Preschool

Literal Thinkers

salt shaker

A preschooler and I were talking about the ocean, and he asked, “Who put salt in the ocean?” Of course I responded that God put the salt in the ocean. By the look on his face, I could tell my preschool friend was thinking of someone with a big salt shaker over the ocean. I realized my response was too abstract for his preschooler’s mind. He was thinking of what he knew about adding salt by a person using a salt shaker.

Preschoolers think of words literally. They take the literal meaning of words or phrases. Another way of saying it is that they think concretely. Their thinking goes to what the word actually means. If you say, “I feel blue,” a preschooler would look at you to see if your skin is blue. As literal thinkers, they are not able to understand abstract concepts or words. Our words can also be very confusing to preschoolers when the words have different meanings.

Life Among the Songhai in Niger

Songhai women and children

George and Megan Lane* serve as church planters among the Songhai [song-GAHY] people in Niger. Around 99% of the Songhai are Muslims. While this creates a barrier to the gospel, the Lanes have discovered that the Songhai people are very welcoming and will sit and listen to their stories of Jesus. Because most people in this culture do not read, the Lanes use storying to share the gospel.

The Lanes are church planters, so they share the gospel with anyone willing to listen, including children. They say that the children are grateful for hearing God’s Word. Singing songs, playing games, and coloring are all special treats among the Songhai children because they love to learn, and they don’t have coloring books or crayons at their homes.

The Lanes’ experience in Niger is that while ministering and living among the Songhai is challenging, the Songhais’ hospitable culture opens doors to sharing God’s love.
 

Christmas in August gifts create 'pathway to sharing the gospel'

Kathy Parsons with daily delivery of items from donated through Christmas in August

Do you ever wonder if Christmas in August matters to missionaries and church planters? Just ask David and Kathy Parsons who serve as missionaries through the North American Mission Board in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They were recipients of Christmas in August gifts in 2016.

“The Christmas in August items sent to us expanded our vision and gave us resources we did not have,” David shared. “This program caused us to humbly stop and see how God works and that He has used others across America to provide for our needs.” 

For 90 years, members of WMU missions organizations such as GA, RA, and Acteens have purchased and sent items to NAMB missionaries to help advance their outreach efforts.

David and Kathy provided WMU with a list of items they needed and soon received 20 to 30 boxes a day, with around 500 boxes received in total.

“We received the boxes on our front porch and I would bring them into the living room to stage for delivery,” he reflected.

Finding Leaders

Mission Friends Leaders

I don’t have one of those buttons you could push that says, “That was easy!” Sometimes it is not an easy task to find all of the leaders you need in your preschool area at church. Especially at this time of year, churches are looking for leaders to fill all of the teaching positions for the new church year. What can you do to make it easier to find leaders for Mission Friends®? Here are some tips for finding leaders.

  • Pray first of all. Begin with prayer that God would lead you to new leaders who have a heart for preschoolers.

  • Follow your church’s procedure for securing new leaders. Your church may have a nominating committee who contacts prospective leaders, you might work with the WMU director of your church, or there may be a staff person for you to work with, such as minister of education or preschool minister.

  • Be positive in asking people to serve. Present this as an opportunity to be part of your church’s preschool ministry. Help them to know how teaching makes an eternal difference in the lives of preschoolers.

Planning for Christmas in August

Christmas in August

How do you involve your Mission Friends® in Christmas in August®? This annual campaign gives you a unique opportunity to inspire your preschoolers and their families to join in giving to and praying for missionaries. Through their Christmas in August gifts, preschoolers experience the joy of partnering with missionaries who are sharing God’s love through North America.

Take these steps now to begin planning for Christmas in August at your church:

Choose a Missionary

Begin planning for Christmas in August with prayer. Ask the Lord to guide you in choosing the missionary your Missions Friends will support. After you pray, take the following steps:

  • Read through the list of Christmas in August missionaries on pages 44 and 45 in Summer 2017 Mission Friends Leader, or review the list online.

By All Means

Teacher and preschoolers

How does a preschooler know that God loves him? We can tell him that the Bible tells us so, but for a preschooler to truly know God’s love we need to express His love to the preschooler in concrete ways. In the book Upside-Down Devotion, Taylor Field says, “In this book, I will call specific acts of love for others service. In the world of the Bible, this service is the tangible expression of God’s love.”1 You show God’s love in tangible ways to preschoolers many times during a Mission Friends® session.

  • When you smile or hug a preschooler as he comes in the room at the beginning of the session.

  • When you sit with a preschooler as she works a puzzle or reads a book.

  • When you smile as you give a bottle to a baby.

  • When you have a conversation with a preschooler about his artwork.

  • When you give a high five or fist bump to a preschooler who builds an awesome structure in Blocks.

  • When you sing and clap hands with a toddler.

  • When you calm a preschooler who becomes upset.

Ways to Use the Mission Friends Promotion Pack

Mission Friends

Have you heard about the Mission Friends Promotion Pack? This pack offers great resources for enriching your Mission Friends’ experience.

The Promotion Pack contains posters to go with each Christian concept area, an allergy alert chart, postcards, 2 Missions Friends promotional posters, and the Mission Friends song. You will find that these resources can be used in a variety of ways.

Christian concept area posters with Bible thoughts

Thoughts from WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting

Defining Moments

What stands out the most to me as I reflect on the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, this year? You might think that I would say the heat and the fact that I did not see a cloud in the sky the entire time. No, the thing that stands out most to me is the people. I am thinking of the people I met for the first time and the people who are already friends that I was able to catch up with. Not only did I see people at our main sessions and conference breakouts, but I also spent time in the WMU booth in the exhibit hall for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Let me share about some of the people and their stories.

I was excited to hear how Nadine Peterson’s church in the Phoenix area is using Mission Friends® in a different way. Nadine’s church has a child-care center during the week, and for 3 days each week church members have a Story Time with the preschoolers in the child-care program. They use the mission stories in Mission Friends Leader as part of their storytelling each week. What a creative way to instill a missions heart within the preschoolers!

We Love First Steps in Missions

First Steps in Missions, vol. 23

What do you love most about teaching Mission Friends®? Is it your preschoolers’ natural curiosity and joy? Is it their penchant for telling so much truth? Is it their ability to accept God’s deep truths with simple faith? One thing that I love about teaching Mission Friends is seeing their eyes light up when they develop a new realization about God’s global mission. You can almost see their minds working to assimilate the new thought.

I love teaching Mission Friends. I love engaging preschoolers’ minds with the thought that “God loved us and sent His Son” (see 1 John 4:10). I love exploring new cultures with my little ones and teaching them that people around the world are very different, but that God loves us all the same. Because of my love for teaching, I always enjoy discovering new ideas to try with my classes. This is one reason that I love the First Steps in Missions books so much. Have you ever used First Steps in Missions?

Focus on WMU

 

Focus on WMU 2017

Focus on WMU, February 13–19, is the perfect time to introduce or reintroduce your church members to what WMU is and how they can get radically involved in God’s mission.

WMU is holistic discipleship. From preschoolers to adults, we provide relevant resources to learn about and pray for missions, as well as opportunities to apply knowledge and passion through giving, serving, and supporting missions.


LEARN

WMU promotes missional living through our organizations:

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