Reflections on what I’ve learned this month in GA (and Mission Friends and RA)

A few weeks ago, our Mission Friends leaders asked if I'd like to partner together to make s'mores as we studied about Barry and Amy Rager and their ministry in Indianapolis. Questions that crossed my mind included: Who wouldn't want to make s'mores? and Why can't we do this every week?

Our partnership worked this way: Sandy and Hannah provided all of the ingredients (chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers) and a craft activity, and I provided the mission story and oversight for the kitchen time.

On the other side of our evening together, our kids had a blast as they learned that missionaries invite people over to eat s'mores and talk about Jesus. Then, the kids raced around the gym like race cars with their paper plate steering wheels to run off all that sugar. Beautiful, if you ask me.

First lesson learned: Partnering with our Mission Friends once in a while is a great way to change things up, divide responsibilities, and encourage young GAs to be helpers and leaders.

Now, fast forward to that evening at home.

My 9-year-old son Landon, after learning that I'd taken the GAs and Mission Friends to the kitchen, loudly declared that it isn't fair that the RAs never get to make anything in the kitchen. "Mom is ALWAYS taking the GAs to the kitchen. Why doesn't Dad EVER take the guys???" (I don't know where he gets all of his dramatic talent.) I questioned our RA leader (my sweet husband) about his ability to take the boys to the kitchen and was quickly told that if the boys wanted to go to the kitchen, our RA leaders would make great assistants to the GA leader in charge of the kitchen activity. The 9-year-old pounced on the idea, of course.

So, last night, I welcomed the RAs and their leaders to the church kitchen.

When 12 boys and 2 RA leaders filed in, I'll admit, I did question what I was thinking when I told our son I'd love to take the RAs to the kitchen. But none of the horror stories or nightmare-time pictures that are probably coming to your mind happened. And, I'm happy to report that the boys were great in the kitchen. They listened, had good discussion, and loved eating their microwaved s'mores. They even held each other accountable for cleaning up after themselves. I was so impressed with them that I offered to bring them back again sometime to make English muffin pizzas.

Did I get to tell a mission story? Absolutely. Did they listen? Yes. Did we all eat a s'more (or two)? Most definitely. Will we all remember this experience? I sure hope so.

Second lesson learned: Boys like to go to the kitchen and create a snack just as much as my girls do.

In my family, the word "fair" is one of those words that holds little meaning. We've realized that "fairness" is subjective, and we try to replace that idea with a discussion of what someone needs. To Landon's point, the RAs did need to go to the kitchen and microwave s'mores just to know that someone else in our church (besides their leaders) finds them valuable, wants to spend time with them, and will invest in them.

In all honesty, our 2 RA leaders could have easily taken their boys to the kitchen and made s'mores with them. They are rock star leaders in their own rights and don't need my assistance. I’m thankful they allowed me to be part of the fun, and I'm always happy to hang out with the RAs, tell stories, and indulge in a delicious snack along the way.

Third lesson learned: On a cold, rainy night in January, microwaved s'mores are an amazing way to share a mission story with kids.


Heather Keller is the Girls in Action and Children in Action consultant at WMU. She and her husband, Tommy, love children's missions discipleship and look forward to leading GA and RA each week. They are raising two boys in Birmingham, Alabama.


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