By Hannah Paris
In January, Brian and I returned home for an early furlough to be near family when our first child was born. We were excited and terrified at the prospect of becoming parents, as is natural. When our daughter, Ray Evangeline, was born on February 21 she instantly became my ray of sunshine which is the origin of her name. The excitement of parenting remained but the terror shifted. Before her birth my fears were centered more around the actual delivery and the physical demands a baby would require of me. With her birth, the depth of love I immediately felt for her mirrors the depth of fear I try not to entertain about her physical, emotional, and spiritual development. What if we are inadequate parents? What if we don’t protect her as we should from the evils of this world? And the worst one: what if she doesn’t accept Christ?
I see the world differently; I see all the stumbling blocks, evil, and potential harms that could befall Ray. This new outlook has forced me to trust in God in a way I never have before. Daily I remind myself that He created every single bit of her and loves her more than I ever could. He has been merciful to me by surrounding her with so many people that pray daily for her welfare and He has allowed me to witness that.
Last week she was dedicated to God at her home church in Dallas. During that time she was introduced to the church as their “baby missionary.” I hadn’t thought of her that way before, but she is exactly that. I have full faith in God that He will equip us to be Ray’s parents, both here in the States and when we go back to PNG. He’s provided her with a loving Christian family here and a loving Christian adopted family in PNG. He has His sights on her and we intend to guide her to Him to the best of our ability, trusting in His faithfulness.
Brian and Hannah Paris are sociolinguistic surveyors currently on home assignment.