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Hot Off the Press! A Resource for All Preschool Teachers!

First Steps in Missions, vol. 24

Wait, what? Is it a resource for Mission Friends?

Definitely! And it’s also for other preschool teachers! It’s called First Steps in Missions, and the 2018–19 edition, volume 24, has just been released.

Perhaps you already know that each year we publish this supplementary book of activities to go along with the 12 missions areas that will be found in Mission Friends Leader teaching guide. Or maybe you don’t know about it—sometimes we feel like it should win the prize for Most Valuable Best Kept Secret in Mission Friends!

Summer Break Missions Projects for Kids

Ah, summer. I long for the school days of the past when I was guaranteed a summer break. There’s just no comparison between the promise of a no-strings-attached break and using vacation hours to take off work for a week (at the most). Kids have it made, am I right? But the idea of a long summer break from school brings about the mindset that everything else takes a break, too. Visions of pool days and sunrays dance in their heads. Vacations move ever closer, and homework is nowhere to be found.

Amid all the summer excitement, sometimes kids (and even adults) forget that the Great Commission doesn’t take a break. People need to hear about the love of Jesus year-round. With no school to worry about for the time being, kids have even more opportunities to stay on mission. Summer actually lends itself to more fun-filled missions projects that can incorporate everything they’ve been looking forward to doing during the break.

The Best-Laid Plans

to-do list with cup of coffee and muffin

God has a plan and a purpose for each of His followers. We each have a mission while here on earth. In Acts 20:24, Paul said, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” We are to tell others the good news about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And God puts people in our path every day.

I had a plan for my flight home from Russia after a vision trip to gather information for the International Mission Study 2017 on Central Asian Muslims living in Russia. I was going to get a lot of work done on the longer second leg of my flight. I had speaking engagements to prepare for, cards to write, emails to read and respond to, etc. But God had other plans.

Experience Joy beyond the Surface

flower petal on water's surface

As a college student, I find that my life is characterized by a constant whirlwind of activity. Moving through my day, I am always surrounded by friends, classmates, and professors. But I rarely take the time to get to know these people beyond the surface level. In fact, I could probably recite most conversations I have as if I were reading off a script.

The way the Bible talks about relationships, though, is vastly different from the reality I so often experience. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being in relationship with others should make everyone stronger and draw everyone involved closer to God. How can we begin cultivating these iron-sharpening-iron relationships?

Start with honesty. When someone asks how you are, it is OK to admit that you are stressed out, scared, or overwhelmed. Moving past surface-level responses, even to basic questions, breaks down the shiny façade we often present to others. This step is so vital to forming authentic relationships that build up one another in Christ.

Meet the Martins in Las Vegas

Cynthia, Alicia, Tom Martin

In 2006, Tom and Cynthia Martin faced a difficult decision. They had been serving as International Mission Board missionaries in South America for 17 years, but needed to return to the United States because of medical issues. Cynthia says it was an intensely emotional time, and she grieved that she would no longer be on the front lines of cross-cultural ministry. “But God promised me that He wasn’t through with me,” says Cynthia.

Getting to Know Las Vegas

During May, GAs, RAs and CAs will learn about what God is doing in Las Vegas, Nevada, through Cynthia and Tom Martin, who work with refugees in their city.

Las Vegas is an interesting city! Here are some facts about the city:

Unshakable Pursuit: Read All about It

Unshakable Pursuit devotional

We pursue many things in life: Friendships and acceptance. Freedom in the form of a driver’s license or a high school diploma. Higher education or technical training. Financial security with a job that pays well and provides benefits. Hobbies that feed our passions. Love and maybe a family of our own. The comforts of our dream home. Recognition for a job well done. Retirement goals. Items on a bucket list. Happiness. Purpose.

And we even get pursued. By the university we’ve always wanted to go to. By the company we’d like to work for. By the person we are interested in getting to know better. By God.

God has pursued us in love since He created the world. The new 30-day devotional Unshakable Pursuit: Chasing the God Who Chases Us by Grace Thornton explores this truth and helps readers understand that life finds its rhythm when we pursue Him wholeheartedly.

Share Who You Are

jar of clay

Sharing who we are can be a daunting task. For some, it may come naturally, but for most, it poses a challenge. After all, we are a mix of both God’s image by creation and the fallen reality of sin. Through the grace of God, Christ’s work on the Cross, the power of the Resurrection, and life in the Spirit, we have the potential to shine God’s love in amazing ways. But most of us feel hesitant somehow, perhaps as if the world might judge us as unworthy.

Mission Friends Restaurant

The little 3-year-old waitress at our exclusive Mission Friends restaurant asked me, “Would you like the mac and cheese, tacos, or veggables?” I chose the mac and cheese, and she scribbled my order on a toy magnetic writing board that was in the classroom. She instantly served my imaginary mac and cheese on an imaginary plate, and told me it would be $3.00. I paid my imaginary money and pretended to eat my food. There were squeals of laughter as the 4-year-old cook joined in to bring me more food that I had not even ordered!

Tender Care for the Hurting

Six hundred forty miles separated me from my parents. It’s hard to get an accurate picture of the real situation from that far away. The winter before, my father had been put on life support but made a miraculous recovery. Each day was a gift. I listened carefully to the description of symptoms. After the phone call with my mother ended, I immediately dialed a nurse friend. She said, “I believe you should drop what you are doing and make a trip to Illinois to be with your family.” I will always be grateful for that timely advice.

My father was immediately put on hospice. Nurse friends from the local hospital sent him a care basket. How blessed we were by the ministry of nurses who came in and out of the home to care for him. A few days after Christmas, I remember dialing a phone with trembling hands late one night. I whispered, “My father cannot breathe because of the pain. What should we do?” The nurse calmly walked us through the medicine to administer. She stayed on the phone until I was confident in what to do. His pain became manageable and his breathing steadied.

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