Monthly Archives: October 2015

Wrapping Up: 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers!

31 days ago, I woke up at 4:30 am so I could link up with the Write 31 Days challenge. Since then, I’ve published 31 posts about Global Missions with Kids!

This truly has been a challenge!

  • Two different times, I got off schedule due to vacation and sickness, but I’ve caught up and am so thrilled to have completed the challenge.
  • I had lots of high hopes for all the “extra” stuff I was going to do to promote Faith Passed Down, build a community of readers here, publish an ebook, and more, and truthfully, none of that happened. I’m just happy to have gotten the posts written, much less the extra stuff!
  • I have had so many health challenges in the past couple months, which is unusual for me! Back pain, migraines, nerve pain in my arm, the flu… it wasn’t the best timing for this challenge, but somehow I survived!
  • Spending this much time on this web site is too much time for my current reality. Though I was able to sustain it for a month (barely!), I’ve learned that as much as I love the ministry of Faith Passed Down, I love spending time following Jesus with my family even more! I need time to focus on them, on some ministry opportunities, and on living a peaceful, not-going-crazy life.

Starting in November, I’m going to be returning to posting just once a week or so, which I hope will be the right amount of time for my writing schedule and for not overwhelming Faith Passed Down readers.

In any case, I’m so grateful I tried something new, participated in this challenge, enjoyed fellowship with a great group of ladies on the Write 31 Days facebook group, and experienced God’s sufficient grace in giving me just the right amount of time (but not a second more!) to participate in this challenge.

More than anything, I’m glad to have a series of posts that I hope inspire, encourage, and equip adults to participate in global missions with the young people in their lives!

Global Missions with Kids: a Recap

Global missions is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ cross-culturally through words and actions, so that people from all nations will believe and follow Him.

First, we set a foundation for Global Missions with Kids, looking at the definition of missions and reasons to include children and teenagers in missions.

"And when Christianity is all about me, then the Church is all about me, and my life's purpose is all about me, too. It's hard to fit in missions when all I'm focused on is myself."

I confessed my own spiritual blindness in reading Scripture improperly and missing God’s heart for the whole world. We also explored the important question: do I have to move halfway around the world to do missions?

developing global awareness

Next, we talked about helping young people cultivate a heart for all nations by developing global awareness in children and teenagers and raising world Christians.

five ideas for global home decor

I shared some ideas for global home decor, including how to make a world map garland. I also shared a HUGE list of my favorite resources for global missions with kids, including the Perspectives Family Journey and some great resources for praying for the whole world with kids.

praying for the whole world with kids


After that, I shared over 15 different ideas for doing global missions with kids, wherever you are. Here’s a handy worksheet to keep from getting too overwhelmed by all the options!

how to pack a shoebox for OCC

From packing an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and purchasing fair trade holiday gifts to launching a backyard Bible club or befriending an international student, we covered all sorts of ideas.

Writing to Your Sponsored Child

We discussed sponsoring a child and writing to sponsored children, including using a free letter-writing template for people like me who don’t write very frequently!

bless and encourage

We also talked about supporting overseas missionaries through donations and other ways to bless and encourage them.

beyond prayer and donations practical ways to support refugees

One of my personal favorite posts in the series described practical ways to support refugees, beyond just prayer and donations.

bless babies and mamas around the world

We talked about ways to do global missions as an adult mentor, along with how to discuss and help poverty with kids.

Whether you want to help babies and moms or support the persecuted church, we talked about it!

The last few posts including going… going on a short-term mission trip as a family (and doing it well!)or sending your teenager on a short-term mission trip, or even considering living overseas as a missionary full-time.

Finally, we finished up, looking at some ideas for going Around the World from Your Living Room, along with taking a peek at some other posts about Global Missions with Kids from around the internet.

Did you enjoy Global Missions with Kids? Here’s what to do next:

Stay in touch. You probably have a preferred way to read blogs/web sites already! Here are the options for following Faith Passed Down… you can do one or all of them!

Read the whole series.

If you didn’t get to read the whole series, you can check it out here. That particular link will enable you to read each post in a row, without having to open 31 different posts.

I’m considering turning this series into an easy-to-read ebook form, where you could just read straight through from top-to-bottom. In my dream world, I’d even turn it into a real book. Would you read a book about Global Missions with Kids? Let me know in the comments below.

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

Lessons Learned in the Past 31 Days:

1. There are so many ways to be involved in global missions with kids! Even after talking about it for a full month, there are still topics we didn’t touch on! I’m encouraged and inspired to consider how my own family can listen to God’s leading for how to be involved more.

2. Busyness and overwhelm is a huge obstacle to doing global missions with kids – and to faith-building in general. How are parents supposed to do global missions when they are also trying to work, read to their kids, make sure their kids get a good education, feed healthy food, exercise, spend “me” time, go out with friends, enjoy quality time with a spouse, do daily devotions, clean, cook, enjoy a hobby… ???

It’s overwhelming just thinking about it, and an issue I encountered this month, as I struggled to actually do some of the things I suggested in the Global Missions with Kids series. This is still something I’m wrestling with… how can we intentionally participate in serving God and building faith without just making it another item on the to-do list?

3. The most important thing is: just. start. I was reminded of this principle as I tried to write blog posts day after day – the idea is often more daunting than the task itself. Once I started writing, or putting together pictures, or whatever, it wasn’t so bad… the tough thing is resisting the urge to procrastinate because it seems overwhelming.

Likewise, as we seek to build faith in young people… just start! It’s easy to feel like things need to be perfect, but if we wait for the perfect moment, it will never happen. Just get started!

In November, I’m hoping to introduce a simple initiative called Read-Pray-Connect to help us just get started… stay tuned!

4. God is faithful to bless our efforts to build faith. I’ve been reminded lately that even in the midst of busyness, sickness, and my desires to just throw in the towel… God blesses our efforts.

This month my three-year-old has just blossomed in asking regularly for Bible stories, reciting Psalm 23 from memory, and talking about how “Jesus lives in her heart.” Don’t get me wrong – at the same time discipline issues are at an all-time high, and I’ve been feeling extra-stressed and overwhelmed!

But I see this as His gracious reminders that this work is valuable and important, and He is the One who is doing the work… not me!

5. I only want to post once a week. Prior to do this 31 Days challenge, I was considering aiming for 3-5 posts a week. I’ve realized, however, that while perhaps I could write that many posts a week, I can’t possibly double-check them, make graphics, and share those posts on Pinterest or facebook so others can read them.

Not to mention, I’d like to still read other blogs and take part in the “blog community,” plus respond to comments from my readers!

I tried to do that all this month, and it was simply impossible, even though I was spending most mornings and evenings working on this series.

So, starting in November, my goal is to post one new post every Monday, plus send out a weekly newsletter every Friday. I’m hoping this will allow my full attention to writing quality posts and interacting with others, while still enjoying time with my family, actually carrying out these faith-building concepts in my own life, too!

In addition, I hope this keeps Faith Passed Down from being too overwhelming to you, dear reader!

6. I like to write lots of words. Unfortunately, I definitely take after Proust more than Hemingway. 🙂 Most of the posts in the Global Missions with Kids series were 1500+ words. It is in my nature to be thorough and comprehensive, wanting to share every resource and every item I’ve thought of.

I realize most people don’t read every word, and I try to honor that by using bold type and bullet points to make it easy to skim. Still, I’d like to consider honing my writing so it’s concise for today’s busy readers.

7. I have to be okay with imperfection. I was an English major in college and worked in our campus writing center, but seven years after graduation – with little formal education or writing during that time – I’m a little rusty. I struggle with knowing whether to use “less” or “fewer.” I catch myself making silly grammar mistakes.

Not to mention my photos that are a bit too dark, or formatting that doesn’t look quite right, or graphic designs that I’m sure break all the rules for true graphic design.

The reality, however, is that I’m trying to pull this blog together with snippets of time here and there, before my kids wake up or when my husband graciously takes over for a few hours. I don’t have time for perfection, so I am learning to try my best and accept that there might be a few errors… but something is better than no post at all!

8. I have so much to learn! The Write 31 Days challenge was a great exercise for me to remember that I still have so much to learn… but I am figuring it out!

9. It feels so good to complete a task. I am usually a 90% kind of girl. I do most of the work, but never actually complete it. I clean out my closet but never actually donate the clothes I want to get rid of. I make all the plans but never actually execute it. I stay on budget till the 25th of the month and then blow it in the last five days.

Lately I am trying harder to do 100% of the task, and I love that feeling of actually being complete! Or, I set a deadline and if I’m not done by the deadline, I just determine it wasn’t that important anyway, and strike it from the list.

I love not having loose ends hanging over me quite so much and experiencing the success of a completed job!

Plus, I hope I am building character by sticking with a task and not giving up at the first sign of trouble!

Hundreds of writers participate in the Write 31 Days Challenge each October.

31 Series I Want to Check Out Next:

There are so many 31 Series on the Write 31 Days web site that I want to read in the next month or two!

I put together a larger list on my 31 Days Pinterest Board here, but a few of my favorites that I thought might be helpful for the Faith Passed Down community include:

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**Did you participate in the Write 31 Days Challenge? What was your favorite series to read? Leave a link to your series, or one you’d recommend, in a comment below.

Global Missions with Kids: Around the Web

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers!

All month you’ve been hearing from me… today I want to share some of my favorite blogs and blog posts about Global Missions with Kids from other people!

We are THAT Family has a list of 100 Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference.

Passionate Homemaking is one of my favorite blogs (and though it mentions homemaking in the title, these posts work for both men and women!) Sadly, the author doesn’t write anymore, but I love these posts from a few years ago:

Missional Women and Missional Mom are two blogs that have been highly recommended to me by others.

Finally, Kara Chupp has an excellent post called Praying to Grow a World Christian.

If you’re looking for more, check out my Global Missions with Kids board on Pinterest.

Also, I have a list of LOTS of resources (books, downloadable resources, DVDs, and more) for global missions with kids.

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**Do you have a blog post or resource to recommend? (your own or someone else’s?) Leave a link in the comment section below.

Around the World from Your Living Room: Peru

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

Around the World from your living room - Peru

The other night after my husband came home from work, our family gathered around the table and ate a simple Peruvian dinner of chicken, rice, potatoes, and salad.

Together with our two little girls, we talked about the nation of Peru, learning some basics about their culture. We located Peru on a map (it’s in South America!) and listened to a song in Spanish. (We may have danced along with it!) Then we prayed for the people of Peru before heading to bed.

It was a sweet, meaningful, and simple time, and I’d love to empower your family to do the same.

Today I’m thrilled to share the first installment of a new resource called Around the World from Your Living Room.  It’s a simple series that I’ve put together providing resources for a meal, activity (like a craft or game), and prayer for different countries.

south america

Here’s how it works:

Your family (or small group, or Sunday school class, or whatever) gathers together for an hour or two to focus on a country.

  • You’ll prepare a simple meal together from that country, using easy-to-find, real food ingredients.
  • As you eat, you’ll learn about the country.
  • Then you’ll do a craft or play a game originating in that country.
  • Finally, you’ll gather together to spend a few moments praying for the people there.

Today I’ll be sharing a guide for Peru, and in the months to come, I’ll share about several more countries. I have traveled to Peru twice, so I was especially excited to share about Peru with my family and all of you!


Around the World from Your Living Room: Peru 

Learn about Peru:

Peru location

First, talk with your children about Peru. Look at some of these facts together. You can also view some photos of Peru from National Geographic… I particularly enjoyed the “Faces of Peru” slideshow.

Overview: Peru is a beautiful, mountainous country with a rich history, known as the seat of the Incan empire in the 1500s. Peru is famous for housing Macchu Pichu, an ancient palace for the Incas, located high in the mountains near Cusco. Most Peruvians face poverty, though for the past years they have had a good economy under good government.

Location: Peru is on the coast of South America, bordering Ecuador, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Population: 30 million people

Capital: Lima

Language: Spanish is the most common, but a small population speaks Quechua.

Major Religions:

  • 81% Roman Catholic Christians
  • 12% Evangelical Christians

Weather: Near the coast, Peru has mild weather, with warm summers and cool winters. In the mountains, it can be very cold, though there is rarely snow except on the very top of the Andes mountains. Peru is located south of the Equator, which means summertime happens in December/January/February and wintertime happens in June/July/August.

(Many of this information was found at the CIA World Factbook).

A Simple Meal: Chicken, Rice, Fries, and Salad

peruvian food

Peru is known for many delicious foods, but a typical every day meal includes chicken, rice, potatoes, and salad… plus perhaps some Inka Cola soda to wash it down.

Roasted chicken. You can make a roasted chicken yourself (a whole chicken or just parts like the legs and thighs). Here’s a recipe I like (but you can skip seasoning it two days ahead).

We purchased a whole chicken from El Pollo Loco (a fast food chain in our area), or a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store works, too.

French Fries  

Did you know potatoes originated in Peru? (Not Ireland!)

Here is a recipe for baked French fries.

I sliced two potatoes lengthwise into “French fry” shapes, tossed them in some olive oil, then put them in the oven on 400*.  But, I had to go pick up the chicken… so, I just turned off the oven a few minutes into cooking, and let the potatoes sit inside for 30+ minutes while we were gone. They turned out great!


Chop up some iceberg/romaine lettuce for a salad. Top with shredded carrots and tomatoes.

For dressing, you can make this cilantro avocado dressing… or if you go to El Pollo Loco, just ask for a side of their avocado dressing – it’s very similar!

Alternatively, look for a bottled avocado and/or cilantro dressing (Trader Joe’s carries a cilantro dressing in their refrigerated section.) Or just use ranch!


Make a batch of white rice using your normal method. We use a rice cooker.

If you are willing to spend a little more time on it, this simple recipe for Peruvian white rice with garlic and lemon juice sounds delicious.

Even if you usually eat brown rice (we do!), I highly recommend white rice so it’s a more “authentic” experience.

Optional: Inka Cola

Your local grocery store may carry Inka Cola, especially if you live in an area with a larger Latino population. I found some at Target.

Inka Cola is a staple of Peruvian culture. It is a caffeinated, BRIGHT yellow soda and tastes just like bubble gum.

We didn’t buy any for our dinner because my husband hates bubble gum flavoring and our girls are too little for soda yet. But, it will definitely give your meal a genuine Peruvian flavor!

Alternative: Check if you have a Peruvian restaurant in your town… many communities do!

Hands-on Activity: Nazca Line Pictures

nazca spider

The Nazca lines are a famous location in Peru featuring incredible, huge sand drawings of animals and shapes, somehow created by an ancient civilization. To learn more about the Nazca lines, click here.

The Nazca lines were likely made as an offering to ancient gods. You could talk with your children about how we worship the One True God. You could talk about creating your art project to worship God, our Creator.

nazcalines craft directions

Inspired by this site, we made sand pictures in honor of the Nazca Lines.

  1. Look at photos of the Nazca Lines. You can look at this page for examples (or just google “how to draw the Nazca lines” and view the images that appear.
  2. Have your child draw a picture with a pencil or marker. Younger children can draw any shape; older children may want to draw an animal that looks like the Nazca lines.
  3. Trace over the drawing with glue. (You may want to do this on behalf of younger children.)
  4. Sprinkle sand (of any color) over the glue, then shake it off into a trash can or a piece of paper.  Let dry.

Tip: We didn’t have any sand, so I actually used unsweetened Kool-aid mix instead. It worked at first, when it dried, it “melted” a bit. My preschooler wasn’t picky, but an older child may prefer the precision of colored sand.

peru coloring page

Alternative: you could just print out this cute llama coloring page and color it.

Pray for Peru:

praying for Peru

As a family, spend a few minutes praying for Peru. If you have a globe or world map, locate Peru and have each family member place a finger on (or near) the country. You can lead the prayer, or invite each family member to pray about a specific request.

Your prayer time does not need to be lengthy! Don’t feel intimidated by thinking you need to pray for 10-20 minutes or more. Just a couple minutes focused on these requests, or others that come to mind, is fine.

  • Economy: The economy in Peru has been improving, but 25% of Peruvians still live in poverty, surviving in shanty-towns without electricity, running water, or other basics. Pray for job opportunities and for hope for the people there.
  • Religion: Many Peruvians are Roman Catholic Christians, but not all are actively practicing in their faith. Pray that Jesus would be a real, daily presence in their lives.
  • Health: Malnutrition rates in Peru have been dropping, thanks to government campaigns to teach good hygiene and provide clean water. Pray that this continues!
  • History: The Quechua are a native tribal group (you might think of them as “Native Americans” or “American Indians.”) Missionaries have worked hard to translate the Bible into their language and to bring Christ to this group, and God is transforming the Quechua! Pray that He would continue to be known among them. (I found this request on Operation World).
  • Ministry: Pray for local Peruvians who are reaching out within their own country, offering physical and spiritual support. Pray for the ministry of Krochet Kids as they provide jobs making knit hats and help support a community among the women who work there.

For additional prayer requests, visit Operation World.

Additional Resources and Ideas:

  • The Goodfellow Family works with Krochet Kids in Peru. Their blog has many pictures about their life in Peru, both every day life and their travels around the country.
  • Listen to Spanish worship music. When I visited Peruvian churches on a mission trip, I loved these two songs: “Te Alabare Mi Buen Jesus” and “Tu Eres Todopoderoso.” If you know basic Spanish, you will probably understand part of the songs (Alabare = worship/praise & todopoderoso = all powerful). I highly recommend dancing along. 🙂

Tell me about your experiences!

Did you spend an evening focused on Peru?

I would love to see your photos or hear about your experiences! Leave a comment below or share your photos using the hashtag #AroundtheWorldfromYourLivingRoom.

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

Living Overseas as a Missionary

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

Maybe You Can Move Halfway Around the World! Living Overseas as a Missionary

living overseas

My Story

I’ve shared already about my childhood interest in the persecuted church and my mission trip experiences as a teenager. Along with this came a developing desire to move overseas in some way.

As a senior in high school, I pursued entrance into two colleges on the East Coast (American University and Seton Hall) known for their international studies programs. I envisioned myself serving as a U.S. Foreign Service Ambassador or working for the United Nations. But when those universities proved too expensive, even with scholarship opportunities, I began to look toward some Christian universities closer to my California home.


I ended up attending Concordia University in Irvine, California, and I am so thankful. It was a perfect fit for me, and it turns out that though moving across the country seemed glamorous, I ended up loving coming home some weekends to do laundry and hang out with my family!

I loved my Concordia experience, but at the time, there were few options for international involvement. (Now, they have a program called Around-the-World Semester which is amazing! Students travel to ten-ish different countries to study and serve).

Without any viable options for international studies, I entered a wonderful program to become a Director of Christian Education, which is roughly the Lutheran church’s equivalent of a youth pastor (but not actually a “pastor.”)

I took classes in youth ministry, children’s ministry, adult education, world missions, teaching strategies, church leadership, and theology. I thought perhaps this would be a good tool to serve overseas as a missionary.


After graduation, DCE students are expected to complete a one-year full-time church internship, and the leaders of the program assign you to an internship. Students stand up in front of a chapel service and they say, “Kelly, you are headed to…”

In the months leading up to the chapel service where I would find out my future, I had hoped to be assigned to a location overseas, perhaps in South America. However, a few weeks prior, I learned that wouldn’t be an option – all assignments would be within the United States.

Looking back, in my heart, I closed the door on serving as an overseas missionary at that time. I figured God wasn’t sending me overseas, so I would just work at a church here, leading short-term mission trips, and that was that.


When the day of the chapel service rolled around, they said, “Kelly, you are headed to First Lutheran Church in El Cajon, California.” I was pleased, and prepared to move to San Diego at the end of the summer (2008). (But only after a last-hurrah trip with some girl friends to Europe to be tourists and also participate in a mission trip in Hungary).

I didn’t know it at the time, but my assignment was truly life-changing. I had met this guy, Jay, a few months earlier when he visited Concordia – he was a friend of a friend. Turns out he was a member at my new church in San Diego. Since the church didn’t have many young adults, we naturally started hanging out as soon as I moved there. One thing led to another, and we’ll celebrate six years of marriage next week! 🙂


For some time, I worked at First Lutheran, happily leading our youth ministry, organizing some mission trips, and helping with ministry to refugees in our community.

But soon after Jay and I got married (November 2009), we both started to feel a gentle call to serve in overseas missions. He is a pilot, and we knew of an organization that uses pilots to serve isolated people in remote areas of the world.

We began looking more into this organization. As we read blog posts by current overseas missionaries, talked to a recruiter, and prayed, we felt God’s leading to begin preparations to join the organization.

It was a lengthy process, since Jay needed to receive his airplane mechanic’s license  – a two-year process, along with some other requirements like more Bible training. We took the course Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, which was wonderful preparation, too!


Eventually, we were ready. Shortly after our daughter, Elle, was born (June 2012), we traveled to Idaho and spent two weeks being evaluated by the organization. We passed, and a few months later (January 2013), our family had joined as official members of the organization.

We both serve them, though technically, my husband is the “employee” and I am the “accompanying spouse,” meaning most of the time, he is the one working full-time and I just assist as possible in the midst of my role as stay-at-home mom.

We spent our first year (2013) support-raising – a process called “deputation” in missionary circles. The process was long and we were impatient to finish and get overseas, but looking back, that was a wonderful year. We witnessed God’s provision and met so many lovely, Godly people who generously provide the financial support, prayers, and encouragement we need for our service.

Jay and I were able to work together on deputation, and he was home for the whole year as we worked from home and traveled a lot to visit supporters… which meant he was a significant daily presence in one-year-old Elle’s life. (Something we miss now that he works a typical 8 to 5 job).

But, we didn’t realize all that at the time, because it was stressful to work together and we were living on a small monthly salary and therefore living with family to be able to afford to be in California, which has a very high cost of living. So when January 2014 rolled around, and we received 100% of the monthly support needed to move overseas, we were ecstatic.


We headed to Idaho for two final months of training, and planned to move to Asia in June 2014.

We were crushed when a few weeks into our training, we learned that safety concerns in our country of service meant we couldn’t go right away. In the meantime, we learned we were expecting another baby!

Life seemed so topsy-turvy. We had already been packed up and ready to go overseas, and instead, we were facing several more months in the United States.

and then there were four

We regrouped and made plans to stay in Idaho until the baby was born. We did language study, spent time with some teammates from Asia who had returned to the U.S. because of the concerns, and enjoyed a peaceful, faith-stretching time in Idaho. It ended up being a very hard year, but also a very good one, as we felt we were truly depending on God to sustain us through all the changes we were facing.

But it wasn’t over! As issues calmed down in Asia, we made plans again to head overseas after our daughter was born.


Our sweet Ava was born in October 2014, and within a few hours of her birth, we learned she was born with microphthalmia, a condition where one of her eyes never really developed – essentially, it’s as though she is missing that eye.

There’s no known cause, and we were relieved to quickly learn through an MRI and eye exam that everything in her brain is fine, and her other eye has normal vision. (Something confirmed by her present-day ability to pick up the tiniest of crumbs off our kitchen floor as an afternoon snack!!)

Thankfully, she was eligible to receive a prosthetic “glass” eye (they’re actually made of silicone!), so by the time she was six weeks old, we had started the process. It’s been painless for her – just a lot of doctor visits to insert a slightly larger prosthetic into her eyelids to stretch her eyelids and encourage growth in that area. A year later, it’s impossible to even tell that she’s wearing a prosthetic – it looks wonderful!

Some of the clear prosthetic shells Ava has worn...
Some of the clear prosthetic shells Ava has worn…

But, the frequency of these appointments (every one to four weeks) meant that yet again, our overseas departure was delayed. So, we continue to live in the U.S. (We actually relocated to California to be closer to medical treatment, since there was none available in Idaho).

We hope to head overseas in 2016, as her eye treatment gets more established and we can wait several months between appointments. It’s tough when we have willing hearts and a love for the people of our intended area of service, but we can’t actually go yet! But we know the Lord is at work, leading and guiding us through every step of this crazy journey!


revelation 7

Hear from Missionaries Overseas

Since I don’t have any overseas experience to share, I wanted to point you toward some wonderful missionary blogs I enjoy reading. For my husband and me, reading blogs was one of the first steps God used to get us thinking and talking about mission work.

I encourage you to check out their blogs! Many of them also have an option to sign up for newsletters. (Also, if you are still looking for a missionary to support or encourage, here are some great options! Each of these people are supported by donations of a team of ministry partners.)

All of these missionary families have children – so as you envision global missions with kids, they are great examples of how to do it!

  • Marla and Gabe Taviano  serve in Cambodia, serving in photography ministry, working with trafficking victims, and doing whatever God calls them to. 🙂
  • Lisa and Matthew Lind serve in DR Congo, after recently completing language school in France. I like their blog because they write very frequently, so there’s always something new!

love 3

Resources for Missionary Wanna-Bes


  • Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is a top-notch class offered all over the world or online. It is not just for missionaries, but it covers Biblical, historical, strategic, and cultural factors of missions in a well-done way. Perspectives offers a free at-home Family Journey.
  • A Life Overseas is a blog for missionaries and other overseas workers, with high-quality, thoughtful posts from variety of authors. Most missionaries I know read this blog. 🙂
  • Urbana is a missions conference for college students that takes place each year – the next one is coming up in December 2015. If you know a young person interested in missions, Urbana is considered the best! (Unless you attend a Concordia University, in which case, go to Beautiful Feet!)

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**Do you have any questions about overseas missions? Have you ever served as a long-term overseas missionary? Leave a comment below.

Should I Send My Teenager on a Mission Trip?

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

All month long we’ve been talking about ways to get involved in global missions with kids. Today I want to address a pretty typical way for young people to be involved in missions: going on a mission trip!

should i send my teenager on a mission trip

When I was 13 years old, my older sister started getting brochures in the mail from Teen Missions International, an organization that leads summer-long mission trips around the world.

I poured over the brochures, reading about the building projects and evangelism trips teenagers could participate in. Every participant had to wear work boots and they were advised that most would have to take bucket showers.

It sounded perfect!

For the next two years, I was desperate to go on a mission trip, and for those two years, my parents said “no.”

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Then one day, an old friend of my parents, Jan, was in town on a business trip. At the last minute, we went out for Mexican food with her, and she shared about the ministry her family was involved with in Peru.

Jan’s husband was a pastor, and they all would go down to Peru to serve at an orphanage and encourage some Peruvian pastor friends. I listened with great interest, but at the end of the evening we said goodbye, and that was that.

Except that over Christmas break that year, I read God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, and my faith grew. I realized that perhaps God was using my parents’ reservations about a mission trip as the means to keep me from going on the wrong trip. I wrote about it in my journal, and I came to peace with not going on a mission trip until they saw fit to have me go.

Within two weeks, we had received a letter in the mail from Jan’s husband, who was leading another mission trip to Peru, asking if anyone in the family, especially me, would like to attend. My mom read the letter and cried, saying she knew I was supposed to go.

So that summer, my dad and brother dropped me off in Chicago and I traveled with the team down to Peru. For two weeks, we served at orphanages and children’s shelters, visited schools, and enjoyed fellowship with Peruvian believers.

Since then, I’ve gone on a number of other mission trips, have led several trips, studied short-term missions, and now am planning to move overseas. So, you might say it made a big impact on me. 🙂

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Benefits of Sending Teenagers on a Mission Trip

  • They are participating in God’s global mission in agreement with His heart for the world.
  • It will likely change their worldview as they gain understanding of new cultures, economic status, and needs around the globe.
  • It may increase their faith as they see God’s provision in a new way, deal with the challenges of poverty and suffering, and enjoy spiritual community with their teammates.
  • It may offer them new friendships with teammates and with local Christians in the area they serve.
  • It may inspire future language learning, an interest in international studies, or a desire to serve in full-time Christian ministry.

Things to Consider Regarding Teenagers and Mission Trips

As a parent, I’m guessing your two concerns are likely:

  • safety – will my child be safe?
  • cost – how will we pay for the trip?

Safety: Generally speaking, mission trips are safe, at least as safe as any other youth ministry activity. Of course, you’ll want to check the State Department’s travel recommendations for the particular region.

I encourage you to really pray about this trip. Is this the Lord’s will? I remember a line I learned on my first mission trip to Peru: “There is no place safer than in the center of God’s will.” Is this a guarantee against physical peril? Certainly not! But it is an encouragement that His all-surpassing peace and faithfulness accompanies us everywhere.

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Cost: Likewise, I encourage you to consider the Lord’s provision. If this is His will, He will provide the funding. Perhaps that will be out of your own budget, or perhaps through donations of friends, family, and fellow church members… most likely, a little of both.

In addition to those questions, here are some additional things to consider:

  • Who is hosting the trip? Do they have experience leading a mission trip?
  • Will the group be working with a local church? (the answer should be yes!)
  • Could you go along? (more on this below)
  • What is your child’s temperament? Will they enjoy being away from home, in new conditions and a strange environment?

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy post about some general considerations regarding short-term mission trips. I encourage you to check it out if you want more to think about regarding the pros and cons of mission trips, and some recommendations.

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Recommendations for Teenagers and Mission Trips

Think about going on the trip yourself. I’m usually not a big fan of “helicopter parenting,” but if possible, I would encourage you to consider participating in the trip with your child.

I don’t suggest this because of safety, but rather because this will likely be a big experience for your child, and it would be nice for them to have you  (or another trusted adult, like an older sibling or grandparent) along for the sake of the shared experience.

A few years ago my mom and brother joined me on a day trip to Mexico, and I’ve also gone on a lengthier house-building trip with my sister. Both of those memories are special to me, and it helped me to be able to have that experience with someone close to me!

Send your child on an inter-generational trip (not just teenagers), if possible. I have been on both teenager-only trips (of course, there were adult leaders, but everyone else was a teenager) and inter-generational trips (people of all ages – teenagers, younger adults, and older adults), and I encourage you to consider an inter-generational trip.

Generally, a trip with multiple generations affords a richer opportunity for mentorship and wisdom from the older members of the group. It also is likely to be more “missions-focused” and perhaps less focused on friendship-drama, relationship-drama, or other issues that can be more present in a trip just for teenagers.

Prepare your teenager ahead of time. Hopefully, the team leader is doing training and preparation, including cultural training and lots of prayer. If not, consider partnering with your teenager to do some training of your own. A great place to start would be reading and discussing Serving with Eyes Wide Open by David Livermore together.

Be an encourager and prayer warrior during the trip.  If you’re not going on the trip with your child, be prepared to encourage and pray for your child!

Ahead of time, you can write letters for your child to pack in a suitcase and open each day they’re gone. I’ve had friends and family members do this in the past and it’s such nice encouragement and a reminder to stay”grounded” even when I may not be feeling well, am tired, or am frustrated with a team member.

Also, if your child will have access to the internet, a daily email will be a great encouragement. Don’t expect your child to communicate much with you, however, and I would encourage you to not send them with a full-capacity cell phone while they’re away. The purpose of the trip is not to converse with you (or friends!) back home, but to focus on the task at hand.

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Be ready for afterwards. Homecoming is always the hardest part of a mission trip for me.

First, there’s the physical stuff – I’m tired from jet lag, lengthy travels, and probably little sleep on the mission trip. My body is getting used to eating our food again.

Second, it’s emotionally difficult, as I’m facing a totally different “world” than what I was used to on the trip. Not only is our culture different, but on the mission trip, I formed bonds with my teammates and am now sad to miss that community and comraderie.

Third, I’ve just had this great experience, and I come home, and not many people want to talk about it!

Be aware that your teenager is going through these issues (or others not listed)! If possible, clear your teenager’s schedule and your own schedule for a few days. If they want to sleep and veg out, just watching TV or hanging out, that’s fine. They may be excited to spend time with friends.

Set aside a time to look at photos together or hear memories from the trip. Then, keep asking. They may not want to share everything right away. Ask in a week, a month, two months, if they have more memories to share or things they are missing from the trip.

If you have more questions about mission trips, feel free to leave a comment below! I’d love to answer any questions or offer my input on your specific situation. 🙂

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**Have you ever sent a teenager on a mission trip?Did you go on a mission trip as a teenager? Leave a comment below.

Go and Make Disciples… in Two Weeks?

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

Mission Trips as a Family?

Have you ever been on a short-term mission trip? If you have children, have you ever considered taking them on a mission trip with you?

I’ve been on many mission trips through the years, to places like Peru, China, Poland, Hungary, and Mexico.

Though we plan to move overseas ourselves, we have not yet taken our kids (ages three and age one) on a mission trip… though we’re talking about a weekend trip to Mexico in a few months (just a few hours from home, we figure we can make an early exit if needed!)

I’ve been inspired by reading stories of families online who have taken their children with them, including:

I’m not sure that there are any hard-and-fast rules about taking your children on a mission trip… so much will depend on your particular children, where you are going, and what you’ll be doing.

If you have a specific question, feel free to leave a comment below and I’m happy to let you know my thoughts.

So, today I want to talk about just some general thoughts on short-term missions. I’ll warn you – this post is quite long. I’m intending it for those who might be very interested in thoughts about mission trips.

If you’re not interested, no problem! Check out some other ways to be involved in global missions with kids here.

go and make disciples

Should We Go on Short-Term Mission Trips?

In recent years, some have criticized short-term mission trips, wondering their value and whether they cause more harm than good.

I’ve been one of those critics – during my final year of college, I did an extra project all about short-term missions, questioning  whether we as Western Christians should keep doing them. Spoiler alert: I think we should still do short-term missions.


A fifteen year old girl, camera and bag of souvenirs in tow, walks out of the secure area of the airport and into the arms of her parents, anxious to see their daughter after her two-week mission trip to Africa.

They ask her about her experiences, and she describes, “It was wonderful! I held this little boy at an orphanage for two whole hours, and I can just tell that his life was totally changed because of me.  It was kind of hard because I don’t speak their language, but my group and I learned how to say ‘Jesus loves you,’ in their language, so I’m sure that lots of people learned about Him from us. 

Also, my group went on a safari, and we saw elephants and giraffes. I got to try eating ants, too.  It was a great trip.  I just feel so on fire for God now, and I really bonded with the other people on my team.” 

Scenes like this occur at airports around the United States throughout the year, as short-term mission trip participants of all ages return home and tell others about their experiences.  Their testimonies make short-term missions sound godly, adventurous, and fun, and partly based on their stories, people continue to participate in short-term mission trips.

Unfortunately, these reports of short-term missions frequently focus on or even overestimate the positives without considering some of the negatives.  There are numerous reasons or goals for short-term missions, and it is not always clear if the goals are being accomplished.  Some wonder whether short-term missions is truly as effective as many claim it is, while others question who should be the focus of short-term missions: the participants or the recipients.

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Positives of Short-term Mission Trips

  • The Bible indicates that God’s people are called to show His love and do His work cross-culturally, and short-term missions is one way (but not the only way!) that can be done. 
  • The Gospel of Jesus can be spread through mission trips. Through drama and puppet presentations, day camps, distributing hygiene kits, or operating a soup kitchen, teams can bring the message of Christ to the people they encounter.
  • Mission trip participants can improve the welfare of people they meet. They may focus on housebuilding, medical missions, or food distribution.  In many regions of the world there is a need for relief or poverty alleviation, and many short-term teams are able to help with poverty issues in powerful ways through their work.
  • Christians of all ages can grow spiritually and emotionally through a short-term missions experience.
  • Many long-term missionaries are recruited through short-term experiences.
  • Even if they never return to the foreign mission field, short-term mission participants can be excellent informers and supporters of missions back home. Participants have seen first-hand what needs to be done, and their stories can often reach friends, family, and church members much more effectively than a long-term missionary who does not have the same direct connection to a congregation.   They are able to tell their congregations how to pray, because they have specific names and needs rather than simply a vague, general prayer request for a career missionary on the church prayer list, and they are also able to encourage others to continue to support missionaries and their work financially.
  • Short-term missions enables laypeople to be directly involved in carrying out the Great Commission. It does not require extensive training for participants.  The short-term missions movement has been extremely empowering for laypeople by showing them their role in the priesthood of all believers, meaning that all Christians, not just professionally trained ones, are able to serve God’s kingdom. In short-term missions, nearly any Christian can be a participant in mission work.
  • Short-term missionaries can encourage long-term missionaries and help meet a specific need. Short-term teams can meet a specific need for a long-term missionary, like providing the manpower and funding to build a new church fellowship hall or running a Vacation Bible School program.  Long-term missionaries can also find great encouragement in simply having someone visit them from their country of origin and show that someone cares about the missionary’s work; in a ministry where discouragement and loneliness is prevalent, this can be a huge boost in energy and enthusiasm for the continued work of the long-term missionary.
  • Mission trips carry out the “mutual encouragement of believers” described in Romans 1:11-12.mexico 2

Concerns regarding Short-term Mission Trips

  • Sometimes short-term mission trip participants overestimate their spiritual impact. They often don’t have language ability, they don’t have long-term commitment, and they may not know the culture of the people they are reaching. Cultural barriers can be hard to deal with in a lifetime of mission work, and infinitely more so in a short-term setting.
  • Unfortunately, short-term teams do not always do necessary or effective work as they seek to improve the welfare of others. Sometimes, mission projects are initiated by the participants, rather than nationals within the country. Westerners think they know how to help, so they think they are bringing a valuable economic resource, like a new home, food, or toiletry items, when in truth, the people living there did not want or need that economic resource.
  • Westerners can have a patronizing attitude, thinking we’re the great American saviors, without respecting the culture we’re meeting.
  • Short-term missions experiences can result in a spiritual “mountain-top experience” where participants come home with aspirations of a changed life, but typically don’t end up making many changes.
  • Short-term mission participants often are unequipped, receiving zero-training before their mission experience.
  • Sometimes, mission trip participants go because they just want the adventure, rather than out of a sense of service to God. There is nothing wrong with travel and adventure, and Christians can be encouraged to go on vacations and see the world, but if the purpose is adventure, and not missions, then it should not be called a “mission trip.”
  • Short-term mission teams likely mean more work  for the long-term missionary hosts.  Along with their encouragement and enthusiasm, short-term mission teams can bring grumbling first-time travelers, people naturally insensitive and unaware of cultural issues, and the need for the long-term missionaries’ time.
  • Short-term missions can be too focused on the participants rather than the receivers.
  • Some wonder whether the cost of a mission trip (flights, hotel rooms, food, passports) would be better donated directly to the people being served.poland 4


Practical Recommendations for Short-term Missions

1. Train short-term mission participants before their trip. Training should include education about culture in general and the destination culture in particular. Training can help participants nurture their spiritual growth and teaches people about missions.

Depending on the situation, training can take place in different formats, for example, as a weekly class for several months before the trip, or as a three day intensive training session at the beginning of the trip.

I recommend at least 10% of the length of your trip be spent in training beforehand. So, a 10 day trip should include at least one full day of training beforehand. A 10-hour day trip to Mexico should include at least an hour-long training ahead of time. Note: this is training, not just information about what to pack or what to expect.

2. Partner with nationals in the receiving country.

Some of the problems with short-term missions, like the existence of unnecessary work projects, stem from a lack of relationship between the short-term mission team and a national church in the country where the short-term mission is taking place.

There  needs to be a partnership between the short-term mission team and national churches in order for effective short-term mission work to take place.  Ideally, national churches should be at the forefront, and they should be the ones suggesting a short-term mission team be involved in some way.

3. Pursue meaningful missions experiences during the trip.

Rather than settling for repainting a freshly painted church, mission trip leaders should intentionally pursue missions experiences that are meaningful for both the recipients and the participants.

Trip organizers should work with their national church partners to develop projects that will benefit the receivers, rather than simply inventing something that may or may not actually help them.  This not only serves the recipients, but the participants as well, as they see that their presence is truly making an impact in the lives of others.


4. Implement an ongoing missions ministry rather than simply taking once-a-year trips.  

Some churches label a two-week section of the annual church calendar “short-term mission trip,” and ignore missions the rest of the year.  Churches should pursue an ongoing missions emphasis throughout the year through Bible classes, missions presentations, debriefing sessions for past trips, and support of missions through church ministries.

Likewise, as a family, participating in missions year-round, rather than just during a mission trip, is key. I know of some great ideas for how to get involved in missions wherever you are!

5. Participate in missions wherever you are, both in your own community and overseas on a mission trip.

While there are certainly people in need, both economically and spiritually, all over the world, there are also people in virtually every community in the United States that need to hear the Word of Christ and need to experience His love.

In order to truly serve missions as a whole, Christians should be involved in missions both far away and close to home.

6. Debrief after the missions experience. The same 10% rule can be applied here – a 10 day trip should result in at least one day of debriefing… not just a rest or vacation day, but a time specifically devoted to thinking through the mission trip and praying about changes to make back home.

7. Seek excellence in short-term missions.

In order to improve the quality of short-term missions, the people involved need to continue to aim for improvement.  This involves diligence and dedication to doing short-term missions well.

Seeking excellence requires time, and trial and error.  It might mean writing goals for the short-term missions experience.  It means evaluating motives.

Before they begin, participants can ask themselves why they are going on this trip, and leaders can ask themselves why they are leading.  They can evaluate if it is because of a sense of adventure, or because everyone else is doing it, or if it is because they want to serve God and others through their experience.

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Yes, We Should Continue Short-term Mission Trips!

In an “updated” version of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters concerning short-term missions, Frampton Fox speculates about a conversation between two demons, in which Wormwood, one of the demons, says, “We must inspire more indigenous scholars to criticize [short-term] missionaries for their colonialism to the exclusion of the considerable damage that their sacrifice has done to our interests.”

The demons go on to discuss how enough criticism might stop short-term missions altogether (something they view as positive, of course).

The demons’ comments provide an important reminder to those that closely examine short-term missions: the negatives of short-term missions should not cause people to become discouraged and disillusioned and give up.

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Yes, there are flaws in short-term missions.  Inexperienced trip leaders go without the right preparation, and participants join the team for the wrong motivations.

Short-term mission teams make cultural blunders, complete unnecessary construction projects, and do not speak enough of the native language to say much more than “Where is the bathroom?”

Teams embarrass their long-term missionary hosts and exhaust the national churches trying to work with the short-term participants.

Participants spend far too much time thinking about their own needs – including needs for photos and souvenirs – than they do thinking about the people they are trying to serve. Although they return back home vowing to change their lives as the result of their short-term mission experiences, their lives are back to normal within a few months.

Yes, there are flaws in short-term missions, but in spite of all the mistakes that are made, God works anyway.  Participants have the wrong motivations, but God uses them.

Someone goes on a trip primarily because she wants to see the Great Wall of China, and God changes her heart to love the Chinese people.  Leaders are unprepared to lead a short-term mission trip, but the team arrives home safely and happily at the end of the trip.

As God’s people, let us strive to do His will with diligence and in a way that glorifies Him as we do short-term missions.  Let us use our knowledge and intellect to study short-term missions and develop ways to touch people, using the knowledge He has given us.  But in the meantime, let us not stop doing short-term missions.

Let us not throw our hands up in the air and think, “If I can’t do it well, I shouldn’t do it at all.”  Instead, let us continue to seek improvement, but let us remember when we do not do short-term missions well, that God “chose the foolish things of the world” and “the weak things of the world” to serve Him.


For further reading…

** What are your thoughts and experiences on short-term mission trips? Leave a comment below.

How to Support the Persecuted Church

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

When I was younger,  I somehow found out about the plight of the persecuted church. I began reading publications from Christian Freedom International, Open Doors, and the Voice of the Martyrs.

I learned about the Karen people living on the border of Burma (Myanmar). I learned about Chinese people without access to Bibles.

I began to pray for the persecuted church, read magazines about them, and asked for God’s Smuggler for Christmas one year.

I even put together a proposal for having a display at our church during the fellowship hour with photos and stories about the persecuted church.

Since then, the persecuted church has been a cause dear to my heart, even inspiring much of my call to serve in overseas missions, and I can trace the roots back to those early days.

I was 12 when I learned about the persecuted church! I wasn’t an adult with an advanced understanding of the world and religious freedoms. I wasn’t college-educated, or even high school-educated.

I was just an awkward middle school student with a heart for Christians living in tough situations.

I share this story to encourage you to consider sharing about the persecuted church with the children in your family, or the young people you mentor.

Even from a young age, children can understand, pray for, and make a difference in supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Ideas for Sharing and Supporting the Persecuted Church with Your Kids

Learn about Christian persecution. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Christian persecution, you can check out this overview here.

Read stories about persecuted Christians. Here are some stories and photos from Open Doors. Their World Watch List is worth exploring together with your children.

Sign up for mailings or emails from Voice of the Martyrs and/or Open DoorsYou can receive free books, posters, magazines, and other resources from these organizations. Both do a great job of educating you about the persecuted church. Share these resources with your kids.

Read God’s Smuggler as a family. This story of Brother Andrew, a young man who took Bibles and other Christian literature behind the Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union, is interesting and inspiring.

I haven’t read it in a few years, but I don’t believe there is any violence… only perhaps near the beginning when he is serving in the military. I would feel comfortable reading it aloud with my 3 year old, editing it as I read, if necessary.

It’s available on Amazon, but is much cheaper straight through the Open Doors web site… not sure about shipping though.

Explore Kids of Courage, a free web site for kids from Voice of the Martyrs. This resource is excellent! There are videos, stories, downloads, coloring pages… definitely worth checking out.

Don’t traumatize your children. You know how much “graphicness” your kids can handle. Consider the level of violence of movies/TV shows/video games your child views, and match your descriptions/exposure to that same level as you share about the persecuted church.

Even the youngest of children can be told there are places where it’s hard to follow Jesus, or where you get in trouble for following Jesus, without needing to know the gory details.

Take action. 

Check out these additional resources:

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Leave a comment below.

Bless Babies and Mamas Around the World

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

Babies and pregnant moms hold a special place in my heart. There is something so precious about new life coming into the world!

Today I want to share some ways you and your children can bless pregnant moms and/or babies around the world. Most children seem to naturally enjoy babies, and many of you who are parents may find this fits in well with this stage of life as you raise your own babies or experience your own pregnancies!

bless babies and mamas around the world

Donate to a Compassion Child Survival Program

These centers focus specifically on moms and young children, offering mentoring, check ups and assistance with birth, baby and toddler supplies (diapers, clothes, etc.), emotional support, clean water, healthy food, and spiritual guidance.  Child Survival Programs are located in places like Haiti, Bolivia, Indonesia, and Tanzania.

My family’s goal is to have a Compassion sponsorship on behalf of each member of our family. We have a girl who shares my husband’s birthday and a boy who shares my birthday. When firstborn was a baby, however, we decided to sponsor a child survival program on her behalf, since it benefits children her own age (0 to 3), prior to them being able to be sponsored individually. Though we don’t send any letters, we’ve appreciated the updates about the program! (It’s also a little cheaper than a regular child sponsorship!)

Pray for ladies at the Heartline Haiti Birth Center.

I’ve loved reading about this birth center where women’s practical needs are being met and lives are being saved as women and children receive great medical care in child birth.

I remember reading that many women in Haiti don’t believe in breastfeeding, because they see formula cans with chubby American babies on the front, and believe formula is best. However, not being able to afford formula, they’ll just crush up cookies and mix it with (likely unsanitary) water, which makes the baby sick, and causes them to lose weight. Heartline offers breastfeeding support and helps moms after birth.

Tara Livesay, who works at Heartline, posts photos of mamas to pray for at the birth center. Also, they keep an updated wish list of supplies that can be purchased and mailed to North Carolina so they can be delivered to Haiti… it would be fun to shop with your kids and pack a box together! Last week, Heartline was the recipient of an awesome “Love Flash Mob” – you can read the encouraging posts about what happened here and here! Amazing!

Support the work of your local pregnancy care center.

Contact a pregnancy care center in your area and see how you can help. They may be in need of diaper donations, translators, volunteers, baby-blanket-makers, or counselors. While your children may not be able to participate in all of these activities, find out if there’s a way you could work together to support a pregnancy care center.

Put together baby care kits to send overseas.

Lutheran World Relief offers instructions for sending a variety of kits overseas, including baby care kits. I’ve never put together these kits before, but it seems like with a little preparation, this would be a hands-on way to bless little babies (and moms!) overseas… great for putting together at a Sunday school class, scout group, homeschool group, or even a birthday party!

The kits include baby clothes, inexpensive cloth diapers, pins, and soap.

Alternatively, blogger Adriel Booker has info on birth kits you can send overseas. We tried to make these for Mother’s Day last year, but I flaked and never got the stuff for it! 🙁 Check out the instructions… I’d encourage you to email Adriel to make sure she is still accepting kits.

Check out the Love a Mama Initiative.

As I was looking at info for the birth kits above from Adriel Booker’s blog, I found this whole page of ways they have helped love moms, particularly around Mother’s Day. Such wonderful, practical ideas!

Honestly, I’m not sure whether she’s still doing any of these endeavors, but if one of them captures your heart, I’d contact her! I don’t know Adriel personally, but I know she works with YWAM, which is a highly respected missions organization, and I love her heart for helping moms!

Here are a few blog posts worth reading:

It is worth poking around her site! 🙂 A few projects that caught my eye include:

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**What other ideas do you have for blessing babies and moms around the world? Leave a comment below.

Discussing Poverty with Kids

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Click here to subscribe to emails!

Today’s topic is short,because honestly, I’m not an expert on talking about or helping poverty on my own, much less with kids.

Every time we see a homeless person, I’m torn over whether we should give him a dollar, buy him lunch, send him to the closest shelter, or ignore him completely. It’s even worse when I’m visiting another country and see even more begging and poverty!

So, I don’t feel like an authority on this topic by any stretch, but here’s what I’m going to do to learn more and try to tackle this issue… I encourage you to do the same!!

1. Check out this excellent post about 4 Ways to Help Kids Engage with Poverty Issues. Read the comments too, they are great! (Incidentally, it’s a guest post on another site written by Adriel Booker, the one whose blog I loved when we talked about babies and moms!)

2. Get the Step into My Shoes curriculum from Compassion International. They sent me a free copy of it to review here, and it is amazing!!!!!

I’m not quite done with it yet, so I’m going to do a whole post about it next month… I’ll be sure to link back here about it! – but I can confidently say: get it! It’s worth it.

I swooned over just the directions for a couple days because they are so well-written and they thought of everything, even adjustments for preschoolers and for teenagers (so appreciated!)

3. Read When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor – and Yourself. I’ve started this book a few times but have never finished it… it’s just so good, I feel like I ought to savor it!

This book is highly respected in the missions world, and I have a feeling it would give me the answer to my question about what to do when I see a homeless person.

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**How do you address poverty with your children? Leave a comment below.

How to do Global Missions as an Adult Mentor

Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here. Please remember that the goal isn’t for you to do ALL these projects, but rather pick one or two. You can download a printable worksheet here to guide you through discerning which project is best for you and the young people in your life.

Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking one of the links, I may receive a small commission to help support this site, at no additional cost to you.

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If you are someone who mentors young people outside your own family – perhaps you’re a grandparent or devoted aunt, or you volunteer with your church’s youth ministry, or you serve foster children as a CASA… I hope that nearly all of the posts in the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids will be helpful for you.

I hope you might be inspired to put together an Operation Christmas Child shoebox with your youth ministry small group, or you’ll write to a Compassion sponsored child alongside your grandchild. Maybe you’ll buy a fair trade gift for your nephew or purchase a Little Passports kit for the child you babysit.

If you are an adult mentor, please know that my heart is for you! You are doing a valuable service as you teach, lead, and love young people, particularly those who are not your own children.

how to do global missions as an adult mentor

How Can I Do Global Missions AS an Adult Mentor?

A little different than the ideas described above, I have some additional ideas for ways you can do global missions as an adult mentor. These aren’t ideas for doing missions alongside the young people you mentor, but rather ideas for reaching young people by serving in global missions.

In other words, if you are an adult thinking, “I’d love to make a difference in the life of a young person, particularly a young person from another culture and possibly living in another country,” here are some ideas for you!

You’ll notice that many of the ideas are connected to ways we’ve already talked about serving alongside young people… now, we’re just considering how you can directly mentor the young people you are serving.

Ideas for Global Missions as an Adult Mentor:

  • View yourself as a mentor for your sponsored child. As you write letters and pray for your child, consider how you can serve as a mentor. Write words of encouragement and inspiration. Commit to writing regularly and encouraging your sponsored child. You could even consider saving up for a visit to your sponsored child in person someday!
  • Sign up as an English tutor or English partner for a child who speaks English as a foreign language.
  • Serve as a friendship partner to an international student, particularly one who is on the younger side, in elementary school, high school, or college.
  • Host a foreign exchange student in your home for the school year. Occasionally this is even an option for just a brief period of time – some groups of elementary school students will come to the U.S. from places like China. They will stay for a couple weeks to learn and have fun. This would be a great way to try this out for a short period of time!
  • Volunteer with a Backyard Bible Club in a multi-ethnic area of your community. Make an effort to get to know the boys and girls who participate. Are there any older children who participate in the club? Consider how you can raise them up as student leaders for the Backyard Bible Club.
  • Go on a short-term mission trip that focuses on serving young people. In the past, I’ve helped with several English-language Bible camps in Eastern European countries. Middle school and high school students would come for a week to learn English, participate in Bible studies, and have fun together. This was a great chance to mentor these young men and women!

This Global Missions with Kids series is full of thoughts and practical ideas for serving Christ alongside your children and teenagers.

**What ideas do you have for serving in global missions as an adult mentor? Leave a comment below.