Blog, Mission Ideas, On Mission

Reclaiming Halloween

I strongly believe that what the world meant for evil, God can redeem for good. It’s somewhere in the Bible, right? (Actually Gen. 50:20, where Joseph is speaking to his brothers after they sold him…)

I tend to view Halloween a lot like that. While the world often sees it and pushes it as evil, it doesn’t have to be. As believers, we can reclaim it and use it for His good and for His glory!

Here are a couple ways to do that!

1. Use the evening of trick or treating as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Have candy for the kiddos but also provide something for the adults too – maybe a cup of hot coffee or cider, maybe a bag of popcorn. Our Life Group (Sunday school class) did this and not only had a great time together but we were able to help some of our friends meet their neighbors and pray with a few parents too! It led to great conversations and connections and who doesn’t love a quick warm drink when you’re walking around forever with your little super hero or princess.

2. Treat (don’t trick) your Neighbors! We have great neighbors and it makes it so fun when we get to surprise them with extra goodies! And they are so sweet to do the same!! Make some special treats for those that live right beside you or those neighbors that maybe aren’t believers and you are developing a great friendship with. Attach a special note and let them know you are thankful for them and praying for them! Look especially for that neighbor that maybe isn’t able to get out or is alone… this can be a stressful and lonely evening for some! So pray for them and stop and chat! You may be their only conversation that day…

What ideas can you share to help us reclaim Halloween and use it as an opportunity to share Christ with our little ones and our neighbors?

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Blog, On Mission

Asking the Questions

Call me crazy, but I generally love car time with my girls. It’s a chance to chat and connect and hear about their day especially when I pick them up after their morning of preschool. Often times though, I’m met with silence and tired brains that have been learning and playing hard and as my oldest sometimes says “I just don’t wanna talk about it right now.”

I strive to keep the conversation going though, admittedly so they won’t fall asleep in our five minute drive home, but also so I can learn and encourage and know what’s brewing in their little hearts. I also love to use questions to help them to start thinking about their day and how we are all “on Mission”. I generally ask a question and then we all take turns answering, even the two year old – which is often comical! We usually don’t get more than a couple questions in at a time and that’s okay. My goal isn’t to work through a whole list of questions, it’s to provide a safe place where my girls feel like they can chat and share and open up their hearts. I believe it’s also crucial and more beneficial to ask questions that can’t be easily answered with a yes or a no, but ones they have to give details with. This usually Spurs on deeper conversation.

Here are some great conversation starters centered around leading our little ones to see their lives as “being on Mission”:

  • What did you love about today?
  • What did you not love?
  • What would you do different about today if you could?
  • How were you able to serve others today?
  • How did you serve your teacher and bring her honor?
  • Were you kind and loving in all you did today? With all your friends?
  • Was there anyone who was “left out” or maybe alone today?
  • Were you left out today or maybe felt alone? How did that make you feel?
  • Did you see a special “need” in your class today that maybe you could help with?
  • Were you able to share with a friend today?
  • If you could help or serve anyone today, who would you want to help? Why?
  • What’s the name of a new friend that you played with today?
  • Who did you have an opportunity to share Your bible story or scripture verse with today?
  • Is there anyone or anything you would like to pray for today? (And then we pray for that!)

Let’s be mamas that reclaim the car time and the dinner table time and make sure that it’s a space where our children are chatting and connecting as a family, which starts especially as little ones!

And on those few days when they “just don’t wanna talk about it,” we crank up the silly songs and sing our way home!

What conversation questions do you use with your kiddos to get them talking? Do you listen and share too?

Blog

Serving Others through Hospitality

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While I love to host others in my home, I have to admit it’s not always the easiest or first thing on my mind.  I think sometimes we just get “busy” or if I’m real honest with you, I’m just too fearful to ask others over and it’s comfortable being at home with the hubby and family. I also have been thinking on this lately and feel we’ve made hospitality into something “big” and  hard when it doesn’t have to be! We often times want our homes and our lives to be perfect and “then” we will ask friends and neighbors inside. I’ve had to check my heart a lot lately over this and remind myself that I’m never going to have it all together… and that’s okay! 

Opening our homes and our lives can be really simple and fun but it does take being intentional! Here are some fun ideas and thoughts that I’ve come across lately: 

  1. Ask a neighbor over for coffee and  muffins! Especially if you have little ones and the thought of getting your stuff together to host them for a big meal overwhelms you. Or simply grab some bagels or bakery items from the store. It can be simple and still a great time! 
  2. Take hospitality outside! I recently saw an Instagram post where one mama just sets up tables outside and they have “community dinner”. The kids play and the mamas just bring what they were gonna be having for dinner anyway outside and the families all enjoy it together. That’s brilliant in a lot of ways – it lets the kids play outside and the clean up is minimal! 
  3. Keep it simple! Stick with an easy dinner recipe that is a tried and true one. I have a great chili recipe that I’ve made for several events and everyone loves it and often asks for the recipe. It’s easy and I can pretty much make it from memory now. Put a crockpot of chili on, pull out the paper bowls and relax! While I love a good reason to pull out the Family China, I don’t always have the energy for a four course meal- and that’s okay! Most friends wouldn’t expect that anyway! And, If you are wondering about that chili recipe, you can find it at Cooking Classy. 
  4. Center your time around something to learn – like a book club, or a cooking club, or a knitting club or a party where a friend is “selling” something like Doterra or Beauty Counter or Pampered Chef – I could go on and on with the party ideas. Find something you want to learn about and gather friends to learn with you and support their work too while you are at it!
  5. With the Fall Season, you can also do a Smore’s Night and “fire up” the fire pit outside and toast some marshmallows. Yummy! It’s also football season, which is always a GREAT reason to throw a party and watch your favorite team together.  (Geaux Saints!! ha) Look at the season and see what you could plan! Christmas is also a great time to invite friends in!
  6. Just ask… I think you’ll be surprised! Just ask that new friend you met and want to get to know! Chances are, they are probably wanting to get to know you too! 

More than anything, just open your homes and your heart and your lives for that is where you will find community with one another and opportunities to share Christ with those in your life. 

For more Ideas, be sure to follow our Pinterest Board.

Here are some great resources addressing hospitality that you can purchase from Amazon. (These are affiliate links so we do receive a small percentage of your purchase to help support the work of On Mission Moms!)

Mission Ideas

Service Idea: Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

 

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It feels weird posting about Christmas Shoe Boxes when we just celebrated the first day of Fall but it’s time! Shoe boxes have been around for quite some time and are a great and easy way to get your kiddos involved in serving and thinking of others. If your church is focusing on the shoeboxes during this time, just grab a box from them and pack it full of fun items for either a boy or girl, depending on their age. Then return the filled shoe box back to your church. If not, be sure to follow the instructions on their website (link below).

Here are some great ideas to do with your box as you prepare and pack and serve with your kiddos.

1. Let your children go shopping with you!

I know, I know.. it’s so much faster and easier to just go grab the items while the kids are in school but that takes part of the fun away from the kids. Let them make a list of things that you could put in the box, let them use some of their money, and let them actually buy the items from the store. It becomes their own project at that point.

2. Draw a picture or write a note for the kid receiving the box!

Samaritan’s Purse has a great little letter template on their website too that you can download for your kiddos to color and fill out. Let them draw in the box too! Be creative and fun and it will be fun for your kiddos – and the child receiving it.

3. Pray over the box (or boxes) as a family!

It’s so important to model to your kiddos and it helps them become a bit more attached to the box and who might be receiving it, what their story will be, and how we can have a part in a child’s life that lives around the world.

4. Talk about the Box and how it will get to where it’s going! 

This could lead to some great conversations with your kids about why you are packing a box, what their child might be like, how you can pray for children around the world, poverty and serving others. Don’t shy away from these conversations! These are great building blocks for our children to learn and be a part of! You can even track your box too, which is fun!

 

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For more info about Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes and how to pack, etc. be sure to check out Samaritan’s Purse Website !

Also, hop on over to our Pinterest Page for more Shoebox Ideas and Wisdom!

Have you packed a shoe box before? If so, what items do you pack? How do you involve your kiddos? Hop over to OMM Instagram and share those ideas so we can learn from one another!

Friday Faves

Things We’re Loving

Here are some great resources to encourage us as we lead our little ones to love Jesus and love others!

Love Does for Kids

I’ve been able to get a prerelease copy of the first five chapters of Bob Goff’s new book, Love Does for Kids and it’s super cute and a fun read! The pics are fun and the stories he tells are so great! I wouldn’t necessarily classify this as deep theology; however, the basic and simple command to love others as Christ loves them permeates each chapter I’ve read so far. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the book! You can preorder it and find out more info over at The Love Does for Kids Website !

(A quick disclaimer, I was a part of this Book Launch Team and will be sharing more about the book in days to come!)

Culture

We’ve been having lots of random discussions lately about different cultures and what that even means. We recently “adopted” a college student from China and so we’ve been learning about how they do things differently and different isn’t bad!

I came across this great graphic that helps explain what culture is and all that makes up one’s culture! Hope it helps you in explaining it to your little ones too!

(I wish I knew where this came from, found it in the world of Pinterest but it wasn’t linked to the original author!)

Cool World Cooking

My oldest has been loving baking and cooking lately with me! So I’ve been on the hunt for some good international recipes that she can help me make! I came across this cookbook series over on Amazon, Cool World Cooking. It’s super cute and has a book for several different regions like Africa, Middle East, Italian and French. And just a tip, the more they are in the kitchen with you, the more likely they are to eat what is served! Just try it and hopefully you’ll be surprised! Which regional foods look yummy to you?

Questions

It’s so important to be intentional in our conversations with our kiddos. Do you talk to them about your faith? About what God is teaching you?

It’s also important to chat about topics like poverty and homelessness, refugees, cultures, religions, and other “hot topic” social issues. But sometimes we don’t know where to start or what to say. That can’t or shouldn’t stop us though. If you aren’t chatting with them, the world surely is! I pray my voice is always loudest with my girls – but not louder than the Lord’s voice.

Here is a great article with questions that can encourage conversations around poverty.

What resources can you share with other mamas as we strive to live On Mission?

Blog, On Mission

On Mission Mom Spotlight: J serving in Southeast Asia

* we can’t share her pic here, her name, or where she serves… but you can pray regardless and be encouraged by this On Mission Mom as she strives to be intentional and balance her time!

Introduce your family and what you guys do, etc.

My name is J and my husband is T. We have four children and we live in a Southeast Asian country that is primarily Buddhist; however, our main focus and people group are Muslim. In our country the people we serve are disliked and hated. They have very little freedom in our country and many struggle just to vote or travel. They are often happy to talk with believers. They feel a closeness to us because we hold many same beliefs, such as following one God.

What’s been your biggest joy in living and serving overseas?

The biggest joy in living overseas is learning this new culture and loving on these people. We have some great people here and they are happy to help. Whenever I am out with the kids, usually someone comes over and helps me carry them or helps guide them in the direction we are going. The people here love to help.

We are beginning to see our children have a love for the nations, because they see this country as home and they love their friends and want to share with them the Good News, even now as children.

What’s been the biggest struggle?

The biggest struggle here besides missing family like crazy, is remembering the culture we live in 24/7. There are days I would like to go to the store and back without someone pinching my kids cheeks. Or having to stop when we are at the park every few feet because everyone wants a picture with the foreign children. My children sometimes get shy and just want to hide when people start talking to them and they don’t understand all that is being said to them. This is not the culture I grew up in, and it takes effort to remember how to react to situations I would see as weird and they think is an everyday occurrence. It doesn’t mean their culture is wrong. It is just different. We look at it in a different way and see what they see. There are many times my baby loves posing for pics, so his brother and sisters get out of it. I think he now thinks it is weird to go somewhere and people not look at him. We love these people and every pinch and picture also shows that they like us also, and are willing to be around us. We can even use that to share with them life changing news!

How do you involve the kiddos in what you do?

Right now in our work there are very few believers in the people we are reaching. We are going out and pr* walking around their places of worship. Also T goes out regularly to share with people and I go to an English club where many girls are trying to learn English. Every Sunday we have a family pr* time for our people and the kids ask for them to hear the Good News. We go to parks and as a family hang out with other families and the children play together and naturally talk about what they know. My oldest child is passionate about wanting to share with people. Our older girls also attend a dance class and on Easter they wore the Easter story in henna on their hand and made cookies for their class to share.

Whats one way that you stay “On Mission” where you live?

One thing we try to do to keep “on Mission” is to remind the kids as we go out that we are being intentional. We are going to keep our eyes open for the person Father is sending our way today. That person may be someone who we are supposed to share with. That could be the kid on a slide with you or the lady giving you candy from her store. Just be ready and willing to share and help Mama and Daddy also recognize and share too!

What’s one thing you are learning as a mom?

The thing I am learning these days is balance. Our schedule can get very busy as most moms know. I am learning how to maximize my time and focus on what He has entrusted to me at this moment in my life. Right now my main focus is homeschooling and discipling my children. In doing that, we also go out to tell others.

How can we lift you up as you love and serve your families and others?

As you think of us just lift up that we use our time wisely. Ask that we recognize the opportunities in our path to share. Ask that our children will be bold and share with us. That we continue to learn language and culture to be better at reaching their hearts.

Blog, Mission Ideas

Neighborhood Prayer Walk – Printable!

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I keep thinking in my head that the weather is cooler outside… it’s NOT! Especially here in South Carolina. We did have a few days of windier, cooler weather over the weekend thanks to Florence, but it was just a tease of the Fall Weather to come! As it does get cooler though and the seasons change, its a great opportunity to get outside and go for a walk with your kiddos and prayer walk through your neighborhood. Or maybe you could go for a family walk together. I’ve shared several posts about prayer walking so as you can see, I think it’s pretty important! But it’s also just an easy and powerful way to get your kiddos (and you!) moving and praying and thinking of others! And it’s FREE! And you don’t even have to put on makeup or fix your hair… if you don’t want!

One of the most important areas that you can prayer walk is your very own neighborhood. As you walk, look for things that might spark a thought in your head and simply pray. Pray for your neighbors as you walk by their homes. Pray for the mailman as you see the mailboxes line the street. You can let your mind recall all kinds of things and simply just bring them before the Father. I fear sometimes that we try to make “prayer walking” more spiritual than it has to be – just walk and talk to a Heavenly Father who loves to chat with you! But be intentional to use that time to pray for others – not yourself, but others!

You can also make it fun for the little ones by letting it be a scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt. We’ve pretended to be on an “adventure” and walked and talked and prayed and it’s one of our favorite things to do!

Here’s a FREE Neighborhood PrayerWalk Printable that you can use with your kiddos too for some ideas of what to pray about.

Be sure to hop over to the socials to share pics of your crew as you are on your fun scavenger hunt prayer walk or comment below new ideas of things that we can pray for in our neighborhoods!

Also, if you haven’t downloaded the Back To School PrayerWalk, you still can!