Just that one word says so much. They leave family and friends and comforts behind. They move on to uncharted territory. They sacrifice time, money, energy, personal comforts and even personal well-being sometimes. They do all this for Jesus – to spread the Good News of His Gospel throughout this world.
I want to teach my children about all of those things. I want them to be missions-minded. I want them to care about other people – close by and far away
As I have been gathering my materials and laying out my lesson plans for the next year, I was searching high and low for some type of missions unit study program or website of ideas for such a study.
A Fabulous Resource
I finally came across the following website and was blown away by what I found. This is definitely one of the best missions websites I have seen in my wanderings across the internet to find missions information.
The website is called Harvest Ministry and I’ll let an excerpt from their own website describe them:
Harvest Ministry is an international Christian missions outreach, founded in 1987 by Jon and Ann Dunagan of Hood River, Oregon — focused on proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through: International Outreaches, National Evangelism Team Support (NETS), Orphan Ministry, and motivating Christians for God’s Great Commission through Mission-Minded LIFE.
My favorite resource is a book called “Teaching With God’s Heart For The World” by Ann Dunagan. The entire book, two volumes for a total of 500+ pages, is available to download for free on the website!
Isn’t that wonderful? The fact that this amazing resource is completely free tells me that these guys are practicing what they preach – they really want to help others become more missions minded and are giving them the resources to do so. I cannot wait to dig into these lesson plans and start telling my kids the stories of missionaries and other countries around the world using this book.
Here are some of the other resources I found that I plan on incorporating into our studies:
- Time For Kids – Maybe my other favorite resource, this website has an extensive list of countries they have made resources for. There is a fact file and a “quiz” that accompanies it, a sightseeing tour where you can see a colorful map of the country and click on certain areas to see a photo from that area of the country, a historical timeline for the country, audio files that introduce you to the language of the area, and a teacher’s guide which helps you extend the lessons. (The resources for each country may differ a little, but they definitely have plenty to keep you busy.)
- Shirleys Preschool Activities – This is primarily a list of books to read to your children about different countries. There are two themes given as well, one for China and one for South Africa.
- Wycliffe – The Sleeping Coconuts lesson plan is wonderful for bringing children face-to-face with what missionaries really go through.
- Kids of Courage – colorful ebooks that include maps of the country and its neighbors, facts about the country, and lots of stories with accompaning activities with lots of full color photos throughout.
- Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – each black and white packet is for a different country and includes maps, vocabulary words, missionary stories, websites about the country, suggested books to read, teaches about the people, their land and climate, and so much more!
What I Plan To Do
There are specific things that I want my kids to learn about each country. I plan to start with missionaries that my church supports, beginning with at least one missionary in the United States. They HAVE to know that they are standing on a mission field! Not everyone can go to a totally different country to spread the Good News, but everyone CAN spread the Good News! I’ll probably spend about a month on each country so that I have enough time to cover the many areas – 12 in a year doesn’t seem like much compared to how many countries there are on this planet, but its a good start.
Here’s a list of some things I plan to teach them and activities we plan to complete:
- Basic facts about the country
- Country flag
- Location of the country on the map and its neighbors – what is the weather like there, compare it with where we live
- What the people are like – what they do for work, how they live, what they look like
- Food – I’d like to try to make one native dish each month, but we’ll at least learn about the types of food
- Hear the native language(s) – there are lots of places on the web to hear just a snipet of many languages
- Read a missionary story from that country, either historical or current.
- Read the most recent prayer letter from our missionary
- Write to the missionary family weekly while we are studying the country
- Add each missionary and their children to our birthday list and send out cards regularly
- Daily prayer time for the country and the missionaries that are there
I would like to have a world map up in our homeschool room and put a marker on each area that we study and maybe a photo of each missionary family.
A lapbook would be the perfect place to culminate all of these facts and lessons so that the kids never forget what they learned!
Each and every year that I have homeschooled my kids, I have wanted to teach them about missions and just never have gotten around to it. This year, I am purposing for things to be different! I am writing out all the plans, making the copies and print outs for the whole year and writing the plans so that nothing can get in the way of actually doing it this year.
Have you had some great ideas for teaching your children about missions? Share them here!
Do you know of some other great resources? Please put them in the comment section!
Did you do a fabulous missions-based lesson with your kids that they still remember? Tell us about your experience!
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(This article was originally published in the Thirsty Thursday link party with Joy at FiveJs!)