How to Bless a Missionary – Pray For Their Kids (Week #13)

You might be thinking, “Didn’t we already have a post on praying for a missionary?”. And yes, we did. If you’d like to read it, you can go here.

But praying for a missionary’s kids can need a little bit of a different focus. So, today we are going to talk about specific prayer needs for missionary kids.

  1. Adjustment to new situations – Missionary kids are exposed to many new situations, both in their host country abroad and when they come back to their passport country. Some adjust very easily, but some struggle with each change. Prayer for easy transitions is important.
  2. Language acquisition – Some languages are easy to pick up and learn, while others are very difficult. Some children learn languages quickly, while others seem to struggle. Younger children tend to pick up languages more easily and also seem to have a better “local” accent. Pray that they learn the language quickly.
  3. Salvation – This should be the most important thing that we pray for…and the most important for the missionary parents.
  4. Health – We need to pray for general medical health. They need protection from illnesses and injuries. Many children also have learning or physical disabilities, and we should pray that God would provide the appropriate medical care, therapies, and help for their them and their parents.
  5. Safety – This kind of ties into the health request, but missionary kids can be exposed to many different safety hazards. They may travel more often than other kids. There may be people around them that are against Americans or jealous of their family and would like to harm them. There may be wild animals like hippos, spiders, etc. that could cause them harm. They may live in a village with difficult terrain that makes them more prone to broken bones and falls.
  6. Schooling – Choosing how to educate their children is one of the biggest decisions that a missionary family will make. They may choose to homeschool, attend a local school, or send their child to a boarding school. Each of these choices will require a different way of praying, but we also should pray that the child is able to learn well in any circumstance.
  7. Friendships – Missionary kids need prayer to make friends, but not just any friends…the right friends. When they are little, they need good friends to play with. As they get older, they need friends that will not influence them wrongly. We should pray that they do not choose to follow pagan or evil local practices. We should pray that their friends would help their faith grow.

Here is a link with a great article (with scriptures) for you to pray for your own children as well as missionary kids that you know.  Click here to read it.

Let your missionary know what you are praying for their kids!

How to Bless a Missionary – Buy A Magazine Subscription for Them (Week #10)

Contact your missionary friend and find out what kinds of magazines they might enjoy reading. Learn about what interests they have. What do they like?

  • Parenting
  • Homeschooling
  • Photography
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Carpentry
  • DIY
  • Travel
  • Aviation
  • Children’s interests

You’ll also need to find out if they prefer to read it electronically or receive the paper version in the mail. You might check if they can even receive paper versions through the mail…. you’ll also have to check with the magazine to see if they ship overseas (it might cost a little more for overseas shipping). You’ll either need an email or a street/PO address. Look up a magazine that matches their interest and order it for them or their children. Missionary kids usually have less access to many English reading materials.

You can do this on any budget! Many magazines are available at steep discounts at different times through the year. If you participate in the Recyclebank recycling program, you can use reward points to order magazines for other people and it won’t cost you anything!

This is a great idea for a gift that is not a one-time thing…they will keep receiving new issues throughout the whole year.  By the way, this is a great gift for anyone!

Here are some links to a few magazines to get you started…just click on the image!

            Focus on the Family Magazine Subscription - 12 Issues Clubhouse Jr. Magazine Subscription - 12 Issues

Family Fun All Access                     

Practical Homeschooling              HGTV Magazine

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(Some links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.)

 

 

 

Christmas Around the World

Would your family like to find out what Christmas is like in other countries?  Do you need ideas for fun recipes and crafts?  Try Kate & Mack’s 12 Days of Christmas.

Register now at https://www.wycliffe.org/resources/kids/12days and receive 12 daily emails with info about Christmas in each of 12 different countries.

Kate and Mack in a snowy landscape

You may not actually have the time or energy to do all of these activities this Christmas season (because let’s face it – we’re all pretty busy).  BUT it will be a great way for your family learn about other traditions around the world, even if you only read them or do a few!

Family Activity – Christmas Advent Calendar

Have you ever used an advent calendar?  This is a fun thing that you can incorporate into family devotions or homeschooling.  It will help your family focus more on the reason for the Christmas season.

There are tons of options out there, but here is a fun printable from Wycliffe.org.  It is called “Kate & Mack’s Christmas Advent Calendar“, and it looks like a fun project for little ones!

Advent coloring page

Have fun!

HOT Deal on Books!

Have you been waiting and wishing you could afford to get some books for your kids for Christmas?  Wait no more!

Here is a super HOT deal on books from Amazon!  You can get $10 off of a $25 purchase of books…this means that you can get 2 Missionary Kid Stories books for $12.45 each (shipped free if you are a prime member)!

Use code HOLIDAYBOOK when you check out, and happy reading!

(Valid through November 29, 2016 at 02:59am EST)

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Why I Wrote a Children’s Book – Missionary Kid Stories

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(This post contains affiliate links.)

As a former Missionary Kid (MK), missions has played an important role in my life. I now live in the United States, and I want my kids to be exposed to missions, too. But this is hard to accomplish when you don’t live in another country.

I have implemented many of the things that I write about on this blog with my family, but I wanted something that would be very interesting for the kids and that would help me with other ideas of how to teach them.  Let me tell you about how Missionary Kid Stories came into existence.

My kids and I tend to read lots of books together, so I started looking for books about missions to read to the kids. I wanted one that had information on different countries and types of ministries, but from a kid’s perspective. In searching for a book like this for my children, I could not find one that talked about different ministry strategies from the missionary child’s point of view. The closest book that I found was: Around the World With Kate and Mack by Melissa Paredes (published by Wycliffe), which has a missionary child traveling around and focusing on different languages, cultures, and people groups. I also found several other books written for children about true missionaries from history, like Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor.

So, I set out to write a fun, educational, and informative way for children to learn two main things about missions. The result is Missionary Kid Stories . In it, kids learn:

  1. What life is like for different missionary kids in other countries (Mexico, Brazil, Zimbabwe, France, Indonesia, and the Philippines)
    • where they live
    • what languages they speak
    • where they go to school
    • their favorite foods
    • the weather
    • local arts and crafts
    • important landmarks or interesting topography
  2. Different types of ministries in which missionaries serve
    • printing Biblical literature
    • Bible translation
    • teaching in a seminary for local pastors
    • church planting
    • piloting planes to reach remote locations
    • teaching in an international school

Each chapter focuses on a different missionary kid, each in a different country, each with a different ministry focus. The characters are fictional (for security reasons in some countries), but are based, largely, on real missionary families serving around the world.

This book is intended to plant ideas into children’s minds that will hopefully grow into a desire to serve God in missions. I know that my kids have enjoyed reading this book (or having it read to them), and it has sparked many conversations about things they read about. I have been able to use this book to teach them about the countries included. For example, you can read about ideas to use when learning about Brazil here.

I the coming months, I plan to include more ideas for activities you can do with your children based on the book. I hope that families will use this to help broaden their children’s horizons. I also hope that it will be useful in homeschooling, Sunday Schools, and Vacation Bible Schools.  If you would like to purchase the paper or Ebook version of “Missionary Kid Stories”, click here!

If you have activity ideas that coordinate with the countries or ministries in the book, comment and share! I’d love to know!

Why Do Missionaries Take Furloughs?

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Most missionaries take a “furlough” or “home assignment” from time to time. This refers to a period of time that they are back in their passport country (back “home”, as some say). The reasons for the time away from their ministry can be many. Some people have concerns and wonder, “Why does that missionary really need to come back to the United States so much?” or “Aren’t they wasting a lot of money going back and forth?”

Here are some of the reasons that a missionary might come back to their passport country:

  • Requirement by agency or mission – Most missions or mission agencies have a requirement or recommendation for their missionaries to return to their passport country and take a break from their current ministry from time to time. The amounts of time between these periods vary and the recommendations for activities during the time away are also different.
  • Rest time – Missionaries need rest! Living in a culture that is different from your own is stressful and exhausting…even if you love the country you are in and the people you work with. Just communicating in a different language can take a toll on a missionary’s health and relationships. Reconnecting with family that they have not seen for years is an important component of this for them and their children.
  • Visiting current supporters and churches – Missionaries need to visit the churches and people that support them. People expect updates about the ministry that they are praying for and contributing money to. Visiting people also makes the ministry more real to them and they will think of the missionary more often and remember to pray for them.
  • Raising support – Missionaries need to raise more support. This means that they need to ask more people and churches to send in money to support their ministry. People can contribute monthly, weekly, yearly, or once in a while. Any contributions help the missionary stay on the field. Many missionaries are under-supported and have to return to the US to raise funds.
  • Children’s needs – Some missionaries return for a home assignment due to a need of one or more of their children. This could be a child with special needs like deafness, autism, learning disabilities, etc. Many times it is hard to find specialized services in other countries. Maybe the parents are receiving training so that they can educate their special needs child once they return to their ministry. Missionaries may also return for a period of months to a year to help a child adjust to moving back to the United States for college or university. This period of transition is one of the most difficult for the missionary kid – moving to the US is not moving home, but to a foreign culture. Many MKs struggle to adjust and make poor choices during this time. Having parents near during this period may help ease the transition.
  • Caring for ailing parents – Many missionaries have ailing and elderly parents back “home” in their passport country. When parents struggle with cancer, strokes, and heart attacks, the missionary may need to return to care for them for a period of time.
  • Further training – Receiving training is an important aspect of most jobs, and missions is no different. Missionaries may need to do continuing medical education, maintain currency of their pilot’s license, receive computer training, learn new communication or evangelistic techniques, learn new teaching techniques or maintain a teaching license.

Now, I have to address the elephant in the room…. or in the back of people’s minds. Many people believe that missionaries are on vacation for the time they are in the United States, and some even think “Wow, I wish I could get a break from my job for that long!”. My family encountered several of these people over the years. As you can see from the above list, there are times of rest and recovery, but the majority of the time back “home” is spent working…just in a different capacity than when they are in their host country. Remember that when you see missionaries back in the United States. 😉

How to Bless a Missionary – Love on their Missionary Kid While in the USA (Week #3)

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As a former MK, I can testify that this is one way that you can be a huge blessing to a missionary family. Missionaries have limited budgets, and the money they get is frequently allocated to ministry needs and not so much towards things they want.  Many missionary kids don’t have the same resources as the kids living in the United States.

Here are some practical ways to bless a missionary kid when they are back in the United States:

    • Give them a gift. You can send one through the mail or buy them one when they are back in the United States.
    • Give them some spending money. They probably have a list (or at least a few things) that they’d really like, but can’t afford.
    • Take them out to eat. Listen to them, and get to know them personally.
    • Encourage your kids to include them in parties, youth events, etc.
    • Ask them on a play date if they are young.
    • Offer to attend Sunday School or youth group with them. It is very intimidating to walk into a big group of kids and be the new, “weird” missionary kid. Even if they are back at their “home church”, it won’t be home for them and they will be uncomfortable. If they know you, you can help ease this transition.
    • Sponsor them so they are able to go to a church camp.
    • Host them if their parents are out of the country and they do not have a place to stay.
    • Write a letter of recommendation for them if they are trying to obtain scholarships for college. (This requires for you to know them.)
    • Buy them a gift when they graduate from high school.
    • Throw them a “Going to College” shower. They may only have 1-2 suitcases of clothes to head to college, and the needs may be great. You can help provide sheets, pillows, a desk lamp, fan, school supplies, etc. This can be a surprise or you can ask the family what the MK’s specific needs are. You could even provide a gift card shower so the MK and their parents can go shopping and get what they need.

I was blessed to have people do several of the above things for me. I had a “Going to College” shower that was a huge blessing, both to me and my parents.  My parents wanted to provide for all the things I might need before they left me and drove thousands of miles away, but they did not have the budget for it.  Our local church sponsored a shower for me, and I was able to go to the dorm with all of the basics that I would need for my freshman year.  It was a huge relief!

I also had a few people that gave me money over the years to spend on things I might want or need. One man wrote a letter of recommendation to help me get a scholarship for college.  One sweet lady took me out to lunch (by myself) several times.  Our family knew her, and approved, of course.  It made me feel very special that she would invest time in me!

I hope you have been inspired to think outside the box today! How can you bless a Missionary Kid?  Let me know if you have other ideas!

Four Big Benefits of Being a Missionary Kid (MK)

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There are lots of benefits of being a Missionary Kid (MK), and each MK could probably give you their own opinion of what those benefits are. I could probably come up with a huge list (some funny and some serious).  One day I’ll have to do another blog post with a long list.  For now, I’m going to tell you four big benefits of being an MK.

Traveling

Getting to travel is one advantage to being a missionary kid. If you like to visit different countries, sample different types of food, and see exotic places, this is the life for you!  Some missionaries have to travel for several days to even arrive at the place where they will live.  Some visit different countries due to the type of work they do, and some travel extensively within the country where they serve.

Learning Other Languages

Most MK’s speak, or are learning, at least one other language besides their mother tongue. Some speak 4 or 5 languages.  This will greatly depend on the country where they live and amount of languages they are exposed to.  It will also depend on each kid’s ability to assimilate a new language.  Let’s face it…some people pick up language much more quickly than others.  Kids tend to learn very quickly and can have a native accent.  Sometimes, people may not realize that the MK’s are foreigners because they speak so well in the language of the country where they live.

Meeting New People

This is great if you are an extrovert! Missionaries are constantly meeting new people, whether this is in the country where they work, or back in the United States while traveling to tell about their ministry.  An MK will meet tons of new adults and children and will learn how to establish a connection with new people in a short amount of time.

Adapting to New Situations

MK’s are some of the most resilient people. They spend a lot of time learning to adapt to new situations, and they become very good at it.  They can usually quickly identify how to act in order to fit in, and may be viewed as reserved at first.  This stems from the need to assess a new situation and decide what behavior is expected.

Obviously, there are many more benefits that could be put on a list, but these are some of the main ones. Feel free to comment with your own ideas and opinions.  What are some other benefits?