Preschool Blog

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.

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?

Impressions from Guatemala

Joye with kids

The people and place of Guatemala have a special place in my heart after going to Guatemala on a missions trip several years ago. I served with Orphan’s Heart at the Child Malnutrition Center in central Guatemala. Orphan’s Heart is a ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Our missions team was made up of WMU members from across Florida, and I was so blessed to join this team for an incredible week of giving care to about 100 preschoolers under the age of 5 years. We served alongside their caregivers in playing, singing, feeding, bathing, and dressing the preschoolers throughout the day. During the week, I spent most of my days with the preschoolers who were just learning to walk. I spent part of a day with the infants, and another part day with the 3–4 year olds.

Questions about Develop Online Training

Joye Smith

The part I like best about our online Develop training courses is that I get to interact with you, the Mission Friends® leaders. I so enjoy the correspondence back and forth with each leader who has taken one of the preschool Develop courses. Most of the leaders I have never met in person, but I feel like I know them as they go through the courses. Even though the training is online, that does not mean that it is impersonal. This has been the most pleasant surprise for me as we developed the online courses to include contact between the course participant and Mission Friends consultant.

In thinking about the preschool Develop courses, I thought I would answer a few questions that I am asked about the online training.

  • What is included in the preschool Develop courses? Each of the preschool courses include several short instructional videos, handouts, and interactive assignments.

Next Steps in Teaching Mission Friends

Planning to train

Professional teachers are required to take career development courses in order to keep current with trends in education and to glean fresh new ideas. Professional development helps us bring best practices into our classrooms. For teachers in the church, professional development is not required, but it certainly benefits our children and our ministry to gain as much training as possible.

Because most of us who work in preschool or children’s ministry also have many responsibilities with our families and homes and careers, our discretionary time is limited. Scheduling additional time for weekend or evening conferences can be difficult. We know that your time is precious, so we offer a number of resources that will help you keep up-to-date with trends in teaching at church, as well as the tried-and-true methods of working with preschoolers.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about teaching preschoolers—without ever leaving your home!

Pages

Back to Top