them followed him into the ministry.

  • OMG and I mean that literally, I wish wish wish this stuff was preached about in church, i have a defence mechanism in place to protect my kids from what is essentially and sadly the church.

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