A fun way to teach kids about missions is to do a service project. I suggest finding an organization in your area and coming up with an idea for how to serve them. You might even ask them if they have needs or ideas.
Our family lives near a shelter for homeless men that are trying to get back on their feet. They offer a warm place to stay, meals, and Bible classes for those interested. They also serve the local community by giving out food boxes and supplies.
In the past, we have donated money and supplies. Last year I tried to come up with an idea of how the kids could get involved. They are young, so finding ways to involve them is a little trickier.
I went to the local fabric store and purchased fleece. (If you watch for sales or buy remnants, you can get the fabric inexpensively.)
Then we cut it into scarves to donate. My daughter helped cut them out and loved it. My son couldn’t cut as easily with the fabric shears, but he helped stack and organize the scarves. (He had fun counting them.) 🙂 We talked about how blessed we are to live in a warm house and have warm clothes and plenty of food. We talked about the needs that people in our own community have. They both went with us when we donated the scarves.
This was something they talked about for weeks afterward, especially on very cold days. It made an impact in their little lives and they asked if we could do it again this year.
There are other ways you can help locally, even on a budget:
- Serve food at a local homeless diner
- Play piano or sing for a local nursing home or shelter
- Make Christmas treats or cards to take to nursing home or shelter
- Purchase supplies to donate (clip coupons and watch sales to make this affordable)
- Help clean or do yard work for a local organization
- Collect coins to donate to a local organization – Let your kids do chores to earn extra money to donate
Do you have other ideas?
Many people would love to help a missionary out, but do not have extra cash lying around to hand out. One practical way that you can help a missionary is to donate services to them. Maybe you own a small business or maybe you have a particular skill that can be useful to them. Even if you cannot donate the entire amount of a service, you might have a coupon for a particular service that would help them out a lot.
Here are some practical examples of ways you might help; use your imagination to come up with other ways that fit your skills and talents!
- Donate services for their car. Maybe they need an oil change or new tires. Maybe they need new brakes. Offer a discount if you have a car repair shop. Give them a free car wash.
- Offer to cut and color their hair. This is an expensive item that many missionaries do not treat themselves to regularly. If you know how to do this well, you can make them feel very pampered. (Just don’t walk up and say, “I can color your hair for you”! That might not be received well.)
- Donate airfare miles. Many people that travel a lot have these stored up. The missionary could use these to travel to churches in the USA or to help pay for a return ticket home.
- Offer to help fix their computer. Missionaries have IT problems just like the rest of us. If you are experienced with computers, you can be a huge help to a missionary with limited funds.
- Do yardwork for them for free while they are in the USA. This can be a huge timesaver and blessing to the missionary. This is also a great way to get your kids involved.
- Take pictures of them. If you can take professional quality pictures, your missionary would probably love to have some new, beautiful pictures of their family. They may need one to update their prayer card, newsletter, or blog.
- Offer free copies. If you happen to own a copy/print store, you can offer to make free copies of newsletters for them. Many churches might also be able to offer this service.
- Donate food. Do you own a restaurant, café, or food business? Treat them to a meal or two. Depending on the establishment, you could donate coffee, donuts, meals, ice cream, or cakes/cookies.
- Share your garden produce. If you’ve spent time and effort cultivating a garden in the summer, you probably have an abundance of produce. Ask the missionary if they would like some fresh garden food. Missionaries travel a lot, and it is a good idea to make sure they will be in town to be able to eat it.
- Do alterations. If you are a skilled seamstress or own an alteration shop, you can help a missionary alter clothing or hem pants.
- Tutor their kids. If you are a teacher, you could be very useful by tutoring their kids. Many MKs struggle to adjust during their time on “home assignment” and a tutor may be immensely helpful.
- Babysit. Offer to watch the MKs for a date night or for the parents to be able to attend doctor’s appointments, etc.
Depending on your skills and talents and what business you might own, you might be able to come up with even more ways to donate services to a missionary. Feel free to comment with other ways! Maybe you can come up with one that I did not think of!