Children

More than Resolutions

I've never been very good at making—much less keeping—New Year's resolutions. Oh, I'll give it a passing thought as I hear others talk about their resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with their kids, etc. However, I've learned over the years that many, if not most, of those people who made those resolutions never kept them for more than a few weeks. Don't believe me? Visit a local gym on January 2 and then again on February 16. See if you notice the difference!

What it comes down to for me is not so much about making yearly resolutions I won't keep as it is about digging in and doing the hard work to accomplish what needs to be accomplished—in other words, setting goals and accomplishing them.

Last Minute Lottie (Moon Christmas Offering) Ideas

Christmas is over, but the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) season is not! And, guess what? It's not too late for your GAs, RAs or CAs to help take up the offering through a fun project. Consider any of these projects as ways to continue a focus on this special offering and help your kids learn that it's always the right time to support missionaries.

Mangerside Reflections

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, let's take time to consider some of the people who saw this story unfold firsthand.

Mary was intimately connected with this event. Jesus was born to her in a humble stable. Her willingness to let God work wonders through her life was truly inspiring.

Joseph may have been a little confused by the whole thing! Engaged to be married, he was shocked to find Mary was pregnant before their wedding day. Faced with a difficult decision, Joseph stepped up to the plate to help raise this child after a little heavenly intervention.

The shepherds were nothing special. These dirty, flea-bitten dregs of society found themselves in the presence of a mighty host of angels. Imagine their surprise when they discovered they would be the first among men to bear witness to the coming of the Messiah.

Wise men from the east saw a star in the sky that signified a spectacular event had taken place. Traveling from far away, they set out seeking the one true King. They brought their best gifts to give to a Savior they had not yet encountered.

In Honor of Lottie

She sailed across the sea
To a land so far away.
She left behind her expected life,
When she heard what God had to say.

God placed a call on the heart
Of a woman named Lottie Moon.
She gave her answer faithfully,
And would arrive in China soon.

She made her new home
Among the people there.
They didn't trust her at first,
But she always showed them care.

She learned the language of the people,
And dressed like those around her.
She baked her cookies happily,
And drew people in closer.

At last, they trusted Lottie—
She was finally able to share
About the love of Jesus Christ
And His sacrifice laid bare.

Lottie dearly loved these people
With all her heart and hand.
But she knew she couldn't do alone
Everything God had planned.

So she sought out help for God's work
From her Christian brothers and sisters.
She wrote letter after letter after letter after letter
To all the misses and misters.

Prepare Your Heart

This past Sunday marked the beginning of the Advent season, a time of preparation for the birth of Christ. I spent the weekend decorating my house, both inside and outside. At church, we adorned the sanctuary with wreaths, garlands, holly and ivy, poinsettias and Chrismons during the traditional Hanging of the Green service. It's even beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the national WMU building!

Yet, just as we decorate our homes, churches and offices for this special season of the year, we should also prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child into the world. A meaningful way to do this is by participating in the Week of Prayer for International Missions from December 3–10.

Throughout the week, pray for missionaries around the world as they share the good news of Jesus with all the nations. Visit this page on the International Mission Board's website for more details about the missionaries, as well as specific prayer requests for each day:

Connecting the Dots: Help Start a New Missions Organization

Do you remember doing connect the dot puzzles when you were a kid? As you traced your pen from dot to dot, a picture was slowly revealed. It was fun and exciting without being labor intensive.

Did you know that helping other churches set up missions groups is much the same? Each new program is a dot that helps reveal the picture of God’s work in your area. By working together in our own special ministry locations, we add more dimension to the picture—opportunities to reach more people with the gospel.

Just like the childhood puzzle, it is fun and exciting without being labor intensive. You don’t have to worry about where to place the dots, because churches already exist in the communities of your association. You don’t have to fret over who will participate—churches know their members and their communities. Your joy is in sharing missions organizations for children. Share your loves, passions, and thrills. Excitement is contagious, and the gospel is the most exciting news ever!

Family Traditions

Country music fans are probably familiar with the song titled “Family Traditions.” It plays quite frequently on the radio.

This weekend, that song went through my mind as I remembered my family's tradition of putting up Christmas decorations during Thanksgiving weekend. Back in my childhood days, my father, brother, and I would head out to the woods to look (for what seemed like hours) for the perfect Christmas tree. Finally, once we had found the perfect tree, my dad would take the axe and cut it down. Then, we’d head home and get the tree ready to be decorated. For the next few hours, we’d pull out old decorations, lights, and even that long, stringy, silver tinsel that wound up everywhere but on the tree.

Raising Thankful Children

Growing up, most of us were taught to be thankful for what we had. For many of us, saying “thank you” was just as important as saying “excuse me” or “yes, ma’am.” If you grew up in the South, that was especially true for you! But beyond saying the words themselves, how do we teach our children to be truly thankful people? It starts by modeling real thankfulness.

Giving thanks before a meal is a great place to begin. After your prayer, explain everything that had to come together to make that meal happen. Talk about the plants and animals grown and harvested, the packing and shipping processes that delivered these goods to the store, the store clerks and workers who received it and put it out on display, the resources you needed to purchase the food, and all the time and effort to make the meal and set it out for them to enjoy. Maybe you could say something like, “When we thank God for our food, we remember all that had to happen to bring it to our table.”

Tips for Keeping Older Kids Engaged in Missions Education

As you have probably noticed, kids have short attention spans. Often, a large dose of creativity is required to keep their attention for even a few minutes at a time.

A practical way to keep older kids engaged in missions education is by varying presentation methods. This takes time and preparation. As the missions leader, you must plan ahead to provide an assortment of informational items.

You can use the Internet to show videos about the focus country or people group. This is a great way to find a wealth of information, but be sure to preview any search results beforehand to avoid inappropriate material. Some older kids may be interested in becoming pen pals with a group of children or MKs in another country. As the leader, you can use social media to facilitate these interactions!

Don’t be afraid of trying foods from the area you are focusing on. Recipes are readily available and sometimes include suggestions for substitutions if something unusual is not accessible at your local grocery store. Kids will be delighted to try different dishes, especially if you eat it first!

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