Mission Friends

Welcoming Preschoolers to Mission Friends

Do you have new preschoolers in your Mission Friends® class as the new church year starts? You may also have preschoolers who have been away for the summer, so they feel like they are starting again. Some preschoolers may be promoting into your Mission Friends class. Use these tips for giving preschoolers a welcome to Mission Friends.

Picture Set Ideas and Activities

What can I do with the Mission Friends Leader Picture Set after we have completed a unit of study? Check out these fun ways to extend the usefulness of this resource and to help your Mission Friends® revisit the missionaries they have already met:

Two Dozen Painting Ideas

Why paint with just plain paintbrushes all the time? There are a myriad of items that preschoolers can use in painting. Preschoolers love to paint, and they can gain so much from painting: eye-hand coordination, large muscle control, small muscle control, color identification, color mixing, left-right and up-down concepts, creativity, a sense of accomplishment, and responding to God in wonder. Listed here are 2 dozen items for preschoolers to use in painting.

Who Helps You Serve?

When asked who serves with him and helps in his work, Pastor Fue Chee Her gave four names and shared the ways that each individual supports his ministry. He first listed his father, Cher Pao Her, a retired Southern Baptist pastor. Pastor Her explained that his father’s experience and leadership abilities are crucial to his ministry.

Next he listed Deacon Ber Yang who assists in developing a vision for all areas of ministry at Gospel Hmong Baptist Church.

Third, Pastor Her said that his mentor Steve Dyess supports him with wisdom, encouragement and prayer.

Finally, he told about the support of Pastor Jackie Hill and Roseville Baptist Church. Roseville Baptist has given Gospel Hmong Baptist Church a place to meet and worship, as well as sharing their equipment. Roseville Baptist also provides prayer support and encouragement.

Give Them Jesus

In choir practice we rehearsed the song that we will sing this Sunday, the traditional hymn “Give Me Jesus.” As we practiced this song, I thought of how appropriate it is to sing this song in the month that we focus on the Christian concept area Jesus in Mission Friends. In Philippians 2:9, Paul says that Jesus is “the name that is above every name.” We have the privilege and joy of sharing the name of Jesus with our Mission Friends®, and helping them know our Jesus.

To help you focus on the Christian concept area Jesus:

Summer Fun

The middle of summer is here, and your Mission Friends group might need a little summer fun! Summer may be a little more easy-going in Mission Friends as some families are out on vacation, it stays light later, and things may not be as rushed. Here are some ideas for adding some fun to your Mission Friends sessions in the summer.

Be Intentional in Helping Others

Guy and Elena Key have been serving in Brazil under appointment of the International Mission Board since 1984. Brazil has been in the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Key’s families for many years. Mr. Key is a second generation missionary in Brazil, and Mrs. Key is a third generation missionary to Brazil. Her grandparents served there as missionaries with the Foreign Mission Board from 1920 to 1960. Yes, Mrs. Key’s family has served in Brazil for almost 100 years!

One component of the Keys’ work in Brazil is to help Brazilians who are called into missions, both in Brazil and cross-culturally. Likewise, as Mission Friends leaders, one component of our work is helping the families of preschoolers to engage in sharing God’s love with those in need. Immigrants to the United States are 1 segment of our population who have many needs. Mr. Key gave the following suggestions for specific ways to befriend Brazilian immigrants, but these suggestions would be applicable to any immigrants to our country. Share these suggestions with your preschoolers’ families and encourage them to be intentional in helping others:

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Others in Our World

As we teach preschoolers about the missions area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this month in Mission Friends®, we are also focusing on the Christian concept area World. This is a broad and wide concept area that is not always easy to convey to preschoolers. As I think about the concept area World, I like to remember the concept area as “Others in Our World.”

For many years we used the Christian concept area Others. That concept area was changed into the two concept areas of Community and World. When this change was made, at WMU® we generally thought of Community as encompassing other people who live near me. The Christian concept area World includes other people who live far away. We want preschoolers to learn that God loves people around the world, and missionaries tell others in the world about Jesus and His love.

This month as we focus on World as a concept area, the writers of the activities and stories in Mission Friends Leader lead us to focus on the following aspects each week:

Session 1: God loves people of different cultures all over the world.

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The Greatest of These Is Love

Last week, Joye Smith and I attended a conference titled “Helping Families Heal.” The presenter, Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, prescribes a unique approach to helping children heal from traumatic experiences. Forbes said that truly helping a child is not about fixing behavior. Rather than focusing on logic and consequences, she recommends seeking understanding and connecting with children to help them regulate their own behavior.

This has great implications for teachers of all preschoolers. When you are dealing with discipline issues in your classroom, instead of using time outs or trying to use logic, try these practical tips for helping preschoolers improve their ability to self-regulate their behavior:

Why Preschoolers Need Repetition

Another wonderful question has come our way: I see repetition in Mission Friends materials. Why do you repeat activities?

While adults crave variety, preschoolers thrive on repetition. In doing things over and over again, preschoolers develop and master new skills and construct new understandings of their world. Think of how people develop the ability to play a musical instrument or master a sport. It takes repetition and practice. As preschoolers repeat and practice a variety of skills, they build their proficiency in those skills, which in turn leads to greater self-confidence.

In addition to helping preschoolers master new skills, repetition helps them predict what is going to happen next. In books with repetitive text, preschoolers love to chime in with the words that are repeated. As preschoolers successfully predict what will come next, they are learning sequencing skills, such as before and after.

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