Mission Friends

Step Into the World: Love in Action

As we enter February, our thoughts move from the Christmas season to the celebration of Valentine’s Day. During this month, we spend time thinking of ways to demonstrate our love for friends and family. It is a season filled with beautiful opportunities to step into the world around us to share God’s love with others.

Dictionary.com says that the phrase step into means to “Involve oneself or intervene” in a situation. So, saying that we will step into the world to show Christ’s love infers much more than simply saying “I love you.” Stepping into the world means that we put our love into action.

John, the beloved disciple, said, “Dear Children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18 NIV1).

Step into the world. Develop a Christ-centeredness that flows into an others-centeredness. Let’s place our selfish concerns, including our fears, behind us and step out in courage and boldness. Instead of thinking of stepping into the world as a duty, begin to look at it as a privilege.

Teaching Preschoolers the Significance of Prayer

Last week, during National WMU’s all employee meeting, our executive director, Sandy Wisdom-Martin, shared excerpts of her prayer journal with us. She emphasized that prayer should not be assigned to specific times or places. Sandy’s words created a beautiful picture, "When prayer occurs with frequency and passion, communication transforms into communion. When people pray together, it creates a climate for God’s Spirit to dwell in our midst. If we lead with prayer, God can do immeasurably more in and through us."

What if our preschoolers caught this vision? Preschoolers are ripe for learning about prayer. They accept matters of faith that our jaded adult minds may not accept. From birth, we can pray with our children. As you pray with your little ones, you are building a foundation for deeper, more fervent and faithful communion with God.

Use these suggestions to help your preschoolers understand the significance of prayer for followers of Jesus:

Teaching the Christian Concept Areas

Every month in Mission Friends®, we feature one Christian concept area to be studied along with the work of missionaries around the world. The Christian concept areas can be thought of as the building blocks of spiritual formation for preschoolers. These concept areas offer us the opportunity to help preschoolers begin developing basic understandings of the Christian faith.

As you work through the interest areas and Group Time and share Bible thoughts with preschoolers, you will see that the Christian concept areas are woven throughout the components of each session. An additional resource for teaching preschoolers about the Christian concept areas is the “Missions and Me” Series of digital downloadable books.

This series gives you affordable, downloadable, and/or printable books for talking to your preschoolers about the Christian concept areas. Each book focuses on just one concept area. This series has recently been revised and updated so that each page is full-color. The books’ simple text and illustrations draw preschoolers in and open opportunities for simple conversations.

Mission Friends Leadership Certificate

Would you like to shape your leadership skills as a Mission Friends® teacher? Taking the online training courses that make up the new Mission Friends Leadership Certificate will help you sharpen your leadership skills. The following courses are included in the Leadership Certificate offered by WMU® through Develop online training. When you purchase 4 of the courses, you can get your 5th course free!

  • Leading Mission Friends—Explore the purpose of Mission Friends, the main teaching components, resources, planning, and teaching through activities and Group Time.

  • Uniquely Designed: Preschoolers—Take a look at the unique characteristics of preschoolers and how they grow physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

  • How Preschoolers Learn—Discover the 4 learning styles of preschoolers and the ways preschoolers learn. Consider how to encourage preschoolers to learn about God and missions.

Praying for Disaster Relief Chaplains and Workers

pray for disaster relief volunteers

In one of my earliest experiences with Baptist Disaster Relief, I learned firsthand the precious value of those who support the ministry from behind the scenes.

Hurricane Hugo had devastated huge areas of our state of South Carolina. A friend from our church offered to care for our two preschool-aged children so that my husband and I could both serve with a Disaster Relief (DR) unit in a hard-hit area. Others in our church prayed as we served. The experience convinced me that those in support roles back home are just as much a part of the ministry of Disaster Relief as those on site in the disaster area.

You can be part of the DR ministry by praying for the chaplains and other volunteers who respond to offer help, hope, and healing to disaster survivors.

 

Pray for open eyes to see inner needs.

Reflections of a Disaster Relief Worker

Disaster relief child care

This month in Mission Friends, we will learn about chaplaincy in disaster relief. Several years ago, I felt led to receive training in Disaster Relief Child Care through Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief, which is part of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief through the North American Mission Board. Though the Disaster Relief Child Care workers are not officially trained as Disaster Relief chaplains, I feel that we serve in a similar capacity to the children as we care for them and help them at the time of a disaster. I have been privileged to serve on Disaster Relief Child Care teams in a couple different places. One was a year following hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and in northeast Alabama the week following the 2011 tornadoes. These are some of my reflections on serving in disaster relief.

By All Means

By All Means

A new year brings thoughts about resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and get organized. Some people make New Year’s resolutions to get out of debt or do better at time management. Other people’s resolutions involve doing a specific task, such as walk 3 times a week. One friend resolved to try a new recipe every week. I knew another person whose New Year’s resolution was to read a book every month. I have a friend whose resolution 1 year was to run in a half marathon. She made it, too!

Many of our resolutions are about bettering ourselves, which is good. As this year begins, consider making a resolution about being involved with others in the world around you. What could you do this year to get to know the families of your Mission Friends better? It may mean stepping out to sit with a family at their preschooler’s T-ball game or taking a meal to a family with a new baby. Resolve to step out within your neighborhood to get to know families with preschoolers. You will have to be intentional about coming alongside people in order to get to know them and share your faith with them.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Preschool Resource Team

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Non-Food Treats

non-food treats

Christmas parties, goodie bags, and gift exchanges. This time of year gives us opportunities to give little treats to our preschoolers we teach in Mission Friends. What do you do if you have a preschooler with allergies? This can make all the difference in what we give and serve to preschoolers.

This year I have a preschooler who has severe allergies to food items, and we have to be very careful about what we offer to our Mission Friends. We do not want to single him out, so we serve all the preschoolers in our class the same snacks that he can have. The nature of his allergies is so severe that we always get prior approval from his mom for anything we serve.

So for Christmas when we want to give our preschoolers a special treat, what can we give? I started searching and making a list of non-food items for preschool teachers to give as treats. What other items can you add to the list?

  • Nativity ornament

  • stampers

  • fun drinking straws

  • small packages of play dough

  • silly sunglasses

  • finger puppets

  • shoelace charms

Relational People Serving a Relational Savior

Dove Family

Do you ever wonder what life is like for special workers who live internationally? What do they most enjoy about their work? How do they make connections? What are their dreams?

Zach and Jennifer Dove, IMB Church Planters in Norway, have not been called to pastor a church or lead a particular group. Instead, they spend their time working “behind the scenes.” The Doves partner with people in their communities who are interested in beginning new churches or who wish to revitalize churches that need revival and growth. They provide training and direction and discipleship for local church leadership, and they work to connect people who can meet each other’s needs.

When asked what they most enjoy about their work in Norway, the Doves share that they love meeting people and developing relationships. They enjoy hearing life stories and learning what is most important to people.

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