We are privileged to live and serve in a ministry that has become a launching pad for many young missionaries and missionary families. Many of my close friends are now serving overseas for The Gospel. We skype with them, talk on the phone, FB them, write them letters and talk about them by name in our home. When we receive updates, we invite our children to join in the conversation, making sure to give detailed accounts of hardships or of people who have become believers. These are not time-consuming things; they are small things that help to build up a foundation for global missions in the minds of my little ones.
The fastest, most effective way to jump start this process of fostering a healthy understanding of global missions would be for you and your family to get to know a missionary! If you are attending a missions-focused church, it should not be hard to get the name and contact info of a missionary so your family can “adopt” them. College students will take short-term missions trips during their summer breaks… maybe you know someone who will be leaving this summer! How great would it be if you and your family could get to know them before they left? You may already know someone who is serving, and just needed a reminder to write a letter or send an email. Whatever the case may be, connecting with other missionaries around the world will help shape your children’s perspective of sharing the gospel and how important it is.
Over the past year I have been conducting an unofficial survey of friends of mine who are currently serving or who have served at least 6 months or longer in overseas missions. I asked them how they felt when they received a package of letters from friends and family, specifically little children. The comments were always very positive and they were always encouraged to have received the packages. A few of them shared stories of how God brought these letters at the exact time that they needed major encouragement.
In I Corinthians, Paul writes about the church being one body.
He says, 25 “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
Here are some brief ways you can merge teaching your children about missions and encourage a missionary at the same time!
o Write to them
o Have your children write, draw pictures, cut up confetti… whatever just get them involved in sending/doing/talking about the specific people you have adopted to support as missionaries.
o Send them packages
o Learn about their people group and their goals
o Skype or video chat – let your kids see that they are real people and they have real families.
o Pray for them daily as a family