Teaching Children About World Missions

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 From the time our children were little, we've tried to make them aware of and involved in world missions. We do this in many ways. One of our favorite ways has been to get to know missionaries who are visiting our church and provide childcare for them during the time they are here. Often missionaries are traveling and need to know that they have support and that their kids are loved on and cared for. Besides being involved in this ministry to missionaries, we've tried to expose our children to world missions and missionaries in other ways.

Read about well-known missionaries.

Last year I was able to review two resources for doing this. Seed Sowers is a collection of stories about missionaries and their work in sometimes dangerous situations. I also reviewed the biography of Jim Elliot from the YWAM site. YWAM has this and other biographies about missionaries who devoted their lives to spreading the gospel. The Torchlighter DVD series is another great resource, videos that tell of the lives of men and women who served God in their time. Sharing with our kids about missionaries can give them real life heroes to look up to.

Use concrete ways to help your children understand missions and the importance of sharing the gospel.

Our children's ministry leader has found a great way to help the kids at church remember to pray for missions. Every year during missions week, she hands out M&Ms. This reminds the kids to be Missions Minded. This website from Wycliffe has some great free lesson plans and activities for teaching kids about missions

Get to know missionaries. 

I've already shared how we've done this through caring for the missionaries children. But here are some other things we've done to get to know missionaries. We've shared meals with them when they are here for missions week. We've signed up for prayer letters so that we can get their updates. We've made care packages for them to give to them during missions week. As we've gotten to know missionaries, they have become "real" to us. They are not just names in a prayer list now. We know them.

Pray regularly for missions and missionaries. 

Because we meet and get to know these missionaries each year, we've begun praying for quite a few. In order to help us remember who to pray for and what their needs are, we have a rotating list of certain missionaries that we pray for each day.

Get involved with local missions. 

Not all missionaries go to far away countries. We can be missionaries by spreading the good news about God right here where we are. There are many ways to be involved locally- a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a tutoring program for underprivileged kids, collecting coats in the winter for the needy. When children have opportunities to serve others, they can be missionaries themselves.

Here are some additional resources for learning about, supporting, praying for, and encouraging missionaries.

Wycliffe's How To Pray for Missionaries

Kids of Courage- from The Voice of the Martyrs; teaches kids about missionaries and other Christians in persecuted places

Torchlighter DVDs are short films that teach kids about the lives of Christian heroes. They are aimed at ages 8-12, but they are often a resource the whole family can use.

Samaritan's Purse is an international relief organization that brings the gospel to people all over the world as they meet medical needs and offer disaster support and relief. There are tons of great resources on the site- prayer letters, videos, and an opportunity to be involved in Operation Christmas Child- sharing shoe boxes of toys with needy children all over the world at Christmastime.

I think that helping my children know and support missionaries can help them be open to God's leading in their own lives and can give them opportunities to serve God now.

This post was originally linked with Blogging Through the Alphabet at Ben and Me.

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