Mission Friends

Dollar-Store Supplies

How often do you personally purchase supplies for your Mission Friends class? Most teachers purchase supplies out of their own pockets at least once a month, if not more frequently. Armed with a little creativity, you can find a number of reusable supplies at your local dollar store. Here are a few ideas for dollar-store items that I use with my own preschoolers:

Chip-and-dip trays: Sort objects in the compartments. Use to organize art/craft supplies.

Clothespins: Use to pick up and move different objects; or pin cotton balls, bath poofs, or textured fabrics to create painting tools.

Colanders: Create rain with water in sensory bin; or lead younger preschoolers to thread chenille stems through the holes.

Cookie cooling racks: Weave ribbon, crepe paper, chenille stems, and even nature objects through the wires; stack for sorting activities.

Craft sticks: Put hook-and-loop dots on the ends and connect to make shapes, letters, or numbers.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

I noticed a few weeks ago in Mission Friends that he started calling his grandfather “Daddy.” For circumstances far beyond his control, C is being raised by his grandparents. They faithfully bring him to Mission Friends every week, and he has always called his grandparents Mawmaw and Pawpaw. When we talk about mommys and daddys in Mission Friends, we try to refer to Mawmaw and Pawpaw also. A red flag went up in my mind when I heard C calling him Daddy. I imagine there is some confusion on his part when he knows that other preschoolers have a mommy and daddy.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren. According to the US Census Bureau, “In 1970, about 3 percent of children lived in grandparent-maintained households; about twice that many (6 percent) lived in grandparent-maintained households in 2012.”1 In some of these homes the parents are also present, but in many the grandparents have sole responsibility for the care of their grandchildren.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren.

Are You Willing to Go the Distance?

Coats Family

“Jesus can do more in a moment than we can do in an entire lifetime, but we have to give Him those moments. We have to make up in our minds that despite the long road ahead, we’re going to travel that distance because it means getting to Jesus in the end.” —Patrick Coats

Throughout the month of January, we are learning how Patrick and Archalena Coats have been willing to go the distance for the Lord in answering His call to plant a church in Miami. The Preschool Resource Team at National WMU thanks you, Mission Friends leaders, for being willing to go the distance for the Lord in answering His call to teach the youngest among us about carrying His gospel to the nations.

We pray that this devotion, written by Mr. Coats will both challenge you and encourage you to go the distance as we begin a new year.

The Coats family is willing to go the distance for Jesus Christ.

Wrap-Around Care

Wrap-around care. I was struck by this phrase that was new to me. I learned of the phrase in the article, “Contagious Love for One More Child,” 1 in Sharing, the newsletter for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. The article focused on a church whose members have become invested in caring for vulnerable children by becoming foster families, adoptive families, or wrap-around families. The article speaks of wrap-around care as offering resources or support to adoptive and foster parents. Wrap-around care is a way of showing these families they are not alone by giving them encouragement and assistance in various ways.

As a Mission Friends teacher, you may have families in your church who are foster parents or adoptive families. Though not all children in foster or adoptive care have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), all of these children have gone through some type of trauma. I like the idea of giving wrap-around care to these foster and adoptive families so they can concentrate on providing for the emotional and physical needs of the child.

What are some ways of providing wrap-around care to these families?

Wrap-Around Care

Wrap-around care. I was struck by this phrase that was new to me. I learned of the phrase in the article, “Contagious Love for One More Child,” 1 in Sharing, the newsletter for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. The article focused on a church whose members have become invested in caring for vulnerable children by becoming foster families, adoptive families, or wrap-around families. The article speaks of wrap-around care as offering resources or support to adoptive and foster parents. Wrap-around care is a way of showing these families they are not alone by giving them encouragement and assistance in various ways.

As a Mission Friends teacher, you may have families in your church who are foster parents or adoptive families. Though not all children in foster or adoptive care have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), all of these children have gone through some type of trauma. I like the idea of giving wrap-around care to these foster and adoptive families so they can concentrate on providing for the emotional and physical needs of the child.

What are some ways of providing wrap-around care to these families?

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Learning, Praying, Giving, Going

Do you know all the different ways that the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering helps missionaries? Below are just a few of the ways that the Christmas offering has helped Jacob and Robin Talley as they serve in Indonesia:

Learning from a Preschooler

Preschoolers always teach me a lot, but this was particularly true last week as a preschooler taught me about Indonesia. Each year during the first week of December, national WMU has a program and open house to observe the Week of Prayer for International Missions. People from many surrounding churches come to sing Christmas carols together, meet retired and stateside missionaries, pray for missions, and sip a cup of hot apple cider. Sometimes we might Skype a missionary or show a video of a missionary, but this year we were blessed to have special workers who serve in Indonesia as speakers at our Week of Prayer program. They are on stateside assignment and will return to Indonesia soon.

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Mission Friends and the Holidays

So, what does your December schedule look like? If you are like most Mission Friends leaders, you are probably looking at a church calendar with at least two fewer Mission Friends sessions than usual. There are many ways to get creative in completing your Mission Friends unit and the International Mission Study in the month of December.

Reaping a Harvest

Aylett Family

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9 NIV1)

This is a favorite verse for Jeremy Aylett. Mr. Aylett shares, “Any time you step out in faith and obedience to Jesus, there is always adversity and difficulty. What’s important is that we remember growth takes time and we shouldn’t grow weary in doing good. As long as we do what is God-honoring and good, there will be a harvest. We must pursue wisdom, skill, and feedback from others, but we trust God to bring the growth in His time!”

Indeed, the Ayletts stay very busy and have much work to complete. San Diego is an incredibly beautiful and temperate city. People who live there enjoy a vast array of recreational opportunities. With almost 70 miles of beaches, theme parks, and attractions like the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld, this city offers virtually unending sources of play and creativity. Jeremy Aylett explains that while these activities are enjoyable, they are also distractions to spiritual thought and conversations.

Are They Real?

As I showed the picture of the Aylett family to my Mission Friends, Conner looked at the picture and asked, “Are they real?” I assured him that yes, the missionaries are real. We then talked about the Ayletts living in San Diego, and that there are people there who have never heard about Jesus.

Later I was still thinking about his question, “Are they real?” It seemed odd to me at the time because the picture is a photo, so it is obvious to me that these are real people. But at Conner’s four years, he still has difficulty discerning what is real and what is not real. In today’s world of photo editing programs, even photos can be manipulated so that what is not real appears to be real. As we think about preschoolers and their development, we know that preschoolers have difficulty discerning fantasy from reality. They have difficulty telling the difference between what is real and imaginary.

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