Mission Ideas

Serving through the Fall

 

 

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Fall is such a FUN season here in the South! The weather is cooler and it’s bearable to be outside for more than ten minutes. Wait – who am I kidding? It’s still 90 degree here…  But, the apples and pumpkins are ready to be picked. Football and campfires with SMores are back. It’s just a fun season!

In this fun season, there are LOTS of ways that we can love and serve others and lead our little ones to do the same! Here are just a few ideas:

1. Prayer Walk – Enjoy the cooler days, if you have them! Get out and go for a nature walk and embrace the beautiful fall colors but as you do, pray! Prayer walking is a simple fun way to focus your prayers and “pray as you go.”  Our little ones can learn so much from walking and praying with us too!

2. Homeless Blessing Bags – As the seasons begin to shift from hot to warm to cold, many of our homeless friends are needing encouragement. And what better way to encourage them than with a blessing bag.  A blessing bag can be super simple. Just grab a zip-loc bag and fill it with items like travel size shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, crackers and a water bottle. I promise you though, for many of our homeless friends, what will matter most will be the encouragement that you saw them and took time to acknowledge them. It will also help your little one begin to see others  in need too.

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If you are a local On Mission Mom, we are combining the top two opportunities and hosting a Pray & Play (and Serve too!) Event! Be sure to follow us over at Instagram for all the details and to sign up HERE to be a part of the fun! 

3. Smore’s Night in the Neighborhood – What better way to get to know your neighbors and friends during the fall than to sit around a campfire, and make Smore’s! So YUMMY!  You can make this simple or as fun and “Pinteresty” as you want, but the purpose is to get to know your neighbors, encourage them, share Jesus with them, laugh with them and build community!  I’ll be posting more about this idea soon!

4. Bake Treats for a Helping Agency in Town – We love to bake special treats and take them to our local helping agency, The Bridge, for those who are coming in for assistance. I’m so grateful for the atmosphere at the Bridge. They have coffee available for friends as they wait to be seen and helped, but many places don’t offer that. (Agencies often can’t justify the cost to do that and I totally get that!) This is a way to bless the agency, our friends in need, and your little ones as you bake and take the items to the agency. We’ve made cookies, banana bread and apple bread for friends to enjoy and look forward to making pumpkin bread and some of our favorite apple muffins soon. Be sure to check with your local agency to see if they are open to you doing this before you bake all the yumminess!

What fun ideas do you have for sharing Jesus and encouraging friends during the Fall season?  Be sure to follow along over at our Pinterest page for fun ideas or share an idea or two on our Instagram page!

 

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Mission Ideas

Prayer Meal Idea: India

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*A Prayer Meal Idea is just that – an idea to use to help you lead your little ones to experience different cultures, foods, and peoples and hopefully help you have conversations that will open up their hearts to a bigger world out there. It also gives you an opportunity to spend time praying for that country and learning how God is at work over a yummy meal.

One of our favorite meals to eat around the table is Indian food! One of my favorite people, Katie J.  passed on a recipe to us that she was given when she visited another friend living there, nearly 10 years ago. She’s used it and I’ve used it and probably along the years, it’s been changed here and there but it’s so very yummy and probably not even legit Indian food (ha).  But serve it over rice with Naan and eat with your fingers and it’s so very YUMMY! In fact, I’ve really never had Indian food I didn’t love! It’s all so very yummy!!

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For my favorite Chicken Tikka Masala recipe, keep reading!

As I was preparing to focus our hearts on India these next couple months, I reached out to a friend who has spent some time in this beautiful land hoping she could tell me some amazing things about what God is up to there in the land of over 1.3 billion people. And she did! She reminded me of the deep need for Christ to be present in this land where many are far from Him as they follow the Hindu religion and worship many different gods. She encouraged me to pray for the believers there to have boldness, to grow in truth, and to reach out to their neighbors with the love of Christ.   Pray that the many foreigners serving in this beautiful country will walk alongside of nationals and not “do” the work for them. Pray that many will come to know the Father and make him known in a land filled with such beauty and brokenness.

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For more info about India and ways to pray, Operation World is a great resource!

There are also some great resources over at Color&Kindness  where she highlights India, as well as other countries with great books, games, foods and lots of FUN ways to bring our kids into learning about other cultures!

Some other fun ways to learn more about India and enjoy their fun country is to try your hand at a game of cricket or pause in the afternoon for an Indian tea time but most importantly spend time praying for that beautiful land and her people.

Now try your hand at our favorite yummy Indian recipe or if you live near a legit Indian restaurant, head there and pray and give them your support!

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe 

  • 1 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like it hot like we do!)
  • 2 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. 1 Tsp, ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp. salt
  • 3/4 boneless chicken, cut into pieces

 

  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (if you like it hot!)
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cans tomato sauce (12 oz. total)
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the first set of ingredients and let marinade for at least an hour in the fridge – the longer, the more flavorful!

In a large skillet, cook chicken until done. Discard the extra marinade.  Place the chicken in a bowl and wipe out the skillet. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeño for one minute. Season with the cumin, paprika, and salt and sauté for another minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and heavy cream. Simmer on low until the sauce thickens. (20 minutes or so) Add the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice and eat with your fingers and Naan.

*This can be super spicy! When we are making it for our family, we omit the cayenne  and only use half of the black pepper it calls for in the marinade. We also omit the jalepenos used in the sauce. My hubby likes it spicy though so he adds his own jalepenos on top on his own plate.

*I have no idea who to give credit to for this recipe as it was passed to me from a friend who visited there over 10 years ago…

 

As always, tag us at @OnMissionMoms and share a pic of your family enjoying this yummy meal and praying for this beautiful country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Ideas

Lessons from Donuts

Our morning didn’t go quite like we had planned thanks to the rain but it opened up our schedule to celebrate and enjoy National Donut Day and have some great conversations about loving and serving others! We stopped and grabbed our free donuts from Krispy Kreme and then we decided to buy some for daddy and his coworkers too. Our oldest picked out all the fun flavors she loved like chocolate covered, chocolate covered with sprinkles, and strawberry with sprinkles. You can guess her favorite thing is sprinkles!

As we were on our way to surprise them, she began to talk about all the ones she wanted us to keep for ourselves and take home so that we could enjoy them. This was a great opportunity to chat with her about what we were doing and why. We were taking donuts to daddy and his friends to surprise them and to show them how much we loved them. It wasn’t about us or about donuts or sprinkles. We talked about how we shouldn’t keep all the donuts for ourselves even though they are our favorite kinds, because God tells us to love and serve others first before ourselves.

It was the perfect opportunity to just chat about denying ourselves and thinking of others first.

How are you seizing opportunities to help your little ones grasp the whole concept of thinking of others before themselves? In our culture today, it’s hard!! But I’m realizing it is really just in the little simple moments like car rides and conversations about favorite donuts like we had today where the big truths are woven into their hearts!

And we get fancy on National Donut Day!! I’m learning to pick my battles. It’s okay that you wear a fancy yellow costume dress with pink sandals… haha

And don’t feel too sorry for them! They did get to enjoy a sprinkle donut too!

Mission Ideas, On Mission

China: Praying & Eating

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We have recently fallen in love with China around our home. This past school year, our family “adopted” a college student at one of our local colleges that had moved here from China on a two year program. We hosted her in our home. We celebrated Thanksgiving with her and a few other holidays. We met for dinner and enjoyed our little town together. She is a breath of fresh air and just loves (or tolerates) my crazy family. She returned back home to China for her summer break and we already miss her. There is usually not a day that goes by that my oldest doesn’t ask if we can send her a funny picture or how much longer until she comes back. It’s hard to explain to a two and a five year old the concept of summer break lasting three whole months! ha

She has taught us lots of fun things about China like how to make homemade dumplings. We also celebrated Chinese New Year with her and many of the other families students and my girls fell in love with the food and attempting to eat with chopsticks.

This summer while our student is away, our plan is to continue to pray for her and enjoy some yummy Chinese food to remind us of her until she returns. It’s not as good as her homemade dumplings though!

Praying:

  • Pray for the national church that is highly persecuted right now. Pray that they will be wise and bold.
  • Pray for families to come to know Jesus. Many do know follow Jesus and many are living in a spiritual darkness.
  • Pray for missionaries living and serving in this beautiful land and among these beautiful kind people.

Eating:

There are quite a few Chinese recipes that are easy to make so I’m just going to share some links to different recipes and be sure to also check out our Pinterest Page for more ideas!

Classic Chinese Chow Mein

The Best Fried Rice

Chinese Dumplings

Or if you’re like me some nights during the summer and you just don’t want to cook, stop by a local Chinese restaurant, bring it home, and then spend some time praying for China together! Don’t forget to use the chopsticks. It’s always fun to try new ways to eat the yummy food too!

What are your favorite Chinese dishes?

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 !

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.

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!