Mission Ideas, On Mission

Prayer Meal Idea: Your Own City

Typically for our Prayer Meal, I choose a different country around the world or city here in the states where I have friends serving and sharing Jesus. The first reason is to pray for those specific countries, peoples, cultures, and missionaries. The second reason is to expose our children (and maybe even us) to different foods and cultures with the thought that the more exposure that one has, the most excitement and passion one may have for that particular place, etc.

But this month, I couldn’t seem to shake the desire to simply pray for our very own cities, right where you are. It has been quite a “weird” few months as we have all dealt with the Coronavirus and the effects it has had on our own families, churches, and towns where we live. Many people are without jobs. Some are so very sick. Restaurants and local businesses may be struggling greatly because of this time. Our very own cities need our prayers and they need our financial support. This month, will you set aside a meal time to pray for your city and support it by purchasing a meal from your favorite restaurant?


Some Prayer Ideas:

Pray for your mayor and town leadership. They have such hard decisions to make in the days ahead as they figure out how to reopen their cities. Whether we agree or disagree with them, they need our prayers!

Pray for your pastor and church leadership. The same applies to them! The decision of how and when to open is daunting and many people will have lots of thoughts and opinions. Pray for wisdom and grace.

Pray for restaurants and small business owners. The stress that they feel is huge. Ask the Lord to expand their businesses and to bless them during this time.


I’m thankful for Spartanburg, SC the county where I live and I know that I will have a super hard time choosing my favorite restaurant to support but now more than ever, I want to support my city in simple fun ways like eating and praying!


How are you praying and supporting your city during this time?
Hop over to our Instagram @onmissionmoms or our Facebook Group and share what your family will be doing to love and support your very own city!

For another fun little way to support your city, go on a prayer walk with the kiddos around your city. Our city has fun lightbulbs all around and it’s fun to use those as prayer points all around the city. Does your city have a fun way to prayerwalk around it?

Mission Ideas, On Mission

Teacher Appreciation Week: Showing our Teachers extra LOVE!

Typically the first week of May is set aside for Teacher Appreciation Week but this week looks so very different this year! My oldest daughter and I were chatting about how we could show love to our teachers despite these differences and we came up with a few ideas that I’ve shared below. We also began to remember and think back on what a great year she has had in Kindergarten. While we are sad that it ended very differently and abruptly, we are also rejoicing for the time together at home, for new ways of learning, and for the sweet and hard moments. We also are rejoicing and so very thankful for all the of the hard work that our teachers have put in for us! They have sent us messages, put together learning packets, posted assignments, called her through Zoom, paraded through our neighborhood, and even surprised her with a free Happy Meal from McDonald’s (which is a super fun treat for her!) And while I wish that I could put together a fun goody basket of yummy treats or help cater a lunch, or all the hundreds of other ideas that are posted over on Pinterest, we can’t really do that this year.

But we can…

Email them a gift card to Starbucks! You can do this from your Starbucks app and it’s super fun and fast!

Purchase some items off of their Amazon Wishlist. Most teachers have built one at some point!

Share a reward with them from your ChickFilA app!

Have flowers delivered to them either at the school for them to pick up or at their home. You may want to check with the school first to see what can be delivered to there during this time.

Have your child simply make a quick video saying hello and thank you!

Have your child draw a picture or make a card and mail it or take a pic and email it to them.

But most of all, we can pray for them and keep telling them how much we love and support them!

What ideas can you share to show love to your children’s teachers?

Don’t forget the many different teachers they have such as their dance teachers or their piano teachers or their Sunday School teachers. Our children have many people who are serving them from behind a computer screen right now and could use some encouragement and extra love!

On Mission

Serving Others after the Storm

Photo Taken from Spartanburg City Facebook Page

Our sweet little city took a pretty hard hit yesterday with tornados striking in several places. It was pretty scary, honestly, and we are all praising Jesus that no one was killed that we are aware of at this point. Our city leadership, county and city officers, and linesmen have done an amazing job assessing and beginning the cleanup.

Now our community will be serving and working and cleaning! If you’re local and looking for ways to step in, there are opportunities all around us! It might be a little harder with our little ones with us but there are always ways to serve! Here are just a few simple ideas.

1. Buy some coffee or bake something yummy! Stop by and grab a big carafe of coffee and cups and all the sugar and creamers. Or bake some muffins or cookies or a little easy snack and stop and deliver it to our linesmen and tree clean up crew! They are working today in really windy and quite dangerous conditions even though the storm has passed and will be for many more days!

2. Open your fridge and your home! A lot of our friends are without power and it may be a couple days before it’s restored. Offer to store their items in your fridge. Invite another mama over to hang out, take a nap or whatever she needs. Go and pick up their kiddos so they can have a few hours to clean up or work around their homes without distractions.

3. Buy them a gift card! Our friends may not even be aware of what they need yet. Their power is still off and they just wanna figure out the next step. Stop by Publix or Ingles and grab a gift card. Trust me, when you start having to replace all the food in your fridge it adds up. Grab a gift card to a pizza place or nice restaurant. They will be so excited when they don’t have to think about where dinner is coming from because it’s not coming from their fridge right now.

4. Call and Listen. Yesterday was scary for some. Ask your friend or neighbor or even the lady behind the cash register if they are doing okay and let them just talk. Just listen. They will want to tell their story more than likely. If they don’t, that’s okay too. Just be ready to listen. Be ready to pray. Be ready to encourage their weary, overwhelmed and anxious hearts with the truth that God loves them and you love them.

5. Step in and work! Spend a couple hours helping your neighbor or friend clean their yard or their house. If your little ones can help, great! Let them see the example that you set. You know what your little one can handle as their mommy. Check with your church for opportunities that they may be organizing. Make sure though that you’re doing the right kind of help at this point and not causing more harm or slowing down the work. Sometimes we need to step back and let the experts do what they know how to do.

Stepping in and serving our neighbors and friends during this time is so very important. May our city be known for how we loved and served other another and may they see Christ displayed after this terrible day of storms.

What other ideas could you share as we work to restore our city?

On Mission

Showing Up!

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A lot of my friends have had little ones with the flu recently and as a mama it gets a bit overwhelming when our little ones are sick.  We have to readjust our schedule to fit in doctor appointments, continue working, and try our best to keep the other kiddos well, among the million other things we already have going on. I’m tired just thinking about it all! This past week, one of our small group families had two of their little ones down with the flu and the ladies were all texting back and forth, encouraging this mama and promising to pray for them. We’ve only been meeting a few weeks together so several ladies don’t really know each other well. One of the ladies offered immediately to stop and bring them a meal.   I was amazed and convicted and so excited for both of the ladies!  As a side note, I’ll also share that this same sweet lady that offered had just closed on a new house and they were in the middle of moving, but she saw the importance of showing up. She reached out to this mama with sick little ones and offered a tangible help and blessed and challenged the rest of us in the text group. Isn’t that what the body of Christ should be doing? But how can we be like this sweet friend who decided to just show up!

1. Leave some margin in our schedule!   Man, we can fill up our calendars week to week, can’t we?!? We have to begin to leave some  blank space so when emergencies do arise, or a friend waves the white flag and needs some help, you can! Isn’t that what friends do for one another anyway? What do you need to say NO to in order to clear out some space to be a good friend? What do you need to say YES to? It’s all about learning to balance and prioritize our time, our wants, our desires and our callings. If we want to be a mama that shows up, then we have to live like a mama who shows up, right?

2. Keep some things on hand, ready to go!  I used to be really good about this. Living overseas, I often kept cookie dough in the freezer so when the doorbell rang, I could throw a few cookies in the oven and serve my guests. I’ve gotten quite lazy in this area though honestly. But, that’s no excuse.  It’s easy to make a double batch of chili or chicken noodle soup and freeze half of it for your family later or to give away. A couple of my favorite go to recipes are a Slow Cooker Chili Recipe or Easy Taco Mac.  It also doesn’t have to be extravagant! At times, I’ve bought into the lie that in order to serve someone else or invite some one over, my house has to be perfect, it has to be a four course meal, I have to pull out the fine china. You don’t. Just show up with a pot of chili, paper bowls, and plastic spoons. Or maybe stop by and grab a pizza and drop if off. Your friend will love you and be so very thankful and they won’t care if your containers all matched or not.

3. Just be that friend! Just decide to be that mama friend who loves and serves your other mama friends even when you’re inconvenienced or it’s not easy. Be the friend who sends the first text to check in when you saw their facebook post. Be the friend who grabs an extra coffee and drops it by your friend’s desk when you realized their morning had been pretty tough.  Be that mama friend who grabs a bottle of children’s tylenol or a LARGE container of ice cream and drop it off. Don’t let fear hold you back. Just ask and offer and be ready for the opportunity to serve and love.

Do you have a sweet friend who is having a hard week? Who do you need to show up for this week? Just show up! I’m so very thankful for a mama friend who stopped and noticed and served and loved, despite her own busy. She reminded me and challenged this mama’s heart in so many ways this past week. 

On Mission

Sending Well

I’m usually the one that is “going” so it was just kinda weird to not be the one packing the bag or boarding the plane this time. It was his turn though and I was determined to send him well!

We baked the cookies and hid the notes in his bag. We made a countdown paper chain to help us all visualize how many more sleeps we had. We had prayer points for each day to remind us how to pray for him. We FaceTimed a few times to be silly and giggle. We made the welcome home sign and drove to the airport.

But for me this time, it was also about more than just doing those little things. It was about preparing my own heart to see God work there with him and here with us too as we stayed home. It was about walking in faith and not in fear or anxiety, which I’m sometimes honestly prone to do.

I had to remind myself of these things (often):

1. God is the same loving and caring God here with us and present with him, 2000 miles apart.

2. God has called us to GO (and send, welcome, pray, and give) and He alone will sustain us whether it’s a week or a lifetime.

3. God is at work all around the world and also right here and He has welcomed us to be a part of His work!

Isn’t that worth celebrating!?

Was it hard, sure!

Were there tears? From all of us, at different times and different days!

Am I tired – it’s 7:30 and I’m already in my PJs…

But if God is calling us to go and send again, our answer is yes! In fact, I’m already planning my trip! Ha

And now that daddy is home, all is right in our little world.

On Mission

Local Mamas: Pray & Play

Join us for a fun morning of praying and playing at Jesse Boyd Elementary. While I wish we could do this at every school, we had to choose one. BUT, we will be spending some time praying for those schools that are represented.

We also want to bless the school and the teachers so please be sure to bring the best school supplies or a gift card that can be given to a teacher to use in her classroom as a simple way to say thanks and that we love them!

Be sure to sign up HERE to let us know that you are coming!

See ya there ready to pray and play and start our school year off with lots of fun!

On Mission

A Mom Who Goes, Carol Ann’s Story

I’m so thankful for my dear friend and former teammate, Carol Ann, who loves Jesus, her hubby, and her family and is such an example to me in her going – even with little ones!  I pray she encourages your heart to go too!

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Before you read my story, here is a quick word about me.  My name is Carol Ann.  I live in Norman, Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!).  I am wife to Blake, who runs Life For All International an International Pro-Life Ministry.  I am mom to Jordan (7) and Marcus (4).  I homeschool.  I serve in my church in many areas, but I especially love discipling college students.  I go on short term mission trips to Guatemala every year and last year went on a college trip to South Padre Island.

Missions is in my blood.  I can’t help it.  It’s how I was raised…in Panama (Central America) with a mom and dad who were called to take the Gospel to the nations.  My childhood was exciting and a blessing, which is something I took for granted until adulthood.  The lessons I learned were numerous.  I know what true poverty looks like.  I’ve seen a church planted and growing.  I’ve worshipped in a completely different context and culture.  I did not always appreciate where God placed my family, but I would not trade my childhood for anything.

As an adult, I’ve wrestled with my call to missions.  I married a guy who felt called, even though I was unsure of my call.  God worked that out and we headed off for two years in North Africa.  Even though we were passionate, we failed miserably and learned tough lessons on reliance on God and not on our own pride.  It was a hard season, but we always assumed we would land back on the mission field.

“Assume” is not a good word for a follower of Jesus.  We also assumed that we could have kids whenever we were ready.  God had other plans and more lessons to teach us about reliance on Him.  After some hard years of waiting, we adopted Jordan in 2012.  He was a fire cracker; full of energy and life.  He also had some bonus challenges as a result of pre-natal exposures.  But we loved being parents and tried to adopt again three times.  Once again, we assumed we knew what God had in store.  After a year of loss and grief, God surprised us with a biological baby.  Marcus was born in 2014 and is the sweetest boy I know.

So, there we were with this call to missions and yet, because of the challenges our then 3 year old was facing, we did not know what God had in store.  We had “assumed” that our call to missions meant our going, but God made it abundantly clear that this was not His plan.  It took a lot of wrestling to figure out that God wanted us to stay.  We handled it in our own ways, but to summarize, we are called to be Senders in our church.  We give, we pray, we teach, we encourage, and we go!

When my kids were born, short term missions was not on my radar, because most of my time and energy were spent restraining an overstimulated Jordan and keeping Marcus alive (if you’ve met him, you would understand that statement).  I was drowning in diapers, potty training, toys, discipline…you know the drill.  Being a mom to little humans is so hard.  But somewhere in the chaos, God whispered “You need to go”.  At our church’s annual missions banquet, a friend shared about his experience in Guatemala and his desire to take a group from our church.  I said “yes” to God and signed up, but the trip was still seven months out.

As the trip approached, my anxiety grew.  Marcus was 2 and Jordan was 5.  They were wild, and as I mentioned earlier, Marcus is extremely accident prone.  The day before the trip, my anxiety level was at an all-time high.  I purchased an overpriced security system and wrote an 8 page schedule (manifesto) with every single detail I could think of, including warnings about parking lots and water in the area.  Blake is a great dad.  He was willing to let me go, but I was a mess.  I was having nightmares about my kids getting hit by cars or drowning (hence the manifesto).  I forgot why I wanted to go.  I didn’t want to leave my kids.

But I did leave.  I got on the plane, only after one last call to my mother-in-law to remind her about the small lake by the ball fields.  But I got on the plane.  And I’m so glad I did.  Turns out, God protected my children even though Blake never read my manifesto.  I got home after a week and there they were with their unmatching clothes and dirty faces.  But they were alive!  All of the anxiety was for nothing.  And I’m so grateful that I went, because God showed me He was faithful and gave me a deep love for Guatemala in the process.

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I recently returned from my 5th week-long trip (3 to Guatemala, one to Padre, and one to Virginia).  This time I only had one pre-trip nightmare and my schedule for Blake was just a schedule with reminders about ball games and birthday parties.  Blake travels for his job, so my kids have adjusted to parents who go.  They even are counting down the years until they are 16 and can go to Guatemala with me.  Even though they are a little sad to send one of us off, they do just fine and they have learned so much from having parents who go.

So what does being a mom who goes look like?  Why do I do it?  Well, because I am a mom who loves Jesus and He can use me in all of my “Mom-ness”.

1. I do it for Jesus.  He saved me and He wants to use me.  He called me and He provides.  I can stay here and share the Gospel but I am honored that He would allow me the privilege of telling people in Guatemala about Him.

2. I do it for my kids.  I want them to understand God’s call for us to take the Gospel to the nations.  I’m so thankful that I can be an example of obedience.  They make sacrifices, yes.  But they do it for Jesus and for the people who are hearing God’s Word in Guatemala.

3. I do it for the moms in Guatemala.  I love sitting and encouraging a sweet lady who is overwhelmed with parenting children.  And many of them are parenting children in very difficult situations like extreme poverty or absent husbands.  On this past trip, I was able to share with a group of moms, all raising kids in the shadow of the dump, just how proud I was of them for how they were raising their children.  I have had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with many moms who have then accepted Christ.  They are now trying to teach their children and are praying for unbelieving husbands.  It’s a blessing to hug them and encourage them and pray for them.

4. I do it for the students on our teams.  I have several high school and college students who call me their “Guatemala Mom”.  This is a very specific passion that God has given me…to encourage and disciple students who are experiencing missions for the first time in their young lives.  I’ve held girls while they sobbed about the poverty and brokenness they had witnessed.  I’ve encouraged and counseled students as they struggle to share the Gospel.  I love the “on the ground” time with the girls on these trips and they have always turned into discipleship relationships here in Norman.  I’m even “mom” to a few boys, which means they can come to me for hand sanitizer and hugs.  I cheer them on and have had the joy of watching them mature into leaders who are experienced and passionate about sharing the Gospel.  I love being “Guatemala Mom”.  It’s a joy and a privilege to walk with these young people.

Being a mom who goes is a blessing to my family and to my church.  It’s not for everyone; I understand that.  It takes a lot of faith to get on that plane and leave your kids behind.  It takes a rock star husband who holds down the fort.  It takes lots of conversations with the kids about God’s heart for the nations.  That first trip was brutal.  I came very close to not going, but I’m so glad I did.  I would have missed out on so many blessings.  God doesn’t need me, but He’s chosen to use me and I get to go be a part of His work across the ocean.

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