12/29/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Susan G. Bonella ~
My husband and I were bouncing conspicuously through the dessert in a camouflage jeep. We were quickly approaching the barricade of armed soldiers ahead of us. As they moved into a defensive array, my husband and I gave each other a knowing look; I would do the talking and he would stay back in his threateningly masculine form until our identity was confirmed and our purpose was understood. We were there to pray, and people on the inside knew us from the underground church that we began. We certainly wouldn’t be shot, and our children were secure back at the safe house where they taught Jesus to the other children on this long missionary journey among strangers. It was my greatest hope as a mother that our children would grow up to become trained missionaries with an excellent knowledge of the bible.
Such were the collective dreams of our fundamental family. We would leave the possibility of the kids going to college behind, rip them away from the rest of the family, and head to the harshest of lands. All education was tainted by evil secularism anyway, and our main agenda while on this earth was simply to preach the gospel and practice the art of persuasion. Our children had the same dreams that we did because they were second generation brainwashed. Their idea of success was the act of leading another little kid to the Lord.
Brainwashing the kids happened easily because we believed in our own delusions. We believed we were teaching them the vital truth of human existence. But debriefing them from our old fundamental mission took a bit more time. Instead of teaching them from Voice of the Martyrs, which only focuses on Christian persecution, I started teaching them bits and pieces about all the persecuted people groups in the world. I exposed them to humanitarian accomplishments of peace makers in the world. It opened up their eyes to human value and human rights. Their beliefs now are sort of in-between human rights and a contradictory, light form of Christianity. I started providing them with secular books and magazines and multicultural and religious media. They made comparisons, and a little light came on inside them. Instead of telling them what to believe, I began asking them questions about what they each felt was the right way to treat another human being. Thankfully, their answers were humanitarian ones. I also told them that I would love and accept them no matter what they chose to believe. Our family would never be divided based on beliefs.
The two who were being raised to assimilate are older now, and I am so proud of them. It tickles me that they excel in academics, especially math and science, and that they are active in extra-curricular activities and the arts. I look at them and I see a successful mission. I see people who will make a kinder and a more empathetic world and offer it real solutions instead of another cause for war. I see children who have grown out of circumstances that many never escape. I am a happy mama. Perhaps I am happier than most.