We’ve seen this beautiful country all over the news lately after a catastrophic explosion in Beirut. I honestly did not know much about this place before this happened, other than the food was yummy and the Lebanese people were so very resilient and strong. As the news has been coming out, it’s truly heartbreaking at the loss of life and the devastation that is so evident in Beirut and all across the country. This month, our family will be learning as much as we can about this beautiful country and praying for them as they continue to rebuild and recover.
As we prepare a meal, read books, and learn, we will also be enjoying a yummy meal and spend time praying for the devastation in that land. There are a LOT of recipes over on Pinterest for making Lebanese food. Be sure to follow our On Mission Moms Pinterest Page for Lebanese Recipe ideas. We also have a yummy restaurant that serves great middle eastern food near by which we hope to support as well. Do you have a local restaurant that you can support during this time?
A prayer meal is simply that – an opportunity to pray for a country or place as you eat a yummy meal that is from that land. It’s also an opportunity to eat some things that may not necessarily be something you eat all the time or maybe you’ve never tried before. This helps our little ones learn about how places are different and cultures have different foods and while they are different than what we are used to, it’s not “bad”. This is a simple way to help our little ones see that there is value and importance in other cultures around the world.
There are also several great non-profits currently on the ground there that are working to help those in need. If you would like to learn more about what is happening and how we can support financially during this time, be sure to follow: Preemptive Love and Heart for Lebanon.
The news has been filled with lots of stories lately centered around human trafficking and at times I’ve almost been paralyzed in the where and the how and the what to do next with all the info coming our way. I asked my sweet friend, Mary Beth Williams, if she would tackle this really hard subject for us to help us know some simple first action steps. I’m so thankful for sweet friends like her that even in the midst of raising her super adorable kiddos, she’s living on mission, learning, and leading us to learn more and step up more too!
Also, a local ministry working with trafficking is Switch and they are doing an amazing job of rescuing and coming alongside women who have been trafficked because it happens right here in SC and right where you live too!
Thank you Mary Beth for the wisdom that you share below!
Human Trafficking – what do you know about it? Do you think it happens in the US or just overseas or in developing countries? Do you think young children are involved or is it mainly teens and adults? Do you think it requires traveling/transporting people to different cities or countries? Until recently, I had uninformed answers to these questions. But then I began to research and learn about the horrific circumstances people – especially young children – are subjected to in this multi-billion dollar industry that operates in the US and all over the world.
As a mother of two toddlers, it is hard to read and learn about instances of children as young as six months old being exploited and sold (even by their own families within their own homes) for sex. I look at my children and know I would do anything to protect them, and it makes me physically ache to think about children being exploited, abused, tortured, raped, and all of the unimaginable evils that are really happening to trafficked people in what is literally modern-day slavery (also including forced labor and organ harvesting operations). But we, as adults and especially Christ-followers, must be aware and informed of these realities in order to be spurred into action to stop these crimes. It is a battle against evil, and we must bring light to the darkness. We must be the voice for the voiceless. I became overwhelmed at the beginning of my awareness journey in wanting to help these victims, but there are many practical ways that everyone can be involved as abolitionists against human/child trafficking.
First, be aware. As a starting point, visit OURRESCUE.ORG or follow O.U.R. Rescue on socials to learn more about their fight against trafficking and what the realities are in this industry. Watch their free documentary on Amazon Prime called “Operation Toussaint” that gives a first-hand insight into their operations and how trafficking occurs. This will take time and will affect you emotionally, but we can’t stay uninformed because it’s “too hard” for us to think about when these children and people desperately need our help. Pray that God would give you the endurance to learn and seek justice for these victims.
Second, receive training on identifying and reporting suspected trafficking activity. Complete the free online training (takes about 1 hour) on OURRESCUE.ORG to learn the signs of trafficking and what to do if you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking. Did you know that the US is the largest producer AND consumer of sexual exploitation material in the world? It’s happening everywhere. Also, learn how to protect your own children from online predators and be involved in their media usage.
Third, speak up and get involved. Spread awareness to family/friends/coworkers/via socials, make a donation/become a monthly donor or become a volunteer for an anti-trafficking organization such as O.U.R., write to your elected officials to bring awareness and show support for legislation regarding trafficking, attend events and peaceful demonstrations to bring awareness, commit to staying informed, and pray daily for the liberation of trafficking victims.
July 30th is internationally recognized as a day against human trafficking. There are many ways you can advocate for freedom for victims and get loud on this day. You can join a peaceful demonstration (visit O.U.R.’s website for locations all over the country and for specific details) and/or get loud from home (share on socials, fly yellow and blue balloons for awareness, make signs to display in your yard, etc.). It’s time we speak up for the voiceless, bring healing to the victims, and demand that this evil be brought to justice.
And while we combat this evil together, we will find peace and hope in knowing that Jesus Christ has won the ultimate victory over Satan, and the power of Jesus’s name will prevail over darkness. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s put on the armor of God, spread the Light of the World, and go to war.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13
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?
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!
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?