WMU Blog

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!

Authenticity: Less about What I’m Doing, More about Who I Am in Christ

authenticity explanation

OK, blog readers. It’s confession time.

In a season when I find myself living in one country but longing for the comfort of the one I call home, I have to admit that being authentic in my relationships is hard.

So when I was asked to write a blog post about that exact topic, well . . . you see the dilemma.

In the country I live in, I don’t tell everyone that I’m a cross-cultural worker because, for my safety, not everyone needs to know. Several friends do know more about what I’m doing here and why, but I struggle to share the details of what my life is like even with those friends.

As a result, I tend to open up more to my American friends who understand life here and less to my South Asian friends.

The longer I’ve lived here though, the more I’ve learned about how to be authentic with my South Asian friends who are believers. I bring them into what I’m doing, share my heart about my work, and encourage them to share with their lost friends. I’ve learned that my authenticity is less about what I’m doing and more about who I am in Jesus Christ.

Summer in Mission Friends

Preschool Summer Fun

Put some zest in Mission Friends this summer! Times at church might be more relaxed during the summer, so it’s the perfect time to do something a little different such as going outside for an activity. Keep the energy going in Mission Friends with these ideas to try throughout this summer.

  • Go outside for Group Time. Once a month, or maybe even more, take your preschoolers outside to tell the mission story and have Prayertime. I put a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth down on the ground for my preschoolers to sit on, and this gives them a parameter for our Group Time outside.

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Jesus and Leading Our Children

mother leading child by the hand

This season of life is simple—exhausting, but simple. Between the diaper changes, the newborn feedings, the 2-year-old’s “magical” moments, and finding time to bathe everyone in the house, we have entered a time of basic survival mode.

There are some days when it would be easy to get lost in the sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums, loads of laundry, and singing the ABCs too many times to count and forget who Christ has called me to be in all seasons.

Where is that missionary, the woman who loves to cross cultures, try new things, and share the gospel? Who has time to plan a mission strategy? I can’t even escape my house long enough to meet my neighbors.

I know this season is temporary and motherhood overall brings more opportunities to share Christ than it limits. Yet, even through a temporary season when life and ministry can feel “limited,” it’s good to remember that my calling as a mother is just as important as my calling as a minister and missionary. If anything, the calling of motherhood brings about an important reminder that I am completely in need of Christ’s grace and presence in every moment of my day.

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.

Hot Off the Press! A Resource for All Preschool Teachers!

First Steps in Missions, vol. 24

Wait, what? Is it a resource for Mission Friends?

Definitely! And it’s also for other preschool teachers! It’s called First Steps in Missions, and the 2018–19 edition, volume 24, has just been released.

Perhaps you already know that each year we publish this supplementary book of activities to go along with the 12 missions areas that will be found in Mission Friends Leader teaching guide. Or maybe you don’t know about it—sometimes we feel like it should win the prize for Most Valuable Best Kept Secret in Mission Friends!

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.

The Best-Laid Plans

to-do list with cup of coffee and muffin

God has a plan and a purpose for each of His followers. We each have a mission while here on earth. In Acts 20:24, Paul said, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” We are to tell others the good news about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And God puts people in our path every day.

I had a plan for my flight home from Russia after a vision trip to gather information for the International Mission Study 2017 on Central Asian Muslims living in Russia. I was going to get a lot of work done on the longer second leg of my flight. I had speaking engagements to prepare for, cards to write, emails to read and respond to, etc. But God had other plans.

Experience Joy beyond the Surface

flower petal on water's surface

As a college student, I find that my life is characterized by a constant whirlwind of activity. Moving through my day, I am always surrounded by friends, classmates, and professors. But I rarely take the time to get to know these people beyond the surface level. In fact, I could probably recite most conversations I have as if I were reading off a script.

The way the Bible talks about relationships, though, is vastly different from the reality I so often experience. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being in relationship with others should make everyone stronger and draw everyone involved closer to God. How can we begin cultivating these iron-sharpening-iron relationships?

Start with honesty. When someone asks how you are, it is OK to admit that you are stressed out, scared, or overwhelmed. Moving past surface-level responses, even to basic questions, breaks down the shiny façade we often present to others. This step is so vital to forming authentic relationships that build up one another in Christ.

Meet the Martins in Las Vegas

Cynthia, Alicia, Tom Martin

In 2006, Tom and Cynthia Martin faced a difficult decision. They had been serving as International Mission Board missionaries in South America for 17 years, but needed to return to the United States because of medical issues. Cynthia says it was an intensely emotional time, and she grieved that she would no longer be on the front lines of cross-cultural ministry. “But God promised me that He wasn’t through with me,” says Cynthia.

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