WMU Blog

Meet Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell is a GA leader at the First Baptist Church in Marshall, Missouri. The wife and a mother of two says God has given her the gift and love of teaching the Bible. Naomi’s personality shines with a love of Jesus and a passion for spreading His love to her community.

Naomi decided to become a GA leader after attending a GA sleepover with her daughter. Through interacting with the girls at the event, she felt led to share her faith and invest in the girls’ lives. She signed up to become the leader of the first- and second grade GA group at her church.

Through GA, Naomi says God has shown her how the Great Commission is an important part of Christian life in which she can take part and see lives change in her own community. “It’s the basics of life, really—a childlike faith, strong enough to move mountains and transform entire households’ lives and wellbeing from the inside out.”

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Got Camp?

Many years ago, I had my first spend-the-night camp experience at Girls in Action camp at Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly in Talladega, Alabama. One of my very best friends—another GA at my church—talked me into going with her. I loved GA with all my heart, so it was an easy sell!

I still remember that experience like it was yesterday. I enjoyed all the typical camp activities like swimming, hiking, canoeing, arts and crafts, staying up late, and making new friends. But, more importantly, I also got to worship God, learn about missions, meet missionaries, and participate in daily devotions with other girls who loved GA as much as I did. Apparently, my only complaint was all the walking up and down the “great big hill” from our cabin to the dining hall and swimming pool. (At least, that’s what my parents say—and they still have the letters to prove it! For the record, it is really steep!)

Summer Fun

The middle of summer is here, and your Mission Friends group might need a little summer fun! Summer may be a little more easy-going in Mission Friends as some families are out on vacation, it stays light later, and things may not be as rushed. Here are some ideas for adding some fun to your Mission Friends sessions in the summer.

Hope for the Hurting

Project HELP PTSD

During the 2014–2015 church year, we launched a four-year emphasis under the umbrella of Project HELPSM related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is not only a personal issue for many families but also becoming a significant issue for the church. From the effects of war on our soldiers to persecution of our missionaries to school shootings and natural disasters, post-traumatic reactions are often serious but seldom discussed by those involved for fear of being labeled or misunderstood.

Be Intentional in Helping Others

Guy and Elena Key have been serving in Brazil under appointment of the International Mission Board since 1984. Brazil has been in the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Key’s families for many years. Mr. Key is a second generation missionary in Brazil, and Mrs. Key is a third generation missionary to Brazil. Her grandparents served there as missionaries with the Foreign Mission Board from 1920 to 1960. Yes, Mrs. Key’s family has served in Brazil for almost 100 years!

One component of the Keys’ work in Brazil is to help Brazilians who are called into missions, both in Brazil and cross-culturally. Likewise, as Mission Friends leaders, one component of our work is helping the families of preschoolers to engage in sharing God’s love with those in need. Immigrants to the United States are 1 segment of our population who have many needs. Mr. Key gave the following suggestions for specific ways to befriend Brazilian immigrants, but these suggestions would be applicable to any immigrants to our country. Share these suggestions with your preschoolers’ families and encourage them to be intentional in helping others:

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Others in Our World

As we teach preschoolers about the missions area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this month in Mission Friends®, we are also focusing on the Christian concept area World. This is a broad and wide concept area that is not always easy to convey to preschoolers. As I think about the concept area World, I like to remember the concept area as “Others in Our World.”

For many years we used the Christian concept area Others. That concept area was changed into the two concept areas of Community and World. When this change was made, at WMU® we generally thought of Community as encompassing other people who live near me. The Christian concept area World includes other people who live far away. We want preschoolers to learn that God loves people around the world, and missionaries tell others in the world about Jesus and His love.

This month as we focus on World as a concept area, the writers of the activities and stories in Mission Friends Leader lead us to focus on the following aspects each week:

Session 1: God loves people of different cultures all over the world.

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The Greatest of These Is Love

Last week, Joye Smith and I attended a conference titled “Helping Families Heal.” The presenter, Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, prescribes a unique approach to helping children heal from traumatic experiences. Forbes said that truly helping a child is not about fixing behavior. Rather than focusing on logic and consequences, she recommends seeking understanding and connecting with children to help them regulate their own behavior.

This has great implications for teachers of all preschoolers. When you are dealing with discipline issues in your classroom, instead of using time outs or trying to use logic, try these practical tips for helping preschoolers improve their ability to self-regulate their behavior:

Why Preschoolers Need Repetition

Another wonderful question has come our way: I see repetition in Mission Friends materials. Why do you repeat activities?

While adults crave variety, preschoolers thrive on repetition. In doing things over and over again, preschoolers develop and master new skills and construct new understandings of their world. Think of how people develop the ability to play a musical instrument or master a sport. It takes repetition and practice. As preschoolers repeat and practice a variety of skills, they build their proficiency in those skills, which in turn leads to greater self-confidence.

In addition to helping preschoolers master new skills, repetition helps them predict what is going to happen next. In books with repetitive text, preschoolers love to chime in with the words that are repeated. As preschoolers successfully predict what will come next, they are learning sequencing skills, such as before and after.

Thank you, Debby

During my 15 years as executive director of national WMU®, I have been blessed to work with wonderful women who serve on our executive board. Each person has brought her unique gifts and skills as a leader to the work we do together on behalf of national WMU and in our states. Likewise, each national WMU president I have served with has demonstrated incredible leadership skills and a strong commitment to our missions purpose. Debby Akerman, who has served as our national president since 2010, is one of those dynamic leaders.

Giving Comfort

When you are upset or worried, what is one thing that is of comfort to you? I start my conference on Helping Preschoolers Deal with Fears by asking participants this question. I give each person a fabric square, and ask them to draw on the fabric the thing that is of comfort. We then put all the fabric squares together to make a sort of “comfort” quilt. When they start drawing, someone usually jokingly comments about their lack of artistic talent. I assure them we are not looking at artistic talent but at the ways that we are each comforted.

I have been amazed at the many things people have drawn on their fabric squares. Last week when I led the conference, one person drew her cat. I could imagine how it would be comforting to pet her furry cat while it sits in her lap. Another person drew the outdoors, and said it is comforting to walk outdoors. A person drew friends to remind us how friends can comfort us. Others in my conferences have drawn a cup of tea, the Bible, praying hands, and a big pillow.

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