by Paige Turner
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) — International Mission Board missionaries serve all over the world. They help tell people about Jesus in jungles, huge cities and rural villages. They’re serving among people from various cultures and religious backgrounds. But missions isn’t just for the international missionary. Believers can be involved in global missions right where they live.
And, missions isn’t just for adults. By helping children participate in missions, parents can prepare them for a lifestyle that’s focused on serving God and others.
Here are a few ideas to help a family learn about missions, give to missions and pray for missions around the world.
Yes, a family can learn about missions while they eat. Have some fun cooking a meal or a dish from another country. Try some of these recipes from Asia: fried rice, sweet lassi and tea cakes. Be sure to let the kids help.
Or, enjoy a meal at a local ethnic restaurant and order food from the menu that you normally wouldn’t eat. Whether cooking at home or venturing out, parents should talk to their kids about the country they choose and its unique culture. They can also discuss how God loves this particular people group and pray they will know Jesus.
A family can also hang a world map in their kitchen or somewhere that they all will see it every day. In the morning, before rushing out to school and work, parents can pick a country and as a family pray for the people of that country who don’t know Jesus, and for missionaries in that country. Use a book such as “Operation World” to choose one unique fact about the country. In the evening, perhaps before dinner, pray again for that country. See who can remember the country’s unique fact. Set a goal to pray for every country in the world in one year!
Road trip explorers
Families can also redeem the time on those long, painful car trips (or airplane rides) when traveling on vacation by listening to music from different countries, or watching a movie that’s set somewhere overseas. Or, read books about people living in other cultures. As a result, a car or airplane ride could become grounds for not only great conversations about culture, but also prayers for people around the world.
Think like a tourist
Turn a town into a giant cultural scavenger hunt. Parents can take their kids to museums and cultural events. A family can stop by ethnic grocery stores or shops. If there are mosques or temples nearby, a family can go visit and learn about a different religion. Families can pray for people who follow this religion and pray those who do not know Jesus will hear the Gospel.
To get started, download this scavenger hunt for students.
Check out these children’s web resources that provide information about different cultures and religions: Caravan Friends in Asia; Africa Tales.
Give it up
Parents can help their children learn to be cheerful givers and participate in missions by encouraging them to give to missions. For example, do they have a favorite cereal? Or favorite soda? For one month, a family can try taking a break from buying that item when they’re in the grocery store. Give the money saved from buying that item to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
When they’re in the store, parents should remind their children why they aren’t buying the item and how it’s important to give so that missionaries can tell people about Jesus.
Parents can set the example by also giving up a favorite treat!
Impact a lost world…pray!
Parents can get creative and help their kids find other ways to make praying for missions a daily part of life. Together families can decorate a flowerpot, or any container, and make their own prayer pail. They can use craft sticks, index cards or construction paper to write prayer requests to put in the pail. They can pull out one request every day or every week and pray.