I’d like to share this experience I just had with an old WMU® book for preschoolers, My Mom and Dad Are Missionaries by Gayle Lintz.
I am a longtime Southern Baptist preacher’s kid (PK)/missionary kid (MK) (when the North American Mission Board was still the Home Mission Board), and so I had a strong missions-minded childhood! And so it is really no surprise that eventually God called my husband (also a PK) and me to the mission field—in our middle age no less—as short-term teacher and IT specialist with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Papua, Indonesia. Because of our backgrounds, we have always had a love for and a desire to support MKs. With MAF, we were able to provide the behind-the-scenes educational and technology support to missionary families so they could be out there doing what God called them to do as pilots, doctors, translators, etc. We love how MAF supports more than 600 organizations all over the world, including Southern Baptist missionaries, with aviation and other technologies.
Well we are back in the United States now working at MAF headquarters. I was recently asked to organize and lead a 2-week MK orientation session for grade-school children who are getting ready to leave for the field with their parents. MAF does not have a specific curriculum but relies on resources from many different organizations to help prepare children for their transition to life overseas. I was shown a shelf of resources from which to pull as I planned for this orientation, and you can imagine my surprise and delight to find the book and teaching guide telling a bit of the story of the Land family and its ministry in Ivory Coast. Stamped on the front of the book are the words “LIBRARY Woman’s Missionary Union, SBC” (with a red “DISCARD” stamp over that)!
I used this story, told from son Andrew’s perspective, during my MK orientation. And although the book and teacher’s guide were intended for preschool teaching, the story lent itself to the timeless themes of an MK’s experiences with new sights, smells, and sounds in a foreign country and was so appropriate for the elementary children in my class. The MKs loved hearing this story and seeing some of the photographs included in the teacher’s guide of the people of Ivory Coast . . . even though none of them were headed there. We even enjoyed the recipe for foutou included in the teaching guide.
I was just so thankful that someone saved this book from the discard pile and it ended up at MAF headquarters in Idaho! It was only a small part of our 2-week class, but it sure brought a smile to my face as once again, I saw how God loves bringing organizations together to further His kingdom work. I loved that I knew what it meant when I saw the WMU stamp on this book and was able to remember my girlhood learning about missions through GA and Acteens®. And I love how God is still using the Land family’s story today!
Carole Flegal lives in Nampa, Idaho.