Children and Long-Distance Missions

Today’s the day. Another team is being commissioned before the church body to leave on an international missions trip. The children around you look on with awe as each team member is introduced and prayed over. Maybe they even whisper to each other about how cool it would be to participate in a trip like this.

And, they can participate! Maybe they cannot physically go on the trip, but they do have things to offer to the missions team.

Prayer. Every missions team needs prayer. They need prayer before the trip, during the trip, and even after the trip for the hearts and lives of the people to whom they witnessed. Lead group prayers with children. Assign each child or group of children a certain member of the missions team or a particular aspect of the trip to pray for, such as Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, service work, or youth ministry. Prayer is powerful, and children can help shape the missions trip by praying for the people of the country and the members of the team.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1 NIV).

Encouragement. One of the most influential things I have ever received came right before I left on a missions trip to Belize. A friend of mine wrote me a letter encouraging me and assuring me that God was at work. Her words and her promise of prayers gave me an extra boost of confidence. I kept that letter with me the whole trip and I still have it tucked away inside my missions binder. Letters, drawings, or crafts offering encouragement can have a huge impact on the missions team members and could end up being something they cherish for a long time.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).

Help. Planning and preparing for a missions trip is a long and complex process. From the logistics of travel and lodging to planning each event or service, missions trips can be overwhelming. Yes, there probably is a whole team working on each event, but that doesn’t mean they could not use help. Offer to have children help make up motions to songs if the team is hosting a VBS or children’s night. Let children help put salvation bracelets together if the team is handing them out. It could even be something as simple as letting the team members try out different games and recreation ideas with your children so they have a better idea of what will work best. These may seem like little things, but they can be a huge help—especially during the stressful months leading up to a big trip.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17 NIV).

 

Jessica Ingram is the summer intern for the Children’s Resource Team.

 

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