missions project

Christmas in August Update

As a kid, Christmas Eve was a day I looked forward to all year long! Christmas Eve was when Santa would stop by our house and bring us presents. Every year, I was so excited about what was to come that I’d voluntarily put myself to bed extra early with hopes that the morning would come sooner. I would not sleep under the covers on Christmas Eve. You see, my mother had a rule that we could not leave our rooms each morning (including Christmas morning) until our beds were made. So, on Christmas Eve I would sleep (if I slept at all) on top of the covers so that I could prevent the 2–3-minute delay of getting to my presents!

I often wonder if that’s how Christmas in August missionaries feel as they approach WMU’s focus on their ministries. Are they excited? Curious about what to expect? A little concerned about how many RAs, GAs, or CAs might give in support of their work? More than likely, there’s a mix of emotions going through their minds as they wait for Christmas in August to roll around.

Are you familiar with Christmas in August? A little history might be good at this point.

God-Sized Mission

I am always amazed at how God plants a little seed in someone's heart and mind, lets that seed grow a little, and then sprouts out something more amazing than our minds could have ever imagined. That's what happened to our GA and RA groups at Northside Baptist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

My name is Tiffany, and I am the GA director of our group at church. As the director, I plan out all the missions projects during the summer for the coming year for the GAs and RAs of our church. Last summer, I planned for our kids to memorize 6 salvation verses to help equip them to talk with their friends at school or in their neighborhoods about the love of Jesus and the gospel story. We planned several projects using these verses to help the kids with memorization. One of these projects was marking 50 Bibles with salvation verses. At the time, I didn't have a plan of whom we would give the Bibles to. I just felt a nudge that this was a project we needed to work on. And I knew God would show me who needed them and once again nudge me at just the right time.

Disaster Relief

Helping others in a time of crisis is perhaps one of the most basic aspects of our faith in Christ. When we hear of someone in need, something deep within us stirs and urges us forward to see how we can help. Children understand when someone is hurting. In fact, they often grasp this much better than we do. Through all of our layers of reasoning, distraction, and comfort, we’ve gotten pretty good at ignoring the pain of others. But children have a special way of taking on the pain of those around them, and they feel it deeply. They want to help any way they can. That is why it’s so important to teach our children about disaster relief.

There are many ways of doing this, but here are just a few ideas you can use to introduce your children to disaster relief:

When the Church Gets It Right

Wheels of the World

Have you ever felt burdened by the woes of the church? I know I have. It seems like every morning there’s some new scandal or financial indiscretion plastered all over the daily news. Sometimes the weight of it all gets a little hard to handle. That’s why stories of encouragement, like the one I’m about to share with you, are so important to tell!

Coloring for Jesus

Disaster relief volunteers often work with children whose families have gone through natural disasters. These volunteers help families and children on a temporary basis with basic needs like food, water, and shelter. They also help children by just being a friend when they need one the most. One special thing they do is to look after children so that parents can take care of other things. The volunteers play with children, talk to them, and give them guidance when they don’t understand the horrible things that have happened.

One way disaster relief volunteers help children cope is to let them draw and color pictures about their feelings. Volunteers can then follow up with the children to let them know that Jesus loves them and wants to take care of them. They let the children know that Jesus can take things that are messed up and make something great out of them.

Did you know that you can help friends who are going through a rough time in the same way that disaster relief teams do? You can recycle old, broken crayons and reshape them into something new and beautiful. Then, you can give them to friends and talk to them about their feelings.

Turning a Ministry Project into a Missions Project

As a Girls in Action leader, it can be challenging to plan projects that give GAs the opportunity to take the lessons they have learned during their GA meetings and apply them to the needs in their community. It can be especially challenging to make sure the majority of the projects are missions projects and not simply ministry projects.

You may ask, “What is the difference between the two?” Missions is sharing the gospel in words and through actions. A missionary is someone who goes into the world to share the gospel. A missions project is an opportunity to share the good news that God loves the person you are helping.

Compassion in Action

Several weekends ago, I opened my Facebook to find that a WMU friend was taking her Girls in Action members to visit the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, Louisiana. I immediately sent her a private message and asked her to take plenty of pictures of her GAs while they were there.

I’ll admit it—I wanted to see the projects her girls were going to do and snag a few ideas for my own GA group.

I watched for her posts all day, and finally, when she shared pictures, I saw sweet girls wearing purple GA vests experiencing something we all should strive to share with our GAs: compassion in action.

Later, I received several emails containing pictures and an account of what this group experienced and learned during their trip to Baptist Friendship House.

Read the following excerpts from Susan’s emails for yourself:

The GAs and WMU from Pleasant View Baptist Church, Foley, Alabama, took a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, to visit Dr. Kay Bennett, Kendall Wolz, and PJ—missionaries at the Baptist Friendship House. What a great day we had!

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