Royal Ambassadors

Reflections on Time Well Spent

This month, several of our staff members traveled to the WMU Annual Meeting and Southern Baptist Convention held in Dallas, Texas. For months before the event, we’ve planned, created, imagined, written, put items together, and taken them apart to be packed. We built a hut and pushcart, learned to play mancala, wrote speeches, coordinated missionary speakers, and designed conferences. We’ve made reservations, determined schedules, planned meals, tweaked those schedules, and planned events. We’ve counted supplies and tried to run through every possible scenario imaginable to make sure we are more than prepared.

With all of that preparation, you’d think I was ready for anything. I do have to confess I was not prepared for how a handful of little girls made me feel Monday at the WMU booth on the exhibit floor of the Southern Baptist Convention.

New Products Hot Off the Press!

We're always excited at the national WMU office when June 1 rolls around each year. Can you guess why? It's not because it feels like the start of summer (although it does). It's not because June is our favorite month (although I'm sure it is for some of us). It's not because it's peak wedding season or even time for Annual Meeting (though both of those are pretty exciting). No, it's because we get to introduce you to our new products! After months of hard work getting our new products just right, we're ready to release them for you to enjoy.

Let me introduce some new children's products I think you’ll be excited about.

When you're ready to start planning for the coming year in missions:

A GA Leader Goes to Burkina Faso

“You are going where?” I heard that question again and again as I told my friends of my next exciting missions adventure with God — going to Burkina Faso to help begin missions education for children. Preparation for this trip recalled one of my earliest mission studies as a new GA leader — missions in Upper Volta. I remembered my group of GAs making paper replica maps of the butterfly-shaped country and learning to spell and pronounce the name of the capital.

“Can you say Ouagadougou?” French is the official language of Burkina Faso, although this country’s heritage is primarily Mossi with the Mooré language widely spoken. With a low literacy rate for those over age 15, the challenges before me were for much more than the pronunciation of Ouagadougou [oh-WAH-gah-DOO-goo]. How would I help women understand the need for missions education and discipleship and equip them to begin?

Making Bible Stories Stick

There is a beloved storyteller in my community. In fact, she’s very well-known throughout the state, the Southeast and probably the entire United States. She has a following of people who faithfully gather to hear her tales, and this past spring I was able to attend one of her storytelling events for the first time. I was amazed at the ease with which she captivates listeners with her descriptive words, luscious alliterations and dramatic flair — all the while creating beautiful pictures in everyone’s minds. From her very first sentence, she hooks her audience and holds them mesmerized till the very end. How can an hour or even more go by so quickly? You become so enthralled in her story that you don’t want it to end . . . at least not yet!

Getting to Know Children in Action

The Children in Action Guide for Leaders describes CA this way: “Children in Action is an exciting and fun-filled coed missions education organization for boys and girls in grades 1–6. . . . In CA, children learn about the world, pray for the world, and learn how they can be used to tell others about God’s Son, Jesus.”

But CA is far more than just words found in a guide!

CA is a time for girls and boys to explore the world around them, both near and far, in North America and globally. CA is a time for children to expand their worldviews beyond their churches or neighborhoods or schools. CA is a time for children to learn that not only is God is at work around the world but that He has called children to discover their place in His calling.

Summer Break Missions Projects for Kids

Ah, summer. I long for the school days of the past when I was guaranteed a summer break. There’s just no comparison between the promise of a no-strings-attached break and using vacation hours to take off work for a week (at the most). Kids have it made, am I right? But the idea of a long summer break from school brings about the mindset that everything else takes a break, too. Visions of pool days and sunrays dance in their heads. Vacations move ever closer, and homework is nowhere to be found.

Amid all the summer excitement, sometimes kids (and even adults) forget that the Great Commission doesn’t take a break. People need to hear about the love of Jesus year-round. With no school to worry about for the time being, kids have even more opportunities to stay on mission. Summer actually lends itself to more fun-filled missions projects that can incorporate everything they’ve been looking forward to doing during the break.

Getting to Know Las Vegas

During May, GAs, RAs and CAs will learn about what God is doing in Las Vegas, Nevada, through Cynthia and Tom Martin, who work with refugees in their city.

Las Vegas is an interesting city! Here are some facts about the city:

Summer Sun, Family Fun: How to Be a Family on Mission This Summer

Summer is imminent — and so are opportunities for your family to serve others and share the love of Jesus together! Whether you can’t wait for the sun, heat and beach-weather clothing or you’re just biding your time until it cools off again (me), summer is too important to waste. With most schools on break until the fall, your kids are probably ripe with excitement to be out of the classroom for an extended amount of time. Rather than let your family fall prey to the apathy of sitting around your house, brainstorm together to decide on a missions project (or projects) that fits your family’s interests and strengths while sharing the love of Jesus with those who desperately need to know Him.

A little inspiration goes a long way. If your family brainstorming session needs a little kick-start, here are some fresh ideas to help your thoughts flow:

Camping: It's Intense! (Get it? In-Tents?)

School is almost out for the summer, and you know what that means: it’s vacation time, y’all! All year long we eagerly await the summer, and when it finally arrives all seems right with the world. Maybe you’re already making plans, or (if you’re like me) maybe you’re ready for the summer breeze to blow you where it will! No matter what your summertime planning inclinations may be, make sure you make a little room for children’s missions camp.

Camp is such an important time in a child’s life. I can still remember many of the lessons I learned years ago at camp. One of my memories involves a fire-building competition mishap resulting in the loss of my singed eyebrows.

The other memory I hold close even to this day is one of a missionary who was involved in a terrible car accident on the field. He had learned how to walk and talk again after many months of grueling physical therapy. But when he did stand and speak at camp, he spoke about the cost of living as an ambassador for Christ. Costly, yes, but completely worth every minute of struggle.

Are You Doing Ministry or Missions?

Is there really a difference? Yes. Over the years, I have heard many leaders tell me they were actively involved in missions. But when I dug a little deeper, it seemed they were actually doing ministry.

Okay, stay with me because this is when it gets a little Charlie and the Chocolate Factory crazy: you can be a missions group without doing missions, and you can be a ministry group and do more missions than a missions group, or vice versa.

Did you get that? It’s true. Ministry and missions can be 2 different things, and the way to tell the difference is to look at whom you are focusing on. Ministry typically happens within the church walls and to a body of believers, whereas missions happen outside the walls of the church and to those who have not responded to the gospel. See the difference?

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