Mission Friends

Growing Toward God

Looking at the Bible together

The first 5 years in a child’s life are crucial, as these are the years of the most growth both physically and mentally. Their personalities are set during this time as they grow emotionally. Preschoolers’ social development is also enormous during these years as they learn language skills and how to relate to others. If growth in all of these areas is of such importance during the preschool years, it stands to reason that their growth spiritually is also crucial during these years. What a privilege we are given to have a part in guiding preschoolers’ spiritual growth. Our purpose in teaching preschoolers about missions is to lead them in developing a heart for missions so that a missions mind-set becomes part of their lifestyle.

Cultivating Relationships and Sharing the Gospel

Praying friends

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 9:22—23 NIV1).

Cultivating relationships often begins by meeting the needs of those around us. In communities where arts are valued, missionaries develop creative studios. In areas where international students need after-school care and homework help, missionaries open their homes for dinner and tutoring. In cities where sports are esteemed, missionaries offer free summer sports camps. In towns where men and women enjoy quilting and woodworking, missionaries purchase supplies and provide crafting workshops.

Six Ways to Engage Families in Missions

Helping Others

When families learn about missions, pray for missions, give to missions, and work together to help others, preschoolers will develop an “all in” heart for missions. While preschoolers certainly learn a great deal about missionaries in Mission Friends®, we must also enlist our preschoolers’ families to engage in missions at home.

Our ministries consultant, Lena Plunk, recently shared a story about how her nieces are on mission in their neighborhood. While Lena was visiting, her nieces were watching a video when they heard the garbage truck coming up their road. Her niece MJ jumped up and said, “The garbage truck, hurry, we don’t want to miss them!” Lena thought the girls were going to the window to watch the truck. Instead, they grabbed thirst-quencher drinks and ran out to give these gifts to the men on the truck. Lena says that her nieces enjoy sharing water, cookies, and snacks with all of their community helpers. Out of their love for Jesus, her 2 nieces enjoy giving to others.

How can you help your preschoolers’ families become Families on Mission?

For Preschool Leaders

Why begin missions education in the preschool years? Because the significance of a strong foundation based on biblical truths cannot be overestimated. It's important to learn about God and His love for all people at a young age. Preschoolers can understand they are part of God's plan for the world and they can give of their time and abilities to serve Him through caring and sharing. Cultivating a heart for missions in preschoolers brings great value to preschoolers, families, and the entire church.

For Mission Friends leaders, you'll find resources designed to help you engage preschoolers of all ages in hands-on missions discipleship activities.

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Extending the Story: Always Remember to Pray

Always Remember to Pray

Using activities related to a story or book is a way of extending what preschoolers learn by giving them experiences connected to the story. When you read Always Remember to Pray, by Robin McCall, extend the story with activities related to prayer. Talk about prayer and tell preschoolers we are talking to God when we pray. Encourage preschoolers to think about ways they can pray at any time and any place. The following activities will extend the story and help preschoolers learn more about prayer.

Reaching the Deaf around the Globe

Deaf interpreter

Over 20 years ago, Doc and Dee Douglas* started their journey, across the world, sharing the gospel through Bible stories to the Deaf community. Dee was born to deaf parents, and her first/heart language is American Sign Language. She is gifted when it comes to sign language and Deaf culture. Doc was born to hearing parents and had no background in American Sign Language. He is gifted in administration, theology, and leadership.

Doc says, “Our primary way of sharing the gospel has been through Bible stories. Whether in random conversations or if we are in a planned strategy to engage deaf people in a particular city, there is always the introduction of a story—the ‘avenue in’ to sharing the gospel.” The Deaf are storytellers themselves, and a natural way of drawing them into conversation of the gospel is through Scripture stories.

By All Means

By All Means

Our first session of Mission Friends® for the new church year started in a most exciting way. We had a big group of preschoolers coming up into our class of 3- and 4-year-olds. The first session is usually a little more hectic because the preschoolers don’t know the schedule, and you are trying to figure out preschoolers’ names. I expected to have 8 or 9 preschoolers, but we had 13! I had planned the painting activity suggested in Mission Friends Leader for the session, and it took a while for the preschoolers to take turns in sets of 2 or 3 preschoolers at a time. When we finally gathered for Group Time, the power went out in the whole church! We spent the remainder of our session in the dark, using the flashlights from our smartphones.

Praying for Missions

A preschooler came home from church with a prayer reminder he made in Mission Friends®. His mother told me that when she put him to bed that night, she heard him pray the sweetest prayer for the missionary family. God is working in the lives of preschoolers as we teach them to pray for missions. As preschoolers learn about missions, one of their responses is to pray for the missions work they are learning about.

Meet Angie Quantrell!

Angie and her grandchildren

I like to tell people we live in a horse pasture. This is technically true. But the horses have moved on and we don’t share space with any large farm animals, just cats, birds, bugs, and the occasional skunk. My husband, Kevin, and I sold our home last summer and moved into an RV trailer. Our son and daughter-in-law graciously invited us to park in their pasture. RV living is an adventure. We are learning so many new things! We plan to live in the RV for a few years while we research and build a small home. Until then, RV life it is.

Extending the Story: Let’s Learn About . . .

Let's Learn About . . .

Get more out of the preschool missions storybooks in your Mission Friends® classroom by extending the stories with activities related to the books. This month we’ll share a few ways to extend the story for the book Let’s Learn About . . . by Angie Quantrell. Read the story to your Mission Friends class, and then follow up with these activities.

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