Welcome to Week 2 of our Much Ado about Missions blog-hop series! If you’re joining us for the first time, in the first week we zeroed in on the need for emphasizing global missions and how we can accomplish that even within our homes. Be sure to stop by our Week 1 wrap-up for informative posts on the best resources for missional families, fun crafts on how to introduce your kids to missions, and the missional M&Ms.
While we discussed impacting our homes in week one, this week we’ll be discussing how to impact our communities and even our world through missions experiences and outreach opportunities for you and your family.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that my husband is a minister in a small country town. So, by nature of his job, our family experiences a lot of community outreach through our church and even aside from the church.
However, we also want our family to be involved in things that have an impact beyond our community.
As Christian parents, we want to be mindful of the needs in that great big world out there and have the Lord’s heart for the nations. I listened to a sermon recently given by a missionary who said that he drove a single mile to the church he was speaking at that morning and passed 3 churches on the way! Yet in an unreached people group in China that is 15 million strong, not a single church exists. Not. One.
So, I’m going to start out the week by challenging you to leave the comfort of your own home, your own city, your own state and try something as a family that could potentially change many lives.
My husband and I want our children to understand the importance of global missions as much as they understand community service and outreach, and that requires us to stretch beyond what is comfortable.
Experiencing firsthand is so much more powerful than just hearing about it from missionaries who come to speak at church or, for my family, from your former MK wife/mother. 🙂 So, we’ve put together a very brief list of experiences that could benefit the whole family.
4 Missions Experiences for Your Family
1. Church missions trips – If your church is offering a missions trip experience, this would be the perfect way for you, and possibly your family, to experience and serve alongside a missionary that your church is already connected with (whether in the states or abroad).
While heading into unfamiliar territory, you would at least have the comfort of travelling and experiencing right alongside other members of your church. This type of trip helps you to better understand the need as well as the missionaries you help support.
2. Wayumi – if leaving your home country to serve in a remote location scares the pants off of you, or just isn’t possible for medical reasons, etc., why not start with a missions experiences available right here in America through New Tribes Mission? (Update: New Tribes Mission has rebranded and is now Ethnos 360) You can spend anywhere from 1 day to a week at Wayumi, a center located in Pennsylvania, and be exposed to other cultures, the trials of language study, and so forth.
Although the experience offers very realistic replications of tribal huts, tribal foods, and so on, some modern conveniences are still available. It’s a way to learn about missions and perhaps even stretch yourself and your family a bit, but the cost is significantly less than an overseas trip.
3. Serve with New Tribes Mission (NTM) – http://usa.ntm.org/go – (Update: New Tribes Mission has rebranded and is now Ethnos 360) this non-denominational missions organization that focuses on church planting along with scripture translation offers a variety of opportunities for families and even college students. Short term, service-based trips last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, while longer stays of a year are necessary for associate workers who go to fill an immediate need.
College students can even earn credits through the Interface internship program in Papua New Guinea.
Most importantly, this organization is always searching for teachers who would be willing to serve for 1-2 years in their overseas schools! Many missionary children (such as myself as an MK) attend boarding school at a central base so that their parents can focus on language learning without the added responsibility of homeschooling (although many do homeschool through elementary grades). One way for those with teaching experience to help spread the gospel to the unreached is to serve by teaching missionary kids.
4. World Changers – http://www.lifeway.com/worldchangers/index.php/about/ – is a program for youth through college-age students. These trips usually take place in the summer months, when groups travel to specific cities to complete community service projects. In the past, some groups have gone to inner city ministries, disaster areas for restoration projects, etc.
This is not your everyday community service. Students complete bible study/training beforehand, including learning how to use evangelistic tools. If you have or know a youth, this program is an excellent way to teach them how to be someone who changes the world!
These are just a very few of the multitude of opportunities to serve your world beyond your neighborhood, your town, your state, even your country!
What can your family do to stretch and grow beyond what is normal and familiar to you?
How might you consider helping to reach the most unreached peoples of the Earth, the third of our world population who currently have no hope?
I know that God asks believers to fill a variety of roles in the Body, of which missions is only one. But I also know that God’s heart is for all nations, not just the one we live in.
I read another missionary comment recently that said what is most needed is not more money. He reminded us, “Jesus is the fishes and loaves guy.” What is needed is those who will be willing to advocate for the most unreached people groups and those who will be willing to answer the call of “Whom can I send?”
As I mentioned in the Introduction of this blog-hop, I don’t have all of the answers, even for our family. However, I do believe it is something that all Christians should prayerfully consider.
How will you respond?
If you know of another firsthand missions experience opportunity, please feel free to share with the readers in the comments!
Want to learn more about the value of a firsthand missions experience for teens? Read here: