Christmas in August

Praying for Christmas in August Missionaries

Christmas in August package

Christmas in August is a wonderful way to involve preschoolers in supporting missions by giving ministry supplies requested from a North American missionary. This is also a great opportunity to support Christmas in August missionaries through prayer. As your Mission Friends® collect the items needed, lead them in praying for the missionary and the ministries in which the items will be used.

Christmas in August gifts create 'pathway to sharing the gospel'

Kathy Parsons with daily delivery of items from donated through Christmas in August

Do you ever wonder if Christmas in August matters to missionaries and church planters? Just ask David and Kathy Parsons who serve as missionaries through the North American Mission Board in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They were recipients of Christmas in August gifts in 2016.

“The Christmas in August items sent to us expanded our vision and gave us resources we did not have,” David shared. “This program caused us to humbly stop and see how God works and that He has used others across America to provide for our needs.” 

For 90 years, members of WMU missions organizations such as GA, RA, and Acteens have purchased and sent items to NAMB missionaries to help advance their outreach efforts.

David and Kathy provided WMU with a list of items they needed and soon received 20 to 30 boxes a day, with around 500 boxes received in total.

“We received the boxes on our front porch and I would bring them into the living room to stage for delivery,” he reflected.

Planning for Christmas in August

Christmas in August

How do you involve your Mission Friends® in Christmas in August®? This annual campaign gives you a unique opportunity to inspire your preschoolers and their families to join in giving to and praying for missionaries. Through their Christmas in August gifts, preschoolers experience the joy of partnering with missionaries who are sharing God’s love through North America.

Take these steps now to begin planning for Christmas in August at your church:

Choose a Missionary

Begin planning for Christmas in August with prayer. Ask the Lord to guide you in choosing the missionary your Missions Friends will support. After you pray, take the following steps:

  • Read through the list of Christmas in August missionaries on pages 44 and 45 in Summer 2017 Mission Friends Leader, or review the list online.

Christmas in August

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Christmas in July” before. Radio stations play Christmas music while you drive down the road in the blistering July heat, and retail stores display Christmas shirts next to the shorts and swimsuits.

But have you ever heard of Christmas in August? Christmas in August focuses on spreading the joy of our Savior’s birth long after the Nativity scenes have been boxed up and the Christmas carols have quieted. Christmas in August is an opportunity for your missions group to give back to the North American missionaries serving God’s kingdom.

A missionary serving in St. George, Utah, was overwhelmed by the support shown during Christmas in August. He said, “The supplies and gift cards you sent have made a tremendous difference for us as we seek to minister in our town.” His church received well over 200 boxes from 17 states.

Your church’s missions groups, along with the entire congregation, can support missionaries during Christmas in August 2016. The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few ideas:

Dashing Through the Snow . . .

July seems like a strange time to be singing “Dashing through the snow . . . ” Most of us don’t sing Christmas carols this time of the year. If we sing, we’re singing vacation tunes or beach songs as we travel down a busy highway with our family.

Yet, a very important emphasis is coming later this summer, and missions leaders need to be gearing up now for it. The annual emphasis that is coming is called Christmas in August. Christmas in August is a time for boys and girls—and entire churches—to focus on the needs of missionaries serving in North America. Since 1927, Southern Baptist children have been collecting items for missionaries to use in their ministry. At first, those gifts went to missionaries serving in China. Now, the gifts are used in North America.

Christmas in August: Instructions

Things to remember:

  • Pray. Begin with a time of prayer for your Christmas in August missionary.
  • Choose. Pick which missionary (or missionaries) you will gather supplies for.
  • Promote. Tell everyone about the project. Give out a list of the items. Tell when and where to leave the gifts.
  • Gather. Send the missionaries only those items specified on their list. Send new items only. You don’t have to include everything that is on the list because other churches will take part, too.
  • Pack. Gather the items your group collects and pack them up to be shipped. Consider placing items that could leak inside plastic sealable bags. Do not wrap the items.
  • Organize. Label the outside of the package with the names of items inside. This will help missionaries sort through packages more quickly.
  • Prepare. Address your package to the missionary at the address listed. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for the missionary to acknowledge receipt of your gifts.

Historia de Navidad en Agosto

En 1927, Elizabeth Ellyson Wiley habló en la First Baptist Church de Charlottesville, Virginia, durante su estadía en Estados Unidos. Ella y su esposo servían en la Universidad de Shanghái en China. Habló de su deseo de testificar a las siervas analfabetas de la comunidad universitaria. Mencionó a los niños y cuánto quería que ellos conocieran el gozo de la Navidad. La señora Via, directora de Rayitos de Sol (Sunbeams, organización misionera para niños menores), preguntó si los niños podrían enviarles regalos. Ese año había 100 regalos. Se decoró un árbol de Navidad en la capilla de la universidad, y hubo entretenimiento navideño para las siervas y sus hijos.

Había 400 madres e hijos, así que la señora Wiley escribió a otros amigos en Virginia, informándoles del proyecto. Eventualmente la WMU de Virginia adoptó el proyecto para los Sunbeams. Se enviaron los regalos a la oficina en Richmond y de allí fueron a China.

Para que los regalos llegaran para la Navidad, tuvieron que enviarse en el verano.

Thank You!

Christmas in August

Do you ever wonder how your Christmas in August gifts are received and what happens after you send them? Be encouraged today by this thank-you message from Arlene Miller of Impact Ministry in Hopkinsville, Kentucky:

"Thank you for allowing Impact Ministry to be included on the Mission Friends [Christmas in August] list of ministries to get donations. It has been such a blessing to get boxes and letters. Many of the boxes contained pictures and items that the children had made. Most of them had a note saying they had prayed for us. Some local churches brought their children to visit and deliver their donations.

"We received gifts from 17 different states and 130 different churches. Some sent 1 package while others sent as many as 7 boxes.

"We know that the prayers of all of those collecting and packing the boxes were heard and His Holy Spirit touched hearts and people were saved. Several people gave their heart to Jesus these past few months as they met with our spiritual counselors the day they came for assistance.

A Christmas in August Story

This summer, I met a NAMB/state missionary while I was at a missions camp in South Carolina. After introductions, I asked about his ministry on the college campus where he and his family work. He shared with me his passion for reaching the nations through the international students on the college campus, but the conversation quickly changed when he realized I worked for WMU. He wanted to share his Christmas in August testimony.

He and his family were Christmas in August recipients several years ago. As NAMB missionaries, their ministry was chosen as one that could be supported by WMU members around the country through the Christmas in August initiative.

His face lit up as he told me about being overwhelmed with gifts and notes of encouragement. We laughed when he shared that they had trouble deciding where to store the gifts. They were sent so many gifts that they are still using some of the supplies! They are amazed when they receive a card or note in the mail from the churches that sent material support and are still sending encouragement through continued prayer—years after being chosen as a Christmas in August missionary.

Packaged with Love

In an earlier blog last spring, I described how my church does missions during the summer. We take a break from traditional children’s missions programming to better accommodate summer schedules. Now, that’s not to say we take a break from doing missions. Oh, no—not at all! This summer has been packed full of engaging, hands-on missions opportunities for children of all ages!

It’s been a fun summer for everyone, but now all area school systems are back in session. As school teachers have been getting ready to welcome students back to school, my church’s missions leaders have been busy, too, getting ready to welcome returning and new children back to missions!

This past Wednesday night we kicked off a new year in missions with a Christmas in August party. Each missions group was assigned a different Christmas in August missionary and asked to bring items from their list. Rooms were decorated with Christmas trees, wreaths, and lights. Christmas music played in the halls as children gathered in their missions meeting spaces.

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