Preschool

Helping Others

Several weeks ago, my small community was hit with an EF-2 tornado. Night had already fallen, so my husband and I crouched together in our hallway in the dark. With no power, no television, no radio, we began monitoring Twitter and Facebook, only to learn that several homes had been destroyed and one neighborhood, a neighborhood where several of our church members live, was heavily damaged. Our local emergency management organizations asked people to remain where they were until they could ensure that our roads were safe to travel.

One group, however, took to the roads immediately. The moment the storm passed over, we began to hear the sirens of emergency response vehicles. Our firefighters and sheriff’s department did a yeoman’s work that night in ensuring that everyone was safe. They cleared roadways, knocked on every door, and did whatever was necessary to help those whose homes were damaged. Later, we would learn that even off-duty emergency personnel came in and worked throughout the night.

Thank You!

Christmas in August

Do you ever wonder how your Christmas in August gifts are received and what happens after you send them? Be encouraged today by this thank-you message from Arlene Miller of Impact Ministry in Hopkinsville, Kentucky:

"Thank you for allowing Impact Ministry to be included on the Mission Friends [Christmas in August] list of ministries to get donations. It has been such a blessing to get boxes and letters. Many of the boxes contained pictures and items that the children had made. Most of them had a note saying they had prayed for us. Some local churches brought their children to visit and deliver their donations.

"We received gifts from 17 different states and 130 different churches. Some sent 1 package while others sent as many as 7 boxes.

"We know that the prayers of all of those collecting and packing the boxes were heard and His Holy Spirit touched hearts and people were saved. Several people gave their heart to Jesus these past few months as they met with our spiritual counselors the day they came for assistance.

Update from Brett Myers

Myers Family

Brett Myers recently sent us the following update on his ministry at Southwinds Church at Mahogany. As you read his update, please consider how you can share this information with your preschoolers in age-appropriate ways.

“Thanks so much for spending time praying for our family.

Things are going well here. Our church family is growing, and God is certainly blessing our work. We have 5 baptisms to do as soon as the lake in our community warms up after winter, so that’s very exciting! Of course, we meet in a community center, so we don’t have an indoor baptismal pool.

We seem to really be growing a lot in young families, which is who lives in our community. We average 45–50 on Sundays, and would have about 70–80 if all of our “regulars” were there at one time. And of those 70–80, we counted a couple weeks ago 30+ kids from newborn to 12 years old . . . which of course, brings such life to the church. 

Walk the Path Laid out for You

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”(Mark 8:34 NIV1).

“You are not being smart; this makes no sense!” “We’ll love you even if you’re not successful.” “How can you leave a profitable career for the ministry? You won’t make as much money. You might have to give up your house. Really, this is all just stupid.” We heard all of these comments and more as my husband prepared to leave a successful business in surrender to God’s call to ministry. We knew that no matter what men said, we would submit to God’s purpose for our lives. Because of Christ’s example, we had faith that full surrender to God’s purpose, taking up your cross, ultimately brings victory in His kingdom.

Learning about Missions

Long ago, Annie Armstrong spoke of the importance of study of the missions field. What the first corresponding secretary of WMU called “study of the mission field” we would now say, “learning about missions.” She identified this as the driving force between studying God’s Word and how much we pray and give. During this month of the North American Missions Emphasis, it is good for us to consider Annie Armstrong’s insights as we encourage preschoolers to pray for and give to missions. They first need to learn about missions before they can then pray and give.

It is good to consider Annie Armstrong’s insights as we encourage preschoolers to pray for and give to missions.

Seven Ways to Help Children Who Are Grieving

“Why did GiGi have to die?” “I really miss my daddy!” “Why did my mommy have to go to live in heaven? I need her here with me!” “My brother was the best brother ever.” All of these are real statements I have heard from preschoolers and young children in my church over the past 2 years. Grandparents, mothers, fathers, siblings. Our preschoolers and young children have experienced significant losses. And, we have struggled to help them through their grief.

I pray that the following suggestions will be helpful when you are called on to minister to preschoolers who are dealing with death:

All for You—Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve How We Know What Love Is

“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 NIV1).

Deny yourself. Those are strong words. Not at all what we want to hear. Not in our all-for-ourselves culture. When you hear these hard teachings, aren’t you thankful that Jesus never asked us to do anything that He was not willing to do Himself? Because of His willingness to deny Himself and lay down His life, we know what love, true love, looks like:

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and truth” (1 John 3:16).

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?

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