For as long as I can remember, my mother has been known as a “mother to many” besides her own children. She even introduces other people as her sons and daughters.

You have to say goodbye to say hello again.

I am honored to share my mom with the world. More importantly, I am grateful for how many love my mom, too.

This month, Mother’s Day marks our calendar in the United States. Personally, I wanted to take this moment to highlight my top five favorite life lessons I learned from my mother (the co-founder of New Missions). Up close, I have seen her live out some life principles I want to share with you today.

Principle #1 - Surrender your life. Thank you, Mom, for role modeling for me what it looks like to surrender to your calling. I will never forget the day I was in Haiti with you sitting under the mango tree at our Missions Training Center. We had just finished sharing a time of devotions with the visiting team and a young man asked you a question: “Jeanne, when was it that you made the commitment to surrender to missions?” Your response was astounding. You replied, “This morning! I did not want to wake up, but I rose in an act of surrender to my God today. Use me now!” Mom, you have shown me how your life is not your own as you have surrendered to God’s call upon you. 

Principle #2 - Suck it up. This advice was told to me from another missionary who asked my mother for help. As a couple, they were serving overseas and having some struggles in their work. The wife met with my mom to ask for some tips on how to navigate the challenges of missionary living. Mom summed it up in three words: “Suck it up!” If circumstances got hard, mom would find a stubborn hope to persevere. I pray God helps me find this same deep level of strength and courage daily. 

Principle #3 - Love with food. Ever since I can remember, I recall my mother using food to love others. Our very first Christmas in Haiti my mother made homemade donuts. She would hand me the donuts to run and give away to the children who walked in front of the mission. Now, my neighbors are experiencing this when they come over to my home. They nicknamed me the “food pusher,” as I’m always offering something else to eat.

Principle #4 - You have to say goodbye to say hello again. When I was a teenager living in Haiti, mom taught me this Haitian proverb: You have to say goodbye to say hello again. Little did I know life’s journeys would be filled with many goodbyes. These hard moments of transition and letting go are comforted in the fact that one day there will be a reunion again. 

Principle #5 - Live generously. As a young boy, we lived in the church my father was pastoring in Worcester, MA, for five years. Finally, we moved out of the church and into an old Victorian-style home. Then, within two short years, mom walked away from that house to move into a tent on the Leogane Plain of Haiti—where my parents founded New Missions. Mom, thank you for living generously. You walked away from so much to share faith, hope, and love with others—that is only found in knowing Jesus.

Thanks, Mom, for being a mom to many and still role modeling these life principles. May our lives make an impact for eternity’s sake. ~Tim DeTellis


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