Mission Friends

Nice to Meet You

Nell Branum

My name is Nell Branum. I am one of your Preschool Team writers, and it is a joy! I love preschoolers (good thing, as I have 8 grandchildren!) and I love writing. But as 2018 picks up steam, a new opportunity has presented itself to me, and it has to do with your WMU Preschool Team.

Our beloved editor, Robin McCall, is making a shift in her job responsibilities at WMU. For the past 5 years, Robin has served as editor of Preschool Resources, leading the team that produces our helpful Mission Friends curriculum and products. Robin was a Mission Friends teacher long before she became an editor, and she has a true love for preschoolers and missions. She has done an amazing job. But the trouble with multi-talented people is that they can do many things! And God has led Robin to shift into helping our WorldCrafts and WMU customer engagement hubs to deepen their ministries. Robin, we thank you for your energy and commitment, your invaluable contributions to preschoolers, and your sweet spirit, and we are praying for you as you follow this new path.

How Do We Teach about Places So Far Away?

As we talked about the ministries of Ryan and Seané Rice in New Orleans this month, my little Kathryn said, “I went to New Orleans.” I could tell a spark of recognition in her expression. Then I was able to ask her what she saw there and what she did in New Orleans. This was unusual because my Mission Friends have usually never been to the missions areas we learn about in Mission Friends. How do we teach preschoolers about a place they have never been before?

Preschoolers are limited in their understanding of time and distance. To them, and hour’s drive to their grandmother’s house seems like a long distance. They do not fully understand a map because on the map another state or country is only a few inches away, and that doesn’t seem like very far. They cannot yet translate in their minds how many miles those few inches on the map represent. How do we teach about places so far away?

Extending the Story

Extend the story of I Can Do It! through activities related to the story. As you read the book with preschoolers, use these activity ideas with your Mission Friends® to continue learning about the concepts in the book.

Outreach—a way of life and who we are

Ryan and Seané Rice’s lives revolve around relationships with people. “Living in New Orleans as a church planter is all about building relationships with people. In fact, this is what our city is all about,” says Ryan. Though Ryan grew up loving VBS and Sunday School as a kid, when he got older, he stopped going and, even disliked the idea of church. He started to go his own way and, in his words, became his “own sort of god.” When he met his wife in college, Ryan began to slowly take the truth of the gospel seriously. Seané would invite him to church and, of course, he tagged along.

Doing Missions

gift mug

Preschoolers learn by doing, and missions is no different from anything else. Doing missions needs to be a part of preschoolers’ missions experiences. They need to be involved in showing concern for people and sharing God’s love with others. The WMU® objective states this as “mission action and witnessing,” but for preschoolers in Mission Friends®, we call it Helping Others activities. By doing Helping Others activities, preschoolers have experiences in showing God’s love and care to others. Through Helping Others activities, preschoolers see that others have needs and they can help to meet other people’s needs.

As I Have Done to You

Friends

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15 ESV1)

Recently I asked my Mission Friends® how Jesus wants us to treat others. “Be nice.” “Love each other.” “Take care of each other.” “Help each other.” Ah, we were on the right track. And then, sweet little Sadie said, “Do what others need, even when it’s hard.”

Yes. Even when it’s hard. Do what others need, even when it’s hard. Even when you are tired. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when the person in need has hurt you or treated you unjustly. If we really think about it, doesn’t this statement get to the very heart of grace—serving and loving others even when that service and love is unmerited?

Christmas

Christmas wish

Merry Christmas!

from the Preschool Team at national WMU

Giving Support to Missionaries

Making a card

“We need to send my postcard to the family in Utah,” said 5-year-old Caroline one morning. When her mother, Lesli, went to get Caroline out of bed that morning, this was the first thing her daughter said. Caroline told Lesli of learning about the Kerns family in Mission Friends® the night before. Lesli and Caroline prayed for them and mailed the postcard Caroline decorated along with a note about their family. The Kernses sent back a note to thank Caroline for the encouragement, and included a picture of their family. Caroline’s church, Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, had just started Mission Friends that month. What a difference Mission Friends was already making with their preschoolers as they began learning about missions!

Sharing the Joy of the Lord

Russia train

Kimberly Grogan’s call to missions came when she was 25 years old while teaching school in Texas. Her parents were missionaries in Venezuela, South America, where she was born and spent 18 years of her life. At the age of 25, Kimberly resigned from her teaching job and began classes at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. There, she met her future husband, Nolan, and they now have 3 daughters—Maria, Reese, and Gabrielle.

Ideas for a Fifth Session of Mission Friends

Mission Friends Leader

Sometimes you just need more to do with Mission Friends®. It might be that you meet 5 times a month and there are only 4 sessions in Mission Friends Leader, what do you do?

 

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