This is my second attempt on the Yeah Write Weekly Challenge and this time I wanted to share my ideas about how to introduce the idea of mission work to the kids at my church. To do this I think about the instruction from Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Children learn the best from doing rather than watching or being told what to do. So that was the challenge. How do we get them involved?
This awareness of the need to involve the kids came to me even when we were at our previous church. We had several children and they were eager to be a part of the ministry of the church. Beginning in 2007 we arranged the packing of shoe box gifts for needy children all over the world so that our children could be the ones to pack the shoe boxes.
Their response was fabulous. In fact, they would work as long as we allowed and could easily have packed thousands of these gifts. It was the opportunity they craved to do a something important that mattered. Their reward was a couple of letters from the Indian subcontinents that arrive during the next year.
When we decided to change churches it was with some trepidation about leaving the kids without a mission focus, but God always provides and he did as we entered the church we are in now. Relationships with the children at the new church came together quickly and my wife and I began aiming for the same kind of impact with the children at our new church.
Last year we got all the younger children to help as we packed more shoe boxes for Christmas. The difference this time around was that three other parents of the children and I would go and see the gifts distributed. While I was in Belize with the team I made sure to take plenty of pictures and a couple of videos to share with the kids at home and make them feel connected. It is important to show them what their faithful devotion means to another.
Coming in to this year another idea bubbled up that seemed even better to get the children excited. During our annual bible school we had a penny parade and asked the children to bring pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters on successive nights. They were also encouraged to bring bars of soap, wash cloths, tooth brushes and tooth paste. The response was fabulous. In fact nearly 80% of the funds we needed for shipping our gifts were collected.
As an incentive I offered the kids at our bible school the chance to put a pie in my face if they brought more money than me. Needless to say they responded in spades. Their excitement was worth any clean up on my part.
Toward the end of the 2013 campaign I noticed a young girl was making the Rainbow Loom bracelets that are popular with the children these days. I asked her to make some to take with me to Belize. She was thrilled and between her and her siblings and another young girl at church I was able to hand out almost 100 of these during the mission trip. I made sure to get a photo of the kids in Belize wearing their bracelets to share when I returned. I also made pictures of the kids in Belize with a white board thanking our kids for their gifts. Making that connection is important.
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