Read Part 1 - Brothers, Pray for Us
Has your Sunday school class decided to support missionary kids from your church who are in the same grade? Here are some practical tips for connecting with and supporting your church’s missionaries.
Whether you break out pens and paper, or become virtual pen pals, help the students in you class build relationships with the missionary kids through writing notes.
- If you have extra time in class, write a note to or color pictures for your missionary kids. Ask them questions about what life is like where they live and let the students in your class introduce themselves. You can always scan or take a picture of their notes and email them for quick delivery.
- Recognize special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, Easter or the end of the school year. If you are mailing a card, remember to send it early because mail can often take a long time to reach some countries.
- Send a care package. Mail can be a challenge to get to some countries, but it is so fun for missionary kids to get a care package with a fun gift or things they miss from home. If there is a short term missions trip going to visit your missionary family, see if they have space to take a small package. Talk to the missionary kids’ parents, family or support team to find out what they like and would appreciate such as a games, crafts, school supplies, books or candy. If sending items is not an option, missionary kids can have fun getting an iTunes or Amazon gift card for new worship music or to watch a movie.
- Share a photo of your class or small group and ask if your missionary kids can share photos of where they live and their everyday life.
- Have your class record a video greeting for your missionary kids.
When given a blank piece of paper and asked to write (or color) to someone they do not know, children often do not know what to do. But, if you give them some simple prompts, they will have a lot of fun.
- Coloring Pictures: For young children, provide pictures they can color or complete together as a small group. A fun option for missionary kids in sensitive countries who can not get a picture of a manger scene for Christmas, is to provide a snow scene with the basic outline of a snowman and trees. Then encourage children to work together to add like a face, scarf, buttons and snowflake stickers in the sky.
- Get to Know You Questions: What is your name? Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you have any pets? Do you play a sport or musical instrument? What is the weather like where you live? What do you enjoy doing for fun? What is your favorite food? Where do you go to school? What are you thankful for? Have you visited any other countries? What countries would you like to visit? What makes you happy? What do you want to be when you grow up.
- Faith Questions: What is your favorite verse? What is your favorite Bible story and why? What evidences of God’s grace have you seen in your life? How have you seen God’s glory in nature this week? What have your learned in Sunday school (favorite attribute of God, promise of God, name of God, etc.). What has God been teaching you in your devotions?
Learn About Their Country
To help you better understand what life is like for your missionary kids as well as who they are ministering to, it can be very helpful to spend some time learning about the country they live in. You can ask a small group to research and put together a short report on the country; read short missionary stories or biographies; invite someone who has visited or lived in the country to come and talk; or ask your missionary kids questions about their life. Read this post for some recommended books and resources.
Support Their Ministry
Another important aspect of supporting missionary families is financially. Help teach children about the importance of being cheerful givers and help them experience the joy of partnering with a ministry. Set a goal of how much money you want to raise depending on the age of your children and the size of your class. You may want to encourage kids to do some extra odd jobs at home so you can raise 10 dollars as a class. Or, you class may want to host a fundraiser to buy items that will help the the missionary family’s ministry such as Bibles, school supplies, clean water or goats.
Welcome Missionaries Home on Furlough
It is so exciting when our missionary families return on furlough and our church has the chance to bless and encourage them in person as well as hear about their ministry in person.
- Welcome your missionary kid to your class!
- Help host a welcome home party or open house to welcome them and help your missionary kid get to know your class.
- Ask the missionary family to visit your class and give a short presentation about their ministry.
- Put together a care package for your missionary kid with some toys or activities they can do while they are stateside.
- Continue to pray for them as they travel and adjust to life in a temporary place.