For Rebecca Flores, the most important thing about her relationship with her daughter is the legacy of love that she hopes to pass on to her. Rebecca and her 15 year old daughter Maggie have built their relationship through serving at PC3 together over the years. They started out as greeters with the Host Team and once Maggie was old enough, they began serving together on Sunday mornings in Grow Zone at the Wilmington campus. Every week, with very rare exception, Rebecca has brought Maggie to service and then made their way down the GZ hall together to show God’s love to some of the sweetest two year olds around (if you’re a parent of young kids at PC3, at some point you’ve probably heard your child ask to go see Miss Maggie at church).
Through her example, Rebecca has used this serving opportunity to show Maggie how to love others through the lens of Jesus’s love. But, after a few years, Rebecca decided it was time to step out in faith and invite Maggie to serve with her on a mission trip. Their family had been sponsoring a child in Kenya for some time, and Rebecca and her older daughter, Hannah, had gone on a mission trip through PC3 to Kenya in 2010. After hearing about the amazing time her sister and mom had on their trip together, Maggie began sponsoring a child at Mama Hellen’s with the money she earned babysitting. She began praying that she would get to go meet everyone at Mama Hellen’s one day too. The stories that Rebecca shared with Maggie about her trip to Kenya sparked a passion in Maggie’s heart to one day go with her. Finally, in August of 2016, the mother and daughter pair travelled to Kenya with the hope of reaching people for God and loving on them.
To say this trip and the people they met there had an impact on Maggie would be a dramatic understatement. A few days after they returned, I spent the day with Maggie and listened to her talk about the pure joy and love that she experienced at Mama Hellen’s. She shared this wisdom with me as she reflected on the growth in her relationship with her mom after Kenya:
“We had the chance to feel the same things, meet the same challenges, and grow in different, but very same ways. When I look back at moments from some of the best times of my life, I got to share them with her because she was not only there but she experienced them, too. We get to have inside jokes and we get to miss the same people and laugh about the same things. It really has grown our relationship a lot.”
This is a huge testament to the importance of intentionality and investment in your kids lives and walks with God. At the end of each day during their trip to Kenya, Maggie would go into Rebecca’s room to debrief the day together, “I wanted to share my joys and sorrows with her and listen to hers. I came to her for advice and just to share something funny with her.”
In September of 2016, shortly after they returned from Kenya, the Flores girls jumped at the opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip through Samaritan’s Purse to help with Flood Relief in Louisiana. Once again, Maggie returned with countless stories about the people she met and what they taught her. Her worldview changed dramatically after seeing the people who lost all of their possessions and their homes in the floods. She came back wanting to change her lifestyle and do more for people who have less. It all started with an invitation from Rebecca to lean in to what God was calling them to do.
Traveling around the country and the world has shown Maggie that not everyone is like her or was born with the same privileges as her. Going on these trips with her mother has allowed Rebecca to have important conversations about the world and about being the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone, especially the people that it might not be convenient or easy to interact with. On the verge of tears, Rebecca described these moments as opportunities to show Maggie the importance of loving without judgement, “When I’m gone, she is going to be my legacy. I want to leave behind a legacy of love through her!”
The most beautiful thing about this story to me is the intentionality behind what Rebecca is teaching her daughter about following Christ. She has invited her into the PC3 family and encouraged her to step out in faith. She has fostered a relationship with her that creates a safe place to ask questions and make her faith her own. That is what their relationship is based on; growing in authentic faith, love and compassion. Maggie has a lot to say about serving with her mother:
“Serving has changed my walk with God so much it feels like. Serving pushes you to grow with the circumstances. It makes you cling to God more through the challenges. When we went to Kenya I was constantly met with new things that I knew nothing of how to navigate. It made me pray constantly and really need and rely on God to get me through the day. When I serve in GZ, I am met with patience, testing things a lot and it makes me check myself and helps evaluate why I am serving and what He is doing through me. Serving has stretched me to my limits and has taken me way out of my comfort zone and helped me to accomplish things that I never would have dreamed of. Serving for a purpose, for God, gives my heart such a reward and even though it’s sometimes chaotic and there are times I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into, I always find myself going back for more. Meeting the people, serving them, showing God in a tangible way, there is nothing that compares to it. To be able to empower someone, well it’s just amazing.”
Both Maggie and Rebecca separately shared that the biggest take-away from serving together has been their interactions with the people that they encountered and what that taught them about God. What a blessing it is to go into a situation, whether it be a weekly serving opportunity at PC3 or a mission trip halfway around the world, and learn to look deeper into the mission and purpose of why you go to serve and what God is doing through you. What an even bigger blessing it is to experience it side by side with your parent or child and deepen your relationship as you work to build up God’s kingdom at the same time.
Story Written By: Kayla Hohos