WMU Blog

Feed Your Neighbors, Next Door and around the World

Global Hunger Relief

October 11 is Global Hunger Sunday. What has our group done to focus on the needs of the hungry?

We are a small group. Averaging 30–35 in attendance any given Sunday, we realize huge projects may be beyond our means. But we don’t let that stop us. For the past several years, we have taken steps to help the hungry in our community—our closest neighbors.

October is the month we begin planning and collecting food for our annual Thanksgiving baskets. These baskets contain the makings of a generous Thanksgiving dinner. Our goal this year is to prepare 15 baskets, which will be given to families in need in our community.

But it is not enough.

What can we do to focus on the needs of the hungry—the ones who live in the global neighborhood?

I think it may be time for a hunger experience, one designed to heighten awareness of the severity of world hunger and inspire us to reach out and help.

Brokenness: The Seed of Compassion

Compassion isn’t something we possess on our own. It is often born of deep brokenness in which we experience the unspeakable comfort of God.

When our son was diagnosed with severe autism before age 2, I had only a surface grasp of God. He was a feel-good God to me. He was the God we begged to remove our problems, the God whose job it was to make us comfortable.

But my relationship with God became intimate, soothing, and more precious in the years that followed. I learned Who God really is through His Word. As I trusted Him more, God revealed His sovereignty over all of life. While I walked through the dark valley of suffering alongside our son, I experienced sides of God not visible to the naked eye:

  • God showed me such love that it overshadowed the heartache of the hour.
  • God showed me He was for me, not against me.
  • God took my prayers and answered them according to His will.

The time of suffering would prepare me to minister to people. Because of God’s compassion, I now feel compassion for others and it has been woven into nearly every act of ministry or missions I’ve been a part of.

Working Together to Make Missions Successful

The most beautiful thing about missions is not simply that it exists but how God gets His work done and invites us to join in His mission. Using His people, God instills in us a desire to serve Him, different talents, and passions and a focus on the gospel.

One of my favorite missions projects is Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. I love watching how many different types of people it takes to get thousands of shoe boxes packed each fall:

Connecting with the World around You

I was blessed to be part of a volunteer team that ministered at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. I enjoyed the international setting and the nations coming together in one place.

The Olympic missions experience taught me much about families.

Regardless of ethnicity, religion, income level, and country of origin, people desire some of the same things for their families. They seek

  • love
  • food and water
  • truth
  • kindness
  • security
  • relationships
  • things to do together

Believe it or not, the 2 things I did most as a volunteer along the River Thames were take photos of visitors and paint faces of young excited travelers. Visiting and connecting while helping with such simple tasks was a fantastic experience. I met many global neighbors I could love and help.

Missions engagement requires a willingness to connect—through everyday life activities—and build relationships with others. Proximity is a main ingredient for missions. Who is physically close to you? At work? At play? At home?

Look around. Whom can you connect with today?

Pastor/Church Staff Appreciation

 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:11–13 (NIV).

October is traditionally Pastor/Staff Appreciation Month. It’s not too late to honor your church’s pastor and staff. As you do, there are a few things to keep in mind. Never forget that serving as a pastor or church staff member is a remarkable and awesome blessing and privilege. But, sometimes, church staff members are the most misunderstood people in the church. Often their hours are long, their pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Despite the joys of serving God, feelings of disappointment and discouragement can plague the best of them.

However, there are several ways that God can use you to become a blessing in their lives:

Helping Preschoolers Overcome Fear

 “Do not be afraid. God is with you wherever you go” (see Josh. 1:9).

October is a month in which scary images have become the norm. We see scary jack-o-lanterns and skeletons and commercials for horror houses. As adults, we have seen these images so often that they may not even cause us to take a second glance. But for children, this season can bring out many fears.

From about the age of 2, children begin to develop the ability to form mental images. And, while having a great imagination can lead to all kinds of fun play, a great imagination can also lead to all kinds of fears. Never belittle or ridicule a preschooler’s fears. Do not make light of children’s fears. Be grateful that they trust you enough to share those fears. When they tell you they are afraid, take their fears seriously and be proactive in helping them to deal with the fears.

Here are a few suggestions for helping preschoolers overcome fear:

Connecting with the World around You

I was blessed to be part of a volunteer team that ministered at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. I enjoyed the international setting and the nations coming together in one place.

The Olympic missions experience taught me much about families.

Regardless of ethnicity, religion, income level, and country of origin, people desire some of the same things for their families. They seek

  • love
  • food and water
  • truth
  • kindness
  • security
  • relationships
  • things to do together

Believe it or not, the 2 things I did most as a volunteer along the River Thames were take photos of visitors and paint faces of young excited travelers. Visiting and connecting while helping with such simple tasks was a fantastic experience. I met many global neighbors I could love and help.

Missions engagement requires a willingness to connect—through everyday life activities—and build relationships with others. Proximity is a main ingredient for missions. Who is physically close to you? At work? At play? At home?

Look around. Whom can you connect with today?

Communicating Effectively

My best friend and I don’t get to see each other often, but we make a point to regularly keep in touch either by phone, messaging, or lunches together. A card from her in my mailbox reminds me that I am important to her and that she is thinking about me.

Through my years as a WMU leader, I have found that consistent communication with my leadership team is just as important. When I visit a Mission Friends class as the teacher is setting up for the lesson that evening, we have the opportunity to share our hearts for those preschoolers and how we are reaching them. A snail mail card sent saying, “I appreciate you,” or a Facebook message lets my teachers know they are important to me and to the ministry of our church.

Working Together to Make Missions Successful

The most beautiful thing about missions is not simply that it exists but how God gets His work done and invites us to join in His mission. Using His people, God instills in us a desire to serve Him, different talents, and passions and a focus on the gospel.

One of my favorite missions projects is Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. I love watching how many different types of people it takes to get thousands of shoe boxes packed each fall:

There are year-round bargain shoppers who check toy aisles and back-to-school sales, socking away their blessed stash.
There are parents who use the project to teach their children spiritual lessons about other children.
There are artistic people who love the decorating part of the project and enjoy making the boxes beautiful on the outside.
There are the people who quietly donate toward the postage needed to ship the boxes to their destinations.
There are churches who pray over the boxes, asking the Lord to bless the recipients and make Himself known to their families.
There are countless people I never see who sort boxes and deliver them to places all over the world. 

Why? When? How Come?

I just love when my children ask me questions that I am required to delicately think of age-appropriate answers for (sense the sarcasm?). Children have no filter so a Mama has to always be on her toes. There have been times when their questions make me smile, like when my five-year-old wanted to know why his athletic shorts did not have a protective cup like his eight-year-old brother’s. He stated he was not going to play baseball without having one himself.

Then there are the more serious questions like when my mother was involved in a serious accident earlier this year and my boys wanted to know if Grandma was going to walk again? I did not have a definite answer to give, but my five-year-old did. He proudly spoke up and said, “If Grandma has to be in a wheelchair then we will get Daddy to build her a ramp so she can get in our house.” His precious heart was so overwhelmed with the circumstances and trying to figure out the future that he was seeking to find a solution.

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