Teaching Children about Missions
Being born in Africa I only ever knew missions. As a young girl I asked my mom if my younger brother would be black, brown, or pink when he was born. I never saw color until I was much, much older. I’ve always eaten anything (snails, pigs ears, cow’s stomach, clams). My parents drilled the whole “where He leads me I will follow, what He feeds me I will swallow.” I thought my life was normal – I never knew anything different. When my family moved back to the USA when I was in middle school I had a very rude awakening. Come to find out I wasn’t “normal”. 😉 I know for many people there was this moment they can remember when they surrendered to missions….(gasp)….just not Africa, Lord! For me, I clearly remember surrendering to stay in the USA because I wanted to go back home so badly. When our church would have a mission conference my heart was always drawn to those poor, little, missionary kids. 🙂 I’ve always loved adventure. I’m comfortable with change. Starting deputation was a thrill for me. Yes, it was hard, but as strange as it sounds I enjoyed it. Now, my husband and I are missionaries in South Wales and I’m so happy and content right where God has placed us. Yes, I have lonely days. Yes, of course, I miss my friends and family that are scattered throughout the world, but I wouldn’t change my mission-loving life for anything. My skin feels comfortable in missions work. My heart beats for sharing Jesus with others. I just thought I would share a few ideas for ways you can include missions in your home to make it, well,….a little bit more “normal”.
1. Sign up for email updates/follow missionary FB pages. Feel free to follow our ministry FB page HERE.
2. Pray for missionaries regularly as a family
3. Read missionary biographies. Right now because of the ages of our children we have two favorite series. The Little Lights series. You can purchase them HERE.
4. Have an international dinner once a week or month. Hey! If you aren’t daring enough to try international recipes order Chinese take-away and pray for missionary in China (eat with chopsticks ? oh my!)….have pizza and pray for Italy! My personal favorite…..serve tea and scones and pray for the UK. 😉
5. Encourage relationships between your children and the MK’s
6. Watch missionary biography movies. We recently purchased the Torchlighter’s Heroes of the Faith DVD collection and we have enjoyed watching an episode once a week during family devotions. You can purchase them HERE if you live in the UK and HERE if you live in the USA.
7. Research a country as a family
8. Ask a missionary if you could host a friend from their country in your home for a week or two. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could sponsor a young person from another country to your church camp?! Why not! Dream big. 😉
9. Skype with a missionary family
10. Send a missionary a Christmas box
11. Give to your child’s teen mission trip fund. I will never understand the parents who buy their children $100 shoes, new phones, even cars, and yet somehow can’t afford for their child to go on a teen mission trip. It baffles me! What message are you sending your child?! What has the most eternal value?! Ok – sorry to vent on you, but phew – it’s a hot topic with me. A teen mission trip is an INVESTMENT into your child’s spiritual wellbeing. I’m done….I promise.
12. Make a birthday calendar of MK’s birthdays and have your children make cards for the missionary kid’s birthdays.
13. Talk GOOD about missionaries and missions with your kids. Yes, missionaries have quirks, but please please please don’t make us out to be the weirdos we know we are in front of your children. ha!
14. Go on a mission trip as a family. Maybe one year you should just skip that third trip to Disney and visit somewhere that is thirsty for the gospel. You may walk away with kids who are a little more grateful for what they have at home – it may be one of their favorite vacations ever and lead to that spiritual breakthrough you’ve been praying about. You just never know until you try….
15. Ask God to use you in a greater way – He may just lead you into missions!
16. Let your kids know it’s ok if they feel led into missions (if you truly are)….allow your kids the freedom of not having to measure up to some corporate ladder you have outlined for their lives. Take the pressure from chasing the world to being free to follow Christ wherever He may lead.
17. Invite missionaries into your home for a meal. It may be helpful if you prepare questions ahead of time for your children to ask.
18. Support/adopt a missionary as a family. Check out a recent post I wrote about adopting a missionary HERE.
19. Organize all those prayer cards that are in random places in your home into a book for your kids to look through. If you really want to get crazy you could learn to locate the countries as you talk about each missionary.
20. Learn hello in a few different languages – if you really wanted to make it special you could have a secret way of saying “I love you” to each other – why not say it in Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, etc…..I know – extreme. 😉
21. Go to an international store in your city and try new food – if you want to stay on the safe side of things just visit World Market….one of my favorites back home.
Now I realize because I’m a missionary you may think this list is a bit self-serving, but I promise you I didn’t write this so you would all come and visit us in our teeny tiny home. 😉 I really, really did write this list as a brainstorm for our own family. Wales is home to my boys, but they need to see the rest of the world as a mission field as well. I hope and pray this will encourage you as we strive to share the message of the gospel around the globe together!