Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Having a "Missions" mindset!

I'm working on my curriculum plans for this next school year and am really desiring to incorporate more of a "Missions" mindset into our daily routine!  I have been doing lots of research and wanted to share with you some of the great links I have come across!  (scroll down for the links)

Our family may not be traveling to a foreign country anytime soon, but there is no time like the present to teach our children the qualities of a missionary: selfLESSness, contentment, compassion, courage, obedience, perseverance, love for others, and a giving heart!  My hope is for my children to be filled with excitement as they listen to the stories of men and women who obeyed the call to "go", who stepped out in faith, and who put their trust in God.   Did you know it is illegal to be a Christian in many parts of the world and those who choose to live for Christ do so in hiding or face persecution?  We are blessed to live in a nation where we are free to read our Bibles, worship Jesus, and tell others about Him.  I want my children to grasp how privileged we are and to never take it for granted!   If I accomplish one thing it would be for my children to know they are never to young to make a difference in this world, and it starts with friends, neighbors, & our community!  One incredible story of how God used a child to make an impact in this world is Austin Gutwein , who founded "Hoops of Hope"! 

This is just a Papau New Guinea photo I found online! 
I don't have any of mine uploaded on a computer.
I did not have alot of exposure to other cultures growing up.   My worldview was as big as the town I lived in.  When I was 18 though, my life was forever changed when I went on a missions trip to Papau New Guinea.   I remember stepping off the airplane and feeling a humidity unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  As we drove to our destination we passed a "tribal group" covered in mud.  I will never forget the sound of a woman crying, as she mourned the death of a loved one.  They covered themselves in mud as a way of mourning.   We spent our days working on a building project and our evenings traveling to villages.  The roads were dirt roads with the biggest potholes ever.   We got stuck once on a huge incline.  Our vehicle kept sliding back down the muddy hill with a deep ravine on one side (scary stuff!).  We traveled to villages, where many had never seen a white person before.   They would gather around us and want to feel our hair, especially my friend Bethany, with her long wavy blond hair!  We ate food so different (yet so good) than anything I had tasted before.  I remember seeing men walking hand in hand and learning this was a normal thing among male friends....but you would never see a man holding his wife's hand in public.   One of my friends, Charlie, who was on the trip would tell elaborate stories and would be so animated he had the crowd laughing so hard, even though they couldn't understand a word of what he was saying.  I came back from that trip absolutely changed.   I made heart to heart connections with people despite the language barrier and cultural differences!  It was an amazing and eye-opening trip!

I'm thankful that my girls are surrounded by family who have a heart for missions! 1) Their dad, who has been to both Mexico and Fiji three times each 2) Grandma Ginger (age 71), who lived overseas in Romania for a year and is preparing to go to Fiji for a 2nd time, and 3) Aunt Cindy & Cousin Hannah (age 13), who lived in Romania for 4 years and are also preparing to return to Fiji.
My husband, Sam, with 3 friends in Fiji!
Here are websites that can help you incorporate "missions" in your home:
Christian Heroes: Than & Now
YWAM Publishing
*Kids of Courage
*Kids on Mission
Harvest Ministry
Mission Kids
*Caravan Friends
World Champions for God
My Passport to India

Curriculum with a "Missions" emphasis:
*Expedition Earth   (K-3rd)
Exploring Countries & Cultures (3rd-8th grade)
Children Around the World (2nd-6th grade)

Great books about being a "Missions" minded family:
Mission Minded Family
*Becoming a World Changing Family
One Million Arrows
Operation World
Take Your Best Shot

Other Missions resources:
*Window on the World
* Beginners World Atlas (I preordered the 2011 revised version from cbd.com)
*Children Just Like Me
*Passport to the World
National Geographic: Kid World Atlas
You Can Change the World
Expedition Earth
Bringing the World to Life (Queen Homeschool Website, found under geography category)
*Homeschool Creations Geography
Global Art
*Wee Sing Around the World
Torchlighters DVD's
Discipleland: Adventure (Ages 6-12)

Read Alouds
Christian Heroes:Then & Now (Ages 10+)
*Heroes for Young Readers (Ages 5-10)
International Adventures Series (Ages 14+)
Airquest Adventures (Ages 8-12)
Ten Girls & Ten Boys (Ages 8-12)
Real Kids-Real Stories-Real Change (Ages 9-12)
Around the World (Ages 7-12)
Jungle Doctor (Ages 10-12+)
Heavens Heroes
Missionary Stories with the Millers

* - items/resources I am personally using this next school year!

There are many ways we can get our kids involved in missions!  Here are a few ideas:
  • Operation Christmas Child (Plan a shoe box packing party)
  • Have them make Christmas Cards/Valentines Cards and take them to elderly people at a Senior Center!   We did this last Christmas!
Local senior center we visited!
  • Find a missionary kid for your child to be Pen Pals with!
  • Do a fund raising project for a missions organization (lemonade stand, sewing project, selling some toys on ebay, garage sale)
  • Pray for missionaries and specific people groups.
  • Asante Children's Choir
    Invite Missionary/former missionaries into your home.
  • Attend cross-cultural events right where you live!  Our church hosted an African Children's Choir this past December!
  • Sponsor a Child and/or support a missionary!
  • If you live in a very diverse/cross-cultural community get to know some new people!
  • Eat out at some authentic restaurants!
  • If you have traveled to other countries or gone on a missions trip, share those memories/pictures with your kids!
  • Hang up a world map in your "classroom" and purchase a globe.
  • Visit a cross-cultural church.
  • If you have close friends who are missionaries, share the newsletters/updates with your kids.
I am looking forward to using many of these resources and ideas in my home in the coming years and I hope you will do the same!! 

(100+ ways for your family to make a difference)


  1. Very cool Andrea! Your at -home missions ideas are awesome too! I agree, it's important to introduce your kids to missions! I'm so glad this is what we're doing next year in school too!

  2. Awesome, and I couldn't agree more! I continue to ponder how my kids can learn first hand how millions of children/people live an incredibly different life than theirs. Last Christmas we went into downtown Portland where we wrapped presents at a mission ministry. Most of these kids would only get this one gift. I don't think it made a noticeable impact on my kids, but I pray someday everything we do will add up. We also sponsor a child in Brazil through World Vision which I think is sinking in a bit. (Thx for all the resource links!

  3. Thanks for all these links and ideas, Andrea! Another book for kids that is about all the cultures of the world and also their spiritual conditions, is "You Can Change the World", by Daphne Spraggett with Jill Johnstone. Knowledge Quest/Bramley Books has just published "Expedition Earth," which has a page telling about every single country in the world-- not many geography books do that. James and I are going to use it this year, along with the book "You Can Change the World."

  4. Great post! I have been of a similar mindset lately...for us its community service. I am trying to figure out how to have the kids serve their community next year in a real/hands on way. I have not figured it out yet!

    Love all of your ideas! Kim

  5. Great post, Andrea! I had forgotten I had read this before and even commented. :D

    Another curriculum to add is My Father's World. They are very internationally focused and mission minded. They lived in Russia for a few years and also have a non-profit called God's Word for the Nations which does Bible translation.

    Living Books Curriculum also has a nonprofit called Education in a Box which provides high quality materials and teaching methods in native languages to set up school.

    Just thought I'd add my 2 cents! Again! :D

    1. I love your 2 cents Jennifer! I actually do have MFW listed but its under "Exploring Countries & Cultures". Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate all your support!