Mission Ideas

Service Opportunities: Friendship Families

Caroline and her husband have done a tremendous job leading a local program, Friendship Families, where families can welcome and “adopt” an international college student. I asked her to share a little bit of her heart in opening up their lives and their home.

Each year hundreds of students come from all over the world to do cultural exchange in our city. Most stay only for a couple weeks but others stay here for a few years. The students that stay here to attend college feel that they are fulfilling their “American dream”. For most students it is their first time away from home. Soon after the excitement of being in a new country wears off they begin to realize that they don’t know where to buy clothes for a season called “winter”, they have run out of every toiletry they packed and they really just want to eat something familiar. Sure, they might find someone from school to give them a ride to Walmart, but with 42 different shampoo/conditioner options written in English, more than likely they will leave feeling frustrated. 

What would happen if they had a family come alongside them to help them learn all about their new “home” away from home? For starters, Walmart would not seem so intimidating and they would have a local able to introduce them to the culture. Imagine picking your very first pumpkin, attending your first American wedding or celebrating Easter and learning that it was about so much more than a rabbit. By being a part of a group called Friendship Families, a group of local families that have adopted a student during their time in America, this has allowed us to see joy that comes from inviting a student into our home and lives. For our family, our adopted student hasn’t just had the opportunity to learn about us but she has also shared about her family and culture back home. Just the other day we were talking about how when she graduates in four years, she will have watched my children grow up from infant to kindergarten and how we get to watch her grow up too!

If you have the desire to open your home and life to a student, it is something you will not regret. For those thinking they would never have the time to commit, I’ll be the first to admit I thought so too. My husband so graciously reminded me that we eat meals everyday- no biggie to add another plate and we also go and do family activities, like going to the pumpkin patch-no biggie because our car has extra seats. The friendships between your family and your student will be deep and they will last a lifetime.

Next year the Friendship Family program anticipates having almost 40 new students. If you would like to know what the program is all about or if you would like to get involved, I would encourage you to check out the program and consider attending our end of the year celebration for our first group of graduating seniors. Last school year, before all of the students went home for the summer a few sent us messages saying that without their family they didn’t think they would have ever left their school’s campus and they would have been very lonely. So many left for summer break feeling like when they returned for the Fall Semester they knew they would have their American family here waiting on them with open arms.

Not everyone who reads this is local to Spartanburg, but this is something that you can do too! Do you live near a college or university? They more than likely will have international students attending! Connect with their Dean of Students and ask how you can serve their students. They will be excited that someone cares!

And if you are local, email us and we will connect you with Friendship Families so you can learn how to make dumplings, watch someone pick apples for the first time, and have the opportunity to love and welcome someone to your table and into your home and heart!

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On Mission

Pray & Play

Our first Pray & Play was so very fun and simple – pray then play!

While the weather didn’t quite cooperate with us, we just went with Plan B and “prayer walked inside”. Our town has the coolest lightbulb sculptures all over the downtown area, so for our prayer time, we “found” pics of the lightbulbs hidden all throughout the play area and paused for a moment to pray at each picture. Each mama was given prayer points to guide their prayers and to remind us of different ways we could pray for our city. Plan A was to find the real lightbulbs outside and enjoy prayer walking outside – oh South Carolina weather…

Then we had a little snack time and enjoyed playing together!

And while it was “simple” and fun, I also believe that it is very important and foundational to raising little ones to love Jesus and love others. Our littles learn to pray for and love their community when they see us as mamas (and daddy’s) praying and loving our community and that starts at any age!

How are you praying for your community? Are you leading your little ones to pray for your community? For your mayor, for your city council? For the helping agencies and the homeless? For the college students and the international students? For the churches and the pastors? So much we can pray for!

If you are local, I hope that you will join us at our next Pray & Play. If you’re not, why not start your own group? Find a great park or local area to prayerwalk, invite a few friends to join you, and have fun with your littles!

Blog, Friday Faves

Friday Faves: Valentine Fun Edition

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Happy Friday and Happy February and can I just say that I’m so glad it’s a new month –  Love Month!  We have been quite sick around here so all of us are ready to embrace a NEW month and share some LOVE!

There are always super cute and fun things to share for this month too! Here are just a few of my favorite things that I’ve discovered so far:

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Mercy House Global Valentine’s Day Heart Lip Balm – Oh my Word! Aren’t they the cutest!! And they support the work of some sweet orphans in Malawi.  There are some other cute Valentine things too like friendship bracelets and coffee. Who doesn’t LOVE coffee?!

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EloraInspired – We Love PlaceMats – We love our placemats and in fact, the girls often argue over who gets the pink one and who gets the blue one. I should have just bought the same colors! (DUH!) This is a great way to put scripture before then and also keep your table clean. She also recently released a coloring version of Noah’s Ark!

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The Little Market – Wooden Heart Bowl – So CUTE! I’m just learning about this shop and all the work that they do but I already LOVE so many of their products! And I love even more that they support and empower women all around the world to do great work. There is also a wooden heart shaped spoon… swoon…

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Fishesandloaves – Valentine Hanging Towel – This is my sweet friend, Anna, who I adore and MISS big! Her, her hubby, and their fun kiddos moved up north for medical school a few years ago now and God is doing great things through them but man they are missed down here.  She is super talented and recently posted these to her little shop. I’m not sure how many she has left – hopefully I can snag one before they are gone!

Valentine Books & Resources

There is a picture link below to purchase through our On Mission Mom’s Amazon Shop.

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Is this not the cutest book series?! I just love all the different ones – You, Heaven, Angels, Sleep, the World.. So Cute! This would be a great book to add to your Valentine Collection.

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I had no idea that Rick Warren wrote children books… who knew?! But it’s super cute (which I think I have said on every item above… ha). This is a sweet story how the God of the universe also loves each of us, individually and deeply. What greater truth to pour into their hearts – an eternal love!

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I posted on Instagram the other day about how God was reminding me about striving to be an excellent wife first. Lots of you asked about this book! It’s great and would be an excellent read throughout February. There is also a book for the husbands – although it is not written to “go together”, it’s great and my hubby has been challenged as he has read this month. There are links included below to purchase from Amazon. (On Mission Moms does receive a small portion of your purchase. Thank you for supporting our work!)


I do not receive any compensation or support from the shops mentioned above. I just love their work and want to support and share it with other like minded mamas! I do however, receive a small portion of the profit from  the Amazon links posted above!

Blog, Mission Ideas

Service Ideas: “Love” Month

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My oldest came home the other day talking all about Valentines Day but she kept referring to it as  “Love Day”. It made me giggle a little bit to hear her call it that, but It also got me thinking about what we celebrate and why and how and why it couldn’t be more than just one day. What if we set aside time throughout the month, and really the whole year, to love and be loved. 

How can you love others well this month? Maybe you need to slow down and show love within the four walls of your home? Maybe you need to walk across the street and show love to the new neighbor that just moved in? Maybe you need to share love to the complete stranger who you pass in the grocery store?

Here are just a few ways we hope to show love around our home:

1. Valentines Mail  –  Before the little ones came along, we would write little notes on hearts, put in a “mailbox” and enjoy opening them up randomly each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. Now with the little ones, they LOVE checking the mailbox and hanging their heart mail throughout the month.  We write things we love about each other, silly jokes, or just a quick hello – whatever we want to say!

2.  Loving Others Sticker Challenge  –  Throughout the month, we are going to play a little game if you will. Each time I see the girls loving and serving others, we’re going to get a heart sticker on our Love Month Heart.  Stickers could come for helping our sister pick up their room, feeding Nola without being asked, helping mommy make cookies for others, being kind and loving with our words and any other “act of love”.  There are lots of things that you can do with the game board once it’s full like give prizes, etc., but we will just be celebrating all the stickers and all the loving! Have fun being creative with it and see how much love you can share!

3. Sharing the Love – Last year the girls and I had such a fun time making and decorating cookies and delivering them to some of our homeless friends. We plan on doing that again this year and making sure they continue to feel extra loved on a day when they are often forgotten.

How will you be celebrating “Love Month” with your little one? It’s so fun to share our ideas and pictures to encourage one another. Be sure to tag us @onmissionmoms so we can all see and celebrate loving and serving others.

For more ideas and ways to serve others, be sure to click over to our Pinterest Board too!

Blog

I’ll do my part…

We’ve come a long way but I believe we still have an even longer way to go when it comes to racial equality and truly loving and respecting those that are different from us.

I have to be honest – I have so much more to learn from my brothers and sisters of different races, cultures, and nationalities. My parents did an amazing job teaching me to love all people – but I’m still a white young mama who hasn’t really ever experienced racism toward me in my life. Yes, I’ve lived in different cultures and been the only white gal in a store, but still I can’t truly understand. I’m kinda clueless honestly…

I can try though.

I can meet a friend from a different race for coffee and ask her to tell me what it’s like and I can listen. I can speak out for those that are forgotten and downright mistreated. I can also speak out against things that I know go against Gods word even when it might “cost” me. I can share with my daughters the truth about slavery and injustice and equality in ways that they understand at their age. (And my oldest has already been asking! So I’m answering so I know she gets the answer I long for her to hear – not the world’s answer)

I can do my part.

Will you do yours?

Here are a few great books to help guide you as you share with your little ones:

What resources have you come across to help your little ones understand, love and value all people?

(On Mission Moms does receive a small portion of your purchase if you use the links above! Thanks for supporting us!)
Blog, Friday Faves

Friday Favorites!

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a Friday Favorites, but I’ve come across quite a few really super cute, fun and important things lately and couldn’t help but share them with you this week!

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Picture taken from Mercy House Global
  1. Felt Easter Eggs – Mercy House Global

These are super cute and who says you have to use the plastic eggs for your Easter basket?! Also these help change the lives of some pretty beautiful ladies from Street Hope, one of their artisan groups. You can read more about Street Hope on their website. 

 

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Picture taken from Kids Read Truth
  1. Scripture ABC Cards – Kids Read Truth

We have a scripture that we use with the girls each week but what better way to reinforce scripture and help them learn their letters at the same time – and these cards are just beautiful! 

  1. World Watch List- Open Doors  

Do you know the top 50 places around the world where it’s hardest for our brothers and sisters to follow Jesus? Open Doors just released their 2019 Watch List and it’s interesting to me to see what countries make the list each year and how some countries have been on this list for years and years. Be sure to download the list, read the stories from those living there, and pray for each country that is listed. Maybe pray for a country each week? 

  1. Qadimi Rugs

I have a dear friend who is doing great work in one of the countries listed above. The ladies she works with recently released a new line of beautiful rugs. If you are looking for a beautiful new rug for your home, why not support the work of women around the world at the same time?! I’m so proud of this sweet friend and ways that the Father is using her gifts and talents to impact the world! You can also follow them over at Instagram  to see all the beautiful work that they are doing. 

 

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  1. King Cake and praying for New Orleans 

I’ve had lots of questions lately about what is King Cake!?! If you’ve never had one, you have got to try it! This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker is my tried and true one. I’ve tried a few others and added filling but I always come back to this one. (Which by the way, I don’t know this beautiful lady or blog but her king cake recipe is legit!)  Or if you would rather just use a mix (no shame!) you can purchase them from our Amazon On Mission Moms Link! (we do receive a small portion of your purchase so thanks for supporting us!) 

What fun resources have you come across this week that will help you and other mamas live “On Mission”? Share with us and encourage others!

Also be sure to check out some of our latest posts with resources and ideas for you and Follow along over on Pinterest to see some other great ideas!

Blog, On Mission

Hitting the Pause Button

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it really means to be an “On Mission Mom” and if you saw one of our latest posts, I shared my own heart and calling that it is my job, our job, to expose our littles to the world and the needs around them. We can’t raise world changers if we never show them that there is a world out there that needs to be changed.

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However, I, and maybe you too, get busy and overwhelmed and I’m just happy to be surviving day by day at times. Like some times I’m over the moon happy that my dinner wasn’t a fail and the girls actually ate it, and they were playing quietly with playdoh when daddy got home instead of wrestling in the living room floor (I thought that was a boy thing?!?)  and the laundry got moved from the washing machine to the dryer in a timely manner, not two days later! Yikes…  and then we crash into bed and do it all over again the next day and before I know it, I’ve not shared Christ with one person that I’ve met in the last month and I’ve not served anyone else in any capacity… you get the picture…

That has had me thinking a LOT about why and what is sucking my time and joy and life at times.  AND, I’m not sure that is what God intends for our lives and for motherhood. Yes, this season is hard. Yes, it’s busy. But sometimes, I wonder if it’s busy and hard because I’ve filled it with things to make it busy and hard. Or maybe my priorities or expectations aren’t set in the right place. I often say with my lips that I want to raise world changers, but the decisions I make day to day and how I plan and spend my time, doesn’t always reflect that.

If I truly want to raise little world changers, then I have to do the work. I have to live in my calling as a wife and mom. I have to plan and invest my time in to those eternal things — it’s just not going to happen on its own.  I have to say yes to some things and I have to say no to some things and honestly, that’s hard and sometimes just stinks and apart from Christ, I can’t make those decisions.  I’ve been reminded over these last couple weeks that I must remain close and connected to Christ, my true vine. I also must seek out wisdom and encouragement from other mamas who desire the same thing — that’s you!

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More than anything I want On Mission Moms to be a place where we can land and be encouraged to keep our focus and our heart on what truly matters, the eternal things — raising littles to love Jesus and love others. And sometimes that means that we have to hit the pause button and do some real evaluating and seeking and asking to make sure that we haven’t veered off of the course.

So, where is your time being spent? 

Where are your finances and resources being spent? 

Who or what are you saying yes to? Does it matter for eternity?

Does that line up with God’s calling on your life
to raise littles to love Jesus and serve others? 

What is Christ asking you to do about it? 

As I spend the rest of the month of January looking at what it truly means to be an On Mission Mom, I pray you will join me. That you will hit the pause button, ask the hard questions of yourself (and answer them honestly), and recommit to doing the work — to focusing your (my) heart on what truly matters.

Join us over in our Facebook Group and share your thoughts and what God is teaching you about being an On Mission Mom!