Interview with Tina Larson

Tell us a little about yourself – your family – how long have you been involved with the Navs? Past and current roles?

Ken and I have been married for almost 38 years.  We have 3 children in their 30’s:  a married son with 6 children and 2 single daughters. We have been on staff for 36 years but I met the Navs my freshman year at Indiana University. I have served on the collegiate leadership team for 11 years. I serve on the Learning and Development Team as well. We live in Indianapolis.

When you were a mommy missionary – what did your ministry involvement look like? If you were involved on campus, how did you make that work?

In our early years on staff out of my own sense of inadequacy I “opted out” of active involvement.  I did always meet with the key women in our home. Then I would focus on leading one Bible study and hosting staff and student events in our home.  I always looked for those as opportunities to invest in people.  As I began to identify my gifting I realized that those fueledmy involvement, even when it was limited. Also doing a Bible study that all US staff were assigned helped me to gain new understanding of what is ministry and my own contribution. 

What did you do in yours 20s and 30s that helped you stay engaged? What did you do then that helped prepare you for your current role now that your kids are grown?

Ken and I have always talked a LOT about the ministry and specific students within our ministries.  I felt very connected to them through knowing them this way.  My hospitality gifting helped me to enjoy having people in our home…so I would get to know them and enjoy serving them and being “home away from home” for them.  We also made it a priority to attend the few national conferences during those years.  These helped me build relationships which encouraged me as not alone in the struggles.  I was available to the key women and single staff women we worked with…and would discuss the women as a whole with them….always planning events in our home for them.

How did you keep your marriage strong in the midst of the demands of littles and a busy ministry?

We had some tough times during that season. We had to fight for talk time in the midst of the chaos.  We were advised to get our kids to bed early so we would have evenings free (free for me to do Bible study and relax when Ken was on campus and free for both of us-talking and processing.)  Good friends were a huge help to us. Asking for advice from our leaders helped us through an especially rough time.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to mommy missionaries, what would it be?

My piece of advice would be that God wants to use them just as they are, with whatever they have to give in terms of time or energy. And then work to figure out what energizes them in ministry.  How can they bring that to the students or staff or team?

One or two life lessons God has taught you regarding ministry, marriage and mothering?

  • It is worthwhile to spend the time and energy to communicate.  Communication is work, even for those who are relationally motivated.  It builds understanding which paves the way for contentment and peace and love.

  • God knows who He wants me to be and where He wants me to contribute.  I always have to trust Him for His work through me. 
  • I always need to take initiative and not miss opportunities.
  • I need to be a life-long learner.  The older I get the more I realize that I know so little!

  • Choose your battles.  Be consistent.  Give context for discipline: “We are training you to learn obedience so you will obey the Lord.”
  • Be firm where consistency is needed.  Be gentle where love and understanding are needed.
  • Enjoy the seasons….even the teen years have blessings and joys.


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