Preschool

Are You Willing to Go the Distance?

Coats Family

“Jesus can do more in a moment than we can do in an entire lifetime, but we have to give Him those moments. We have to make up in our minds that despite the long road ahead, we’re going to travel that distance because it means getting to Jesus in the end.” —Patrick Coats

Throughout the month of January, we are learning how Patrick and Archalena Coats have been willing to go the distance for the Lord in answering His call to plant a church in Miami. The Preschool Resource Team at National WMU thanks you, Mission Friends leaders, for being willing to go the distance for the Lord in answering His call to teach the youngest among us about carrying His gospel to the nations.

We pray that this devotion, written by Mr. Coats will both challenge you and encourage you to go the distance as we begin a new year.

The Coats family is willing to go the distance for Jesus Christ.

Wrap-Around Care

Wrap-around care. I was struck by this phrase that was new to me. I learned of the phrase in the article, “Contagious Love for One More Child,” 1 in Sharing, the newsletter for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. The article focused on a church whose members have become invested in caring for vulnerable children by becoming foster families, adoptive families, or wrap-around families. The article speaks of wrap-around care as offering resources or support to adoptive and foster parents. Wrap-around care is a way of showing these families they are not alone by giving them encouragement and assistance in various ways.

As a Mission Friends teacher, you may have families in your church who are foster parents or adoptive families. Though not all children in foster or adoptive care have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), all of these children have gone through some type of trauma. I like the idea of giving wrap-around care to these foster and adoptive families so they can concentrate on providing for the emotional and physical needs of the child.

What are some ways of providing wrap-around care to these families?

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Learning, Praying, Giving, Going

Do you know all the different ways that the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering helps missionaries? Below are just a few of the ways that the Christmas offering has helped Jacob and Robin Talley as they serve in Indonesia:

All for You—Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve Devotion

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves” (Mark 8:34). What does it mean in the culture of today to deny ourselves? We live in a world that is all about me and what I can get. A look at commercials and ads shows us that in order to be somebody, we need to have the latest and greatest phone, car, tablet, or make-up. To deny ourselves seems counter to what we encounter in today’s world.

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.

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Mission Friends and the Holidays

So, what does your December schedule look like? If you are like most Mission Friends leaders, you are probably looking at a church calendar with at least two fewer Mission Friends sessions than usual. There are many ways to get creative in completing your Mission Friends unit and the International Mission Study in the month of December.

Creating Connections in Denver

Ben and Lynley Mandrell have worked tirelessly to plant Storyline Fellowship in Arvada, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Since Storyline’s launch in February 2015, the church has baptized nearly 40 people. Mr. Mandrell says that the church has averaged 450 people in attendance on Sunday mornings. Of those 450 people, about 125 are children. The church has already had to move from its first location to a local high school. Mr. Mandrell shares, “We are praying for God to give us opportunities to bless teachers and staff at the high school in order to build community and relationships with those at the school.”

Pray for the Mandrells to receive opportunities in their community to create relationships and connections with those who need to hear the gospel.

The Mandrells enjoy building relationships with the people of their community. They enjoy inviting people into their home for dinner. They enjoy learning about others’ life stories. They enjoy exposing their children to diverse cultures. As they develop relationships and build the trust of people in their community, they remain open to opportunities to tell people why they have placed their hope and trust in Jesus.

Ongoing Missions Education Is Important

Ongoing missions education for preschoolers through Mission Friends is vitally important.

Churches are learning they need more than just a monthly mission story or an annual mission project for their preschoolers. A couple of weeks ago, Heather Keller, WMU children’s consultant, and I attended the LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference. At our booth, which featured our curriculum and resources for missions education, I talked with several people whose churches were interested in starting ongoing missions education. These meaningful conversations helped me think of a number of reasons that ongoing missions education for preschoolers through Mission Friends is vitally important:

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:

All for You Devotion

For having only three letters, all is such a big word. Jesus used the word all when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Even though it is a small word, it means giving to God our everything. Not just parts or pieces of our lives, but our whole lives. As we begin the new WMU® emphasis of All for You, consider what it means to you to give your all for God. The emphasis title represents a prayer that we are speaking to God as if we are saying, “I give my all for you, Lord.”

In her book, Secrets to Surrender: Living Wholeheartedly, Debby Akerman explores what it means to live out our lives in an all-for-you way. She asks the question, “Do I follow Jesus wholeheartedly?” We are encouraged to ask this question of ourselves. As you ponder her question, also consider Jesus’ words about following Him: “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

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