Monday, May 1, 2017

Raising Mission's Minded Children

Raising Missions-Minded Children

We have always had a soft spot in our hearts for Missions/Missionaries. We have been very blessed to create strong friendships with many missionaries because of this. We raised our children around Missionaries, with Missionary stories, etc. We know that not everyone can go to Africa, but we can all support Missions/Missionaries in a variety of ways. Here is a short list of some of the things we have done in our family that have helped instill a Missions-Minded Heart:
We began our adventure in being Missions Minded by writing to the Missionaries our church supported. It began before we had children and continued for many years. As more children came and homeschooling began, those letters really slowed down. I cannot tell you how humbling it was to hear that my letters were the only contact one missionary had while overseas. Especially when I had known I had not written much. Missionaries were always gracious in writing back. This was the best gift to us! Please be VERY careful when writing missionaries. Some countries are not very friendly to the gospel. Also, packages are not as helpful as you might think. Some are opened and things are stolen, but often times, the packages are given pretty heavy fees. More than you would pay for the items being sent. Some good friends of ours are in the process of becoming a missionary family. It will be so much fun for my children to write to them when they go into the field and those children will be blessed as well! Most of the missionary friends we had in the early days did not have children with them in the field.
Attend Missions Conferences if your church has them. Most of the missionaries we know come home once every four years. This is a very busy time for them as they are reporting in with supporting churches, seeing family, taking care of needs, preparing to go back, getting some continuing education, raising more support, and so many other things we all take for granted. These times of “furlough” or home assignment are often filled with more activity than being away. It is a sign of respect and love to attend these meetings. This is where they get to see that they are loved and not forgotten. Can you imagine what it would be like to be alone in a foreign country where you speak very little of the language? We have had missionaries stay in our homes while in town for these conferences, which has blessed us all. I will never forget my little girl crying out incredulously, “YOU WERE BORN IN A TOILET???” at the end of a story a missionary was telling us. We have all formed strong bonds with those who have stayed in our homes. Our children have seen that missionaries are just normal people with a passion to share the gospel with a particular part of the world.
If you can afford it at all, support missionaries. Our regular giving to our church supports several missionaries, we take up special offerings as needs arise, support missionaries independently of our church, and are sometimes led for a particular gift. Any amount helps, even if only $5 a month. Throw all your change in a jar and save that for a missionary need. You will never miss it, and I am sure it will greatly bless someone! I will never forget one day when one of my children was younger. A need for a missionary came up and we knew we were going to take up a collection for it. He took every bit of money he had and put it into the offering plate…every dollar, every coin (I am sure the treasurer LOVED that!)…as his momma, I was tempted to tell him he didn’t have to do that…but I didn’t. My child got so much joy in giving that gift. Children can often be such natural and generous givers. Let them know how important their gift is.
Read biographies of missionaries. YWAM has a great collection of children’s missionary biographies included in their Heroes of the Faith series. Not everyone of these are missionary stories, but they have several that are.   My children LOVED these books about Gladys Aylward, George Mueller, Eric Liddell, Nate Saint and more. We learned of their great faith and more about OUR GREAT GOD!   Often times, after reading the YWAM book, I would look for more books on that person to learn more about their life. These really are great books!
Study different countries and cultures, especially the ones you have missionary friends in. Learn about the country’s people, customs, environment, and culture. Try their food! It would be fun to make it for your missionary friends when they come to your neck of the woods.
If your child starts talking like they want to go to Africa, encourage that. Do not treat being a missionary like they are doing this because they couldn’t get a better job anywhere else. You might never say this to your child, but we sometimes communicate that when it comes to OUR child wanting to go into Missions. These missionaries have a heart for God and a passion for getting the gospel out to people who are perishing. A great missionary, Jim Elliot, once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” If God is calling your child into missions, let them go with your blessing and with great joy.

Be missionaries to those around you who do not know Christ. Speak truth, be loving and gracious, be involved in their lives, listen to them…this list is really endless. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” This essentially makes every one of us a missionary.
This is not a complete list by any means, and I am sure you can think of more ideas, maybe even better ideas. This is just a list of things we have done in our house to encourage and support missions and missionaries. We currently have a boy talking about going to Africa when he is older. I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I will trust God to lead each of us along the path He has for us!
Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics