Mission Ideas

Germany: Praying and Eating

When I think of Germany, I quickly think of yummy food like chocolate and schnitzel and chocolate and bratwurtz and chocolate…

But I also think of a sweet friend that I met while living in New Orleans many years ago. She now lives in Germany and serves the Lord with her fun family.

I asked Amy to join us and share a little of her world with us, as we lead our little ones to pray for that beautiful country and enjoy all that Germany has to offer!

1. Introduce your family, what you’re doing, where you are, etc.

Hallo, Guten Tag!

We are the Jones Family and this month we are celebrating the completion of our first year in Leipzig Germany! I’m Amy and, along with my husband Casey and our girls Evelyn and Claire, we are getting to know the people, churches, and many joys of living in this part of eastern Germany. Claire was only 7 months old when we arrived in the snow last year – so much has changed! After years of service in churches in America, we are so grateful to plant our lives here to support local German-speaking churches as they call up new believers and new leaders, to start new congregations.

2. How can we pray for you specifically and for your people/city/country?

Thirty years ago, in a state church (Lutheran) near the University of Leipzig, Monday evening prayer services turned into vigils for freedom, which led to protests, which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in October of 1989. However, the wall that separates humans from the creator God is largely accepted or ignored. While this is one of the most family friendly cities in a country that loves children, it is also one of the highest concentrations of Atheism in the world. Luther, Bach, and Mendelssohn all expressed great faith in Christ in this city, but there is great need for a spiritual awakening among everyday people here. We need to continue to learn German better so that we can communicate the power of redemption through Christ more clearly. We are still in transition between full-time language school and slowly learning where God has prepared a ministry for us. There is still a huge learning curve ahead of us, so pray that we do not fool ourselves in to thinking we have to figure everything out, but to boldly cling to his mercy and wisdom through it all!

3. What’s one way that you serve and live on Mission with your kiddos where you are?

I have been going to mommy-baby/kid groups around Leipzig to learn “mommy-German”. It’s been great to get to know local churches and other communities. Those connections are leading into spiritual conversations and other opportunities to share the gospel and build partnerships in the gospel. Right now some friends and I are planning in a mommy group that I now host which, in part, will have a time to craft bedtime stories, somewhat in the style of Sally Lloyd-Jones,’ Jesus Storybook Bible, to build biblical literacy among the women and children I know.

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4. Any other foods that are popular where you are.

German food is actually a lot like American food, so if you think of “meat and potatoes” type food, you’re probably thinking German food! Potato pancakes are popular lunch thing, pork Schnitzel, french fries ( Pommes), and Frikadillen (kind of a meatloaf hamburger), and of course pastries and breads for days! At the same times, globalism and alternative lifestyles are quite accepted here, so vegan and gluten-free food are available. There’s so much to choose from.

At 10am mothers and kids have “Obstpause” which is morning snacks of all kinds of sliced up fruit. Sometimes, they also serve a cake with fruit in it, like plum cake. At 3-4pm we have “Kaffee und Kuchen”, coffee and cake. That is when Germans indulge their sweet-tooth with a home or bakery made treat. I love the Quarktasche, which is kind of like a less-sweet, fluffy creamcheese danish.

Amy was so gracious to send over a yummy dessert recipe. As you prepare this, would you take time to pray for Amy and her family as they live and serve there? Pray for their language learning to continue to grow so that they can share truth with their friends and neighbors. Please also pray that many would come to faith in Christ and for the church to continue to grow and disciple new followers of Jesus well.

Plum Cake

(Recipe provided by Amy)

Ingredients:

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup sunflower oil (I use canola oil)
  • 2 lbs prune plums, pitted, quartered
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter

Instructions:

– Serves 10 –

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Into a large mixing bowl, mix 2⅓ cups flour, baking powder, ⅓ cup sugar, vanilla sugar, and salt.

Add yogurt, milk, and oil and using dough hook or wooden spoon, mix for a minute or so until dough holds together.

Press dough into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan or divide dough into two if using 9″ springform pans.

Place plum quarters in rows on top of dough.

Mix together the 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup butter to make the streusel dough. Crumble over top.

Bake at 350° F for about 50 – 60 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Let cool and serve.

Since this is a yummy desert, you could invite another mama over for an afternoon “Kaffee und Kuchen” time like Amy mentioned above and spend time praying for Germany together with your littles! Who doesn’t love a little afternoon pick-me-up!?

Be sure to share pics of your yummy plum cake and afternoon time together praying over on Instagram.

For more German recipes and ideas, check out Pinterest !

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On Mission

Local Mamas: Storytime Alive

April 11th

10:00am

At Palmetto En Pointe Performing Arts

107 Southport Rd.

$2 per child to help cover supplies

We will be bringing our storytime alive by reading and serving together!

We’ll be reading a fun book, Last Stop on Market Street, then enjoying some great activities together as we lead our littles to serve. We will be putting together sandwiches for our local Soup Kitchen.

Please be sure to signup in our Facebook event page so we can plan accordingly and invite another mama to meet you there!

Hope to see you there!

Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Here are a few favorite things we are loving right now:

Window on the World- an Operation World Prayer Resource

It’s so good although I’m a bit sad that a few of my favorite countries didn’t make the book, maybe that just means another book is coming!? Grab a copy and lead your little ones in learning more about the world and praying for our world.

HandMade Easter Eggs

Y’all have seen my disdain for those plastic eggs that have taken over my home this last week. Mercy House Global has a brilliant solution with handmade felt eggs that will give back to the ladies making them! They have just restocked so you better hurry and get some before they are out again!

Speaking of those silly plastic eggs, be sure to grab our Easter Egg Service Challenge printable, choose which ones you want to do, let your little one open up a few eggs before Easter and get serving! We just opened up “bake cookies and give them away!” So we spent yesterday baking St. Patrick’s Day cookies and sending them to work with daddy and to our teachers.

And it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day!

Be sure to take a few minutes and share the great story of who St. Patrick was and how God is still calling out missionaries today!

VeggieTales has a silly clip that explains his life and my little ones love it! But they also love VeggieTales and any excuse to watch TV! You can find the short video here on YouTube.

Local On Mission Moms

Have you had a chance to visit the Family Prayer Room at The Bridge! It’s coming together and you should totally stop in with your little ones and spend a few minutes praying together! We still have a few more items to finish up the room – simple things like chalk and cars/trucks for the community mat. Be sure to check out our Amazon wishlist and help us finish up this special room! There is also an all night prayer time coming up in April and the family prayer room will be open even as our little ones are sleeping.

So, What are you loving this week?

Share over on Instagram or here in the comments and let’s grow and learn together!

Mission Ideas, On Mission

Easter Egg Service Challenge

If you are like me, you probably have quite the collection of those plastic eggs lying around your home. I have a love hate relationship with them. From the moment they come out until the day after Easter, I feel like we are picking those things up or trying to find the bottom piece or throwing them away because sister stepped on one, which usually means someone is left in a puddle of tears.

This year I thought we would put those silly things to a good use with the Easter Egg Service Challenge. I created little fun ways to serve others for our family, printed them out, cut them apart, and then filled each egg with a little opportunity.

As Lent begins today, we will be opening an egg every day (that we don’t forget…) and discovering simple ways we can serve others this Easter season.

How are you serving others and teaching your little ones about the sacrifice of Jesus this Easter? Share your ideas with us so that we can learn from each other!

If you would like to be a part of the Easter Egg Service Challenge, just download our free printable and have fun!

Also, be sure to tag us @onmissionmoms as you have fun serving and loving others this Easter season.

On Mission

Same as Me…

I came across this sweet pic of my youngest at her preschool the other day and it caught me by surprise a little bit and it made my heart smile and kind of took my breath away (in a good way!)

She was reading and loving a sweet baby that didn’t “look” like her. It didn’t have blond curly hair and pail (super pale) skin.

And then it broke my heart too…

Because if we were real honest with ourselves, many times we tend to reach for the doll that looks most like us, or become friends with that sweet mama that is just like us – same parenting stage, same socioeconomic place, same social status…

Same…

But I wonder what we all miss out on when we are surrounded by the same…

I’m preparing to teach a class this weekend at my church, and in my studies, I came across this question that kinda stopped me in my tracks. (I can’t remember who asked it… forgive me!)

“Do you have any “unexpected” friendships?”

Friendships that don’t look like you, that challenge and stretch you, that you can invest in and learn from too?

And I had to pause… and think… and confess that I don’t have enough of those types of friendships in my world.

What about you? What about your friendships? Do they all look the same or do you have sweet friends who are “different” than you and challenge you to learn and grow and love more and deeper?

We want to raise little ones to love Jesus and love others and after Jesus of course, I believe it starts with baby dolls that are “different” , introducing cultures that are different, reading books from other places and about other races.

But we have to be the ones to expose them. We have to lead the way. We have to read them the stories, buy the baby dolls, befriend the neighbor who is different than us, cook the food that is “odd”, and talk about how God loves all people and so should we!

What are ways that we can raise our little ones to love all peoples, regardless if they are just like them or not? How can we raise little ones that pick the different baby doll to rock and cuddle with?

What unexpected friendship can you invest in?

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!

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!