WMU Blog

Meet the Writer: Janora Skeens

Janora Skeens

In our ongoing "Meet the Writer" series, we would like to introduce you to Janora Skeens. Janora has written for Mission Friends for many years. This year, she has written the International Mission Study 2017 Preschool Teaching Guide: Russia. Thank you, Janora, for sharing your heart for preschoolers with us!

Follow Their Example: Christian Workers Share Jesus with Muslims in Russia

I was spending the day with my grandmother not too long ago when she caught me with my nose in a book. She asked if I was reading for work or for pleasure. This particular book didn’t really qualify for either so I told her that I was reading it for my personal edification. She didn’t seem surprised. She knew that just like her, I love to read and learn new things. That’s why I so enjoy editing Missions Traveler, the International Mission Study magazine for adults and students, each year.

The mission study presents an opportunity to delve deep and learn the facts about and culture of a country, city, or people group. It also provides inspiration to pray for the featured Christian workers and their people group, give to support their work, and follow their example in reaching the lost wherever you are.

3 Things Taking Our Toddler Overseas Taught Me about Missions

Teaching the gospel has no age barrier. We as Christ followers are commanded to make disciples of all nations—to live life with people in a way that encourages another Christ follower. When we first thought about taking our almost 2-year-old daughter overseas, we got all the questions: “Why are you taking her? She won’t remember it.” “Aren’t you afraid of something happening to her while you’re there?”

Then, we took her overseas. And it vastly expanded my idea of what reaching the nations is about. I learned 3 things about missions from taking my toddler overseas:

18 Thanksgivings and Counting

I carry the images of November 25, 1999, in my heart. Our court date was May 25 earlier in the same year. I recall the date well because it was my 35th birthday. When panic started to rise in my chest, I would remind myself that my name was on the missionary prayer calendar. Southern Baptists around the globe would be praying for me and my family. I still remember overwhelming feelings of relief when the judge brought down his gavel and rendered the verdict. However, the decision would not be final until November 25, Thanksgiving Day.

Family traveled to east Tennessee for our traditional Thanksgiving gathering. Every reunion is unique and filled with wonderful reasons to celebrate shared experiences. Back then roosters at the homestead would herald the day long before sunrise. On that occasion, I did not mind. It seemed they wanted to launch the festivities. As roosters began crowing, I felt the profound significance of the day.

Using Bible Thoughts with Preschoolers

Bible and Bible-thought puzzles

Preschoolers grow toward God as they come to understand Bible thoughts that are used throughout the month. As they understand the meaning of Bible thoughts, they grow spiritually as the missions concepts become a part of their lives. Today we wanted to share with you several different ways of using Bible thoughts with your preschoolers.

Raising Thankful Children

Growing up, most of us were taught to be thankful for what we had. For many of us, saying “thank you” was just as important as saying “excuse me” or “yes, ma’am.” If you grew up in the South, that was especially true for you! But beyond saying the words themselves, how do we teach our children to be truly thankful people? It starts by modeling real thankfulness.

Giving thanks before a meal is a great place to begin. After your prayer, explain everything that had to come together to make that meal happen. Talk about the plants and animals grown and harvested, the packing and shipping processes that delivered these goods to the store, the store clerks and workers who received it and put it out on display, the resources you needed to purchase the food, and all the time and effort to make the meal and set it out for them to enjoy. Maybe you could say something like, “When we thank God for our food, we remember all that had to happen to bring it to our table.”

Pray for the Harvest

I’ve got a question for you. When you read the following verse, what do you feel?

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Matt. 9:37–38).

Do you feel urgency? Do you feel responsibility? Do you feel the need to pray, pray, and pray some more?

If your answer to these questions is yes, that’s great! If your answer is no, we have a little work to do. I think I fall somewhere in between.

There’s been a theme in my life lately of God telling me to pray more. I don’t spend enough time in prayer, and when I do, it’s too often self-centered, even if that’s not my intention. What I really need to double-down on is praying for the lost. Sure, it’s easy to pray for things I’m worried about; it’s a little less but still important to me to pray for other people’s worries and fears. But how often do I think to pray for the lost? Specifically, how often do I pray for someone I personally know who is lost?

From College Campus to Church Planters

Brian Frye, collegiate ministries missionary

Seventeen years ago, Brian and Heidi Frye were married, after meeting in college through the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Oklahoma State University. After earning their degrees from Oklahoma State, they moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Heidi earned a Masters of Art in Christian Education (Women’s Ministry Focus), and Brian earned a M.Div. in Theology and Ph.D. in Evangelism and Church Growth.

In December 2006, Brian and Heidi, with their 3 sons, moved to Toledo, Ohio, to start collegiate ministries at Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo. Two years later, they moved to Delaware, Ohio, where they still reside and are actively engaged in Lifepoint Church. “Our family’s favorite verse, and core verse, is Colossians 3:2, ‘Set your minds on things above and not on earthly things.’ As a family, we seek to live in such a way that we live, love and show the gospel in order that we can see others come to know Christ and spend eternity with Him,” shares Brian.

Tips for Keeping Older Kids Engaged in Missions Education

As you have probably noticed, kids have short attention spans. Often, a large dose of creativity is required to keep their attention for even a few minutes at a time.

A practical way to keep older kids engaged in missions education is by varying presentation methods. This takes time and preparation. As the missions leader, you must plan ahead to provide an assortment of informational items.

You can use the Internet to show videos about the focus country or people group. This is a great way to find a wealth of information, but be sure to preview any search results beforehand to avoid inappropriate material. Some older kids may be interested in becoming pen pals with a group of children or MKs in another country. As the leader, you can use social media to facilitate these interactions!

Don’t be afraid of trying foods from the area you are focusing on. Recipes are readily available and sometimes include suggestions for substitutions if something unusual is not accessible at your local grocery store. Kids will be delighted to try different dishes, especially if you eat it first!


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