Preschool

Courageous and Faithful

“My favourite verse is Psalm 63:3 ‘Because your love is better than life, my lips will always praise you.’ The last 4 years, I’ve gone through two bouts of cancer. God has been teaching me that His love for me is greater than even living on earth. This helps me as for the last 12 years I’ve lived in areas of great poverty and social challenges, with folks who have very broken lives. I get the privilege of sharing with them how great God’s love is.”

Gena Wilson’s life truly is a testimony of courage and faith. She describes the area that her team focuses on as the area where tour buses do not go in Glasgow, Scotland. In the midst of this urban deprived center, she reaches out intentionally to the outcasts and those who have been marginalized, bringing to them a message of faith and hope and love. Miss Wilson feels especially drawn to those who live with addictions and violence and abuse. She knows that the love of Jesus Christ is the only answer to their issues and fears. 

The Word Gap

Words are so important. In my everyday work, words are extremely important. At WMU, we have editors and copy editors who check the words of writers like me. They make sure writers use the right words (Is it affect or effect? Ensure or insure?) when writing curriculum, articles, web content, and even this blog. Words are important in what we do every day at WMU as we develop missions materials for churches.

Words are important to preschoolers, also. They need to hear words in order to develop their language skills. Long before babies can say the words or three-year-olds can put a sentence together, they need to hear parents and other caregivers saying words and talking in conversation with the preschooler. They learn how to form the words and they develop their vocabulary as they hear words in a rich language environment.

Read books with preschoolers. Over and over.

When a Preschooler Experiences Trauma

A plastic bin sat on the floor to use as a doll bed. The baby doll sat in the bin with a baby blanket next to it. A preschooler took the doll and wrapped it in the blanket. She then placed the doll facedown on the floor and turned the plastic bin over on the doll, totally enclosing the doll underneath the bin. This was one week after devastating tornadoes had ravaged the landscape and homes, and taken lives in the surrounding area. I served on a Disaster Relief Child Care team in which we cared for children whose homes had been damaged.

As I watched this preschooler play with the doll, I wondered if this was what happened to her. Did her family get under furniture for protection? Did they place something on top of themselves to keep safe? What was the best way for me to respond to this preschooler?

As you teach Mission Friends®, you also may have a time when there is a natural disaster. The preschoolers you teach may have been impacted by disasters such as flooding, a hurricane, fire, or a tornado. When preschoolers experience trauma from natural disasters, how can you help them feel safe and secure when they are at church?

Dollar-Store Supplies

How often do you personally purchase supplies for your Mission Friends class? Most teachers purchase supplies out of their own pockets at least once a month, if not more frequently. Armed with a little creativity, you can find a number of reusable supplies at your local dollar store. Here are a few ideas for dollar-store items that I use with my own preschoolers:

Chip-and-dip trays: Sort objects in the compartments. Use to organize art/craft supplies.

Clothespins: Use to pick up and move different objects; or pin cotton balls, bath poofs, or textured fabrics to create painting tools.

Colanders: Create rain with water in sensory bin; or lead younger preschoolers to thread chenille stems through the holes.

Cookie cooling racks: Weave ribbon, crepe paper, chenille stems, and even nature objects through the wires; stack for sorting activities.

Craft sticks: Put hook-and-loop dots on the ends and connect to make shapes, letters, or numbers.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

I noticed a few weeks ago in Mission Friends that he started calling his grandfather “Daddy.” For circumstances far beyond his control, C is being raised by his grandparents. They faithfully bring him to Mission Friends every week, and he has always called his grandparents Mawmaw and Pawpaw. When we talk about mommys and daddys in Mission Friends, we try to refer to Mawmaw and Pawpaw also. A red flag went up in my mind when I heard C calling him Daddy. I imagine there is some confusion on his part when he knows that other preschoolers have a mommy and daddy.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren. According to the US Census Bureau, “In 1970, about 3 percent of children lived in grandparent-maintained households; about twice that many (6 percent) lived in grandparent-maintained households in 2012.”1 In some of these homes the parents are also present, but in many the grandparents have sole responsibility for the care of their grandchildren.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren.

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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