preschool

Reaching the Deaf around the Globe

Deaf interpreter

Over 20 years ago, Doc and Dee Douglas* started their journey, across the world, sharing the gospel through Bible stories to the Deaf community. Dee was born to deaf parents, and her first/heart language is American Sign Language. She is gifted when it comes to sign language and Deaf culture. Doc was born to hearing parents and had no background in American Sign Language. He is gifted in administration, theology, and leadership.

Doc says, “Our primary way of sharing the gospel has been through Bible stories. Whether in random conversations or if we are in a planned strategy to engage deaf people in a particular city, there is always the introduction of a story—the ‘avenue in’ to sharing the gospel.” The Deaf are storytellers themselves, and a natural way of drawing them into conversation of the gospel is through Scripture stories.

By All Means

By All Means

Our first session of Mission Friends® for the new church year started in a most exciting way. We had a big group of preschoolers coming up into our class of 3- and 4-year-olds. The first session is usually a little more hectic because the preschoolers don’t know the schedule, and you are trying to figure out preschoolers’ names. I expected to have 8 or 9 preschoolers, but we had 13! I had planned the painting activity suggested in Mission Friends Leader for the session, and it took a while for the preschoolers to take turns in sets of 2 or 3 preschoolers at a time. When we finally gathered for Group Time, the power went out in the whole church! We spent the remainder of our session in the dark, using the flashlights from our smartphones.

Praying for Missions

A preschooler came home from church with a prayer reminder he made in Mission Friends®. His mother told me that when she put him to bed that night, she heard him pray the sweetest prayer for the missionary family. God is working in the lives of preschoolers as we teach them to pray for missions. As preschoolers learn about missions, one of their responses is to pray for the missions work they are learning about.

Meet Angie Quantrell!

Angie and her grandchildren

I like to tell people we live in a horse pasture. This is technically true. But the horses have moved on and we don’t share space with any large farm animals, just cats, birds, bugs, and the occasional skunk. My husband, Kevin, and I sold our home last summer and moved into an RV trailer. Our son and daughter-in-law graciously invited us to park in their pasture. RV living is an adventure. We are learning so many new things! We plan to live in the RV for a few years while we research and build a small home. Until then, RV life it is.

Extending the Story: Let’s Learn About . . .

Let's Learn About . . .

Get more out of the preschool missions storybooks in your Mission Friends® classroom by extending the stories with activities related to the books. This month we’ll share a few ways to extend the story for the book Let’s Learn About . . . by Angie Quantrell. Read the story to your Mission Friends class, and then follow up with these activities.

From Loneliness to Love

Kerns Family

In 2013, Travis Kerns’s love for Utah and yearning to help the lost hit its peak. Travis says, “While in a college class, we studied Mormonism and I began to fall in love with the Mormon people and have a heart for them to hear about the saving grace of the Jesus of The Bible.” Time passed, and Travis and his wife, Staci, felt convicted of some of their idols in life—family and comfort. Travis shares, “We had no idea where or even what type of work we would be doing; we just knew it was time to go.”

In the months following, through seeking God’s direction for their move, Travis received a call from The North American Mission board inquiring his interest in moving to Utah to become a SEND City Missionary. Travis, Staci, and their son, Jeremiah, knew that God had a plan and wholeheartedly committed to what lie ahead.

Learning about Missions

Learning about missions around the world

My friend’s daughter buckled her preschool son in the car seat of their vehicle after Mission Friends one evening. She asked her son, “What did you learn in Mission Friends tonight?” Her son responded, “THUH missionawies. UH’gain.” What a great commercial that would make for Mission Friends!

Take a minute to think about what your preschoolers learn in Mission Friends. Since learning about missions is one area of growth that we want preschoolers to gain in Mission Friends, what do they learn about missions?

Preschoolers learn the basic concepts of the meaning of the word missions. They begin learning that God loves all people, God wants everyone to know of His love, and that not everyone knows of His love. They learn that God wants us to tell others and show others His love.

Singing with Preschoolers

Music is good for preschoolers

Do you ever wake up with a song in your heart? Songs touch our lives in special ways, and singing is so important for preschoolers. Preschoolers are captivated by both melody and rhythm. As they sing, they experience both heard and spoken sound. They experience alliteration and rhyming and sequencing and patterning. Singing builds a foundation for more advanced language skills and physical development. And, music allows us to praise God with our hearts and minds, as well as our bodies.

Their Attention Span Is So Short!

Short attention span

One minute the preschooler is listening intently as you tell the mission story. The next minute she’s poking at the preschooler sitting next to her, no longer listening to you at all. Another preschooler makes only a few marks on a coffee filter in the Art area, and before you know it he is in the Nature area smelling the matching scents. Preschoolers have such short attention spans, and it sometimes catches us off guard. At this time of year when younger preschoolers may promote into your Mission Friends® class, you might especially notice their short attention span. This is evident in the activity time as well as during Group Time. These tips will help as you teach preschoolers in Mission Friends.

  • Remember that, generally, the younger the preschooler, the shorter her attention span.

  • Give choices of activities so preschoolers can move freely from one activity to another. Teaching through the interest areas allows the preschooler to move in and out of activities as his attention span dictates.

Reaching the Lost in Kansas City

Cole Family

David and Chris Cole started Oak Tree Church in Kansas City, Missouri, 2.5 years ago. Mr. Cole shares that his church’s community is an area of great lostness. Over 20,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of the church, and more than 91% of these people are unchurched. Oak Tree is very focused on missions, and the Cole family leads the way in doing whatever it takes to reach everyone at every level in their community.

Mr. Cole says, “What I love most about what I do is seeing lives and families transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Mr. and Mrs. Cole do much more than teach about missions. They intentionally seek out opportunities for sharing the love of God with others. The Cole family demonstrates that missions is not just something you do in your spare time. They live out a holistic missional lifestyle. You could say that missions is written into the DNA of their family.

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