Are you familiar with Elisabeth Elliot? Her ministry spanned many decades, from the late 50s when she wrote about the martyrdom of her husband and four fellow missionaries—Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCulley, Roger Youderian, and Pete Fleming.
|Roger, Pete, and Jim|
|Pete with a visiting "Auca"|
The book about this is Through Gates of Splendor and then she wrote more about Jim Elliot in Shadow of the Almighty. (By the way, both of these books would be great to read to your elementary aged or older children!)
|Elisabeth with "Aucas"|
Did you notice that one of the martyrs was also a Fleming?
Pete Fleming was my father-in-law’s brother. When we lived in Peru we worked closely with Bert Elliot, Jim Elliot’s older brother. So there's a connection there.
Elisabeth Elliot wrote the book The Shaping of a Christian Family in 1992. This is the story of her family, of how her parents raised her and her five siblings. It has many thought provoking ideas and suggestions on how children are brought up. Of course, some of them have to do with family mealtimes and I thought I would share some of those with you.
On Family Devotions:
“[Father] was strict, but he was also merciful to us, reading no more than a page or so a day from Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible, an adequate spiritual dose for the youngest in the circle.”
“After supper we were not excused from the table until our father had read a portion of Scripture.”
On the Value of Manners:
“Table manners cannot be skipped over, for if there’s one area where the spiritual and emotional climate of a home is revealed it’s at the table.”
I have to admit there were times when our everyday table climate revealed things I didn’t want in my home. How about yours? Take heart! Today with my nearly grown kids, we enjoy almost all of our mealtimes together.
“We were all members of the family. Everybody but the baby was a working member of the family.”
She referring to the times when one of her four younger siblings was actually of “baby” age—probably about two or under.
“The menu for guests could not be much more than our usual family fare, but another place or two could always be set at the table.”
Guests love to be invited. They don't care if it's fancy food or everyday food. The invitation and time of fellowship is enough.
“My parents knew how important it was for us children to meet Christian men and women from all walks of life, to hear firsthand their stories of the faithfulness of God, and to enjoy the privilege of asking them question.”
Have you ever tried telling your children a little about the guest who is coming and asked them to each come up with a question for him or her? We visited one family who made this an assignment for their children before we—as visiting missionaries—arrived at their table. The kids had some interesting and insightful questions.
If you aren’t familiar with Elisabeth Elliot’s books, I recommend almost any of them, but especially this one and Through Gates of Spendor.