Missionary work close to home is something that every family can be involved in.
Kendra from Preschoolers and Peace blog shares her story…
“Mommy, we need to pray for Clifford. Right now.” This was from my eight-year-old daughter, just as she was heading off to bed. I stopped whatever I was doing, which was probably helping her youngest brothers get ready for bed, and we prayed together. That Clifford would be safe, that he would be loved, and he would know that Jesus loves him so deeply.
Clifford is the young child that we sponsor through Compassion International. We only just signed up to sponsor him in January and my Emily has been so diligent to pray for him and write to him. Her heart is so tender to the needs of others, so when she asks to pray, we pray!
Missions is something that is near and dear to the hearts of me and my husband. He grew up as a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea and I spent two years working in South Korea as a a missionary after I finished college. But as we’ve grown older and (hopefully) a little wiser, our view of missions has changed. As a result, what we are teaching our children about missions is quite a lot different from what we were taught about missions as we were growing up.
I remember as a child going to church on a Sunday night and sitting on the hard pew, listening to a missionary from some place I had never heard of, talking about the pictures on the slideshow they had brought. I learned that being a missionary meant that I had to go somewhere else, far, far away to tell people about Jesus.
I now understand that is simply not true. Jesus came to bring Good News to everyone and that includes our neighbors, co-workers, fellow basketball team parents, and yes, even my own children. Because of this understanding, my husband and I are very intentional in helping our kids understand that everyone needs to know Jesus and as believers in Jesus Christ, it is our privilege and responsibility to share with them, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
What does this look like? Well, with a family of seven, five of whom are under the age of ten, we grab opportunities whenever they present themselves! . As often as possible when my husband and I are involved in a ministry opportunity we take a child or three with us.
- Our children have taken cookies to neighbors, with notes they’ve written themselves that say how much God loves that neighbor.
- We regularly volunteer at the local food bank, in an effort to meet other volunteers that might not know about Jesus, as well as provide food for those that need it most.
- Around the dinner table we will have natural conversations about people we know that are choosing to live in places all over the world, sharing their lives with people so that they will know that Jesus loves them so much and wants a relationship with them.
- And then there is Clifford. I was with my oldest two daughters at an Orphan Awareness event (another subject close to the heart of our family) and they were talking about Compassion International. I wasn’t unfamiliar with their work and we have talked about sponsoring a child off and on for a long time. I told the Lord that if one of the girls asked to do it, we would. My precious Emily looked over at me, with tears in her eyes, and said “We need to do that, Mommy.” And she faithfully prays for him every day.
Missions isn’t something that other people do. It’s something that all believers in Jesus Christ are told to do. My husband and I frequently pray that our children will be bold and courageous, going wherever God asks them to go. Even if it’s just down the street.
Day 1 – Missions Reading Resources