Learning from a Preschooler

Preschoolers always teach me a lot, but this was particularly true last week as a preschooler taught me about Indonesia. Each year during the first week of December, national WMU has a program and open house to observe the Week of Prayer for International Missions. People from many surrounding churches come to sing Christmas carols together, meet retired and stateside missionaries, pray for missions, and sip a cup of hot apple cider. Sometimes we might Skype a missionary or show a video of a missionary, but this year we were blessed to have special workers who serve in Indonesia as speakers at our Week of Prayer program. They are on stateside assignment and will return to Indonesia soon.

This young couple has two preschoolers, a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old. While their parents were in the Week of Prayer program, a co-worker and I did the international mission study with their preschoolers. We used several activities from the December unit on Indonesia in Mission Friends Leader and the International Mission Study 2015 Preschool Teaching Guide: Indonesia.  As I prepared the activities, I wondered what the 4-year-old would remember or tell us about Indonesia.

I wondered what the 4-year-old would remember or tell us about Indonesia.

The baby enjoyed playing with the Nativity Finger Puppet Set and the large pom-poms. The 4-year-old was shy at first, and started out by sorting the colorful pom-poms as we talked about the beautiful flowers that grow in Indonesia. When he moved on to Mission Friends Leader Resource Kit item 6, a puzzle showing a rice field in Indonesia, he spoke of the city where his family lives in Indonesia. As the morning went on, I asked him questions about living in Indonesia. He told me about the mountains and the beaches with lots of water. In his responses I could tell he was thinking about Indonesia and remembering things from living there.

Beforehand, I wondered about the effectiveness of teaching a preschooler about a place where I have never been but where he has lived and knows well. Even as he was telling us about Indonesia, I hope that he was reminded about life in Indonesia and especially about the people who need to hear how much God loves them. As his family prepares to return there soon, I hope the activities and conversations helped him in thinking about this place where he will return to live. I learned so much from him, and I will pray for my new little buddy, his baby sister, and their parents as they return to serve in Indonesia.

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