Blog, On Mission, Uncategorized

A Mom (and daughter) On Mission: Angela & Sierra

One of my most favorite families and mentors, Angela, recently took her youngest daughter to Brazil to serve and share Jesus! Angela has great wisdom as a wife and mom, but most of all, she’s a lady that loves Jesus and wants other to know Him here in Spartanburg and around the world!

1. Introduce you and your fun family!

My name is Angela and I am wife to my best friend Greg, and mom to seven of my most favorite people in the world.

2. How/why did you feel led to go on this trip and bring Sierra with you? Or did she want to go first?

My parents are missionaries in Brazil, so the opportunity to minister in this country is ever present. My four older kids have all been to Brazil to do missions work and two of them have been there for an extended amount of time. About a year ago, Sierra, who was 15 at the time, said she really wanted to go. At that time I was not sure if she was just curious about a country that she had heard so much about or if she was hearing God’s call to go. After Christmas, I begin to feel God calling me to go out of the country on mission. This surprised me a bit, because I had felt for some time that I was content to stay home and “hold down the fort” allowing several of my family members to travel and be on mission.  Shortly after that, Sierra came to me and said she really wanted to go to Brazil in the summer. We have typically tried to cultivate curiosity for mission trips in our children but desire that the calling come from God. From that point on, Sierra was convinced she was supposed to be in Brazil this summer.  God confirmed to me and to her that this was something he had put the desire in her heart for.  One evidence was that her desire did not waiver. She was comfortable missing out on things that had previously been valuable to her, in order to be where God was leading her. For those of you with teenagers, you know that stepping out and doing something different is not the norm.

3. How did you prepare yourself and help her prepare?

I wanted our time in Brazil to be as profitable as possible. I knew we needed to prepare for the trip just as much spiritually, as we were physically. I went to the IMB (International Mission Board) website and found a Bible study to help us prepare. The study was a tool to cultivate spiritual conversations to help us prepare. We talked about why we should share our faith and how to share faith, what happens when share our faith and even practiced sharing our faith. We read scripture together and prayed for the people that would be in our path as we went. The study even covered things to be conscience of while we were in route and how to prepare for a different culture. The most valuable part was just talking with Sierra about the Gospel and hearing what it meant to her.

4. What lessons did you learn serving together?

I was reminded how much freedom there is in obedience. When we obey God, we don’t have to worry about the outcome or even the process. We leave that to Him. In obedience we are able to get a clear picture of God and all He wants for us.

5. What advice would you give Moms about going on missions with your children?

I constantly remind myself that my children are not my own and no matter how much I love them, God loves them infinitely more. If the goal for my kids is to love God and love other people . . .and it should be, then I must give them opportunities to do just that. Love God by sharing what he has done for us. Love God by sacrificing time and money to go where He has called. Being “on mission” with your child enables you to see them in a whole new light. You see the talents and abilities that God has given them. Knowing these strengths, you can look for opportunities to serve based on their giftedness. Remember when we are on missions with our kids sometimes we need to step back and let them lead. Let the Holy Spirit speak to them and don’t interfere. Many times God uses our kids to teach others and US!

Thank you Angela for your wisdom and encouragement to raise our kiddos to be World Changers who love JESUS and love others and for sharing your most recent journey with Sierra!

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Blog, Mission Ideas, Uncategorized

Heading Back to School

It feels like this summer has FLOWN by for us! It was my first summer at home with the girls full time and in between visits with their cousins, Vacation Bible School, swim lessons, and play dates, we enjoyed just being together. If I’m honest though, I’m kinda sad that they will be heading back to school in just a couple weeks. I know that not everyone feels that way though! I have several friends who are counting the hours down! That may be me by next week! HA!

As we are gearing up for school this coming year, I am beginning to think of ways that we need to get ready. Yes, we will be buying the school supplies and the new backpack. (Who knew that preschoolers needed school supplies!?!) But I also want to prepare their hearts to go back too. I want them to see this as a new year, a new start, and new opportunities to see others around them.

Here are some ideas for us as we head back:

  1. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!  Begin praying even now before you go back. Pray with your kiddos for their new school year. Pray for their teacher. Pray for their friends who they already know and for the new friends that they will make. Pray for the administration of their schools and for those in authority over them this coming year. Invite and encourage them to pray for these things too! Meet up with other parents and friends and prayer walk at your school too! I know locally there are several prayer walks that happen at schools at the beginning of each year. Join one or organize one!
  2. Look for the NEW Families! This is fresh on my mind this year because my girls will be the new kids this year. We’ve loved our previous preschool but when I resigned my position, we also made the decision to move them to a preschool that was closer to where we lived. As my four year old was chatting with me before bed the other evening, she shared that one thing she was nervous about was not having any friends. She’s four and already feels the pain of not knowing anyone. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the third grader or the eighth grader or even the senior in high school. Let’s be parents that open our hearts and our lives to the new and encourage our kids to do the same! Encourage them to play with them, invite them in, make them feel at home. And let’s do the same for the new mamas too!
  3. Be FOR your child’s teacher! I believe that teachers have one of the hardest jobs – hands down! Not only do they have to be at their best all day for 20-30 children at a time, they have to answer to the authority over them, and meet state and national requirements, all the while keeping parents pleased too… whew, that’s tough! Let’s do our best to offer encouragement to our teachers, to be patient with them, to back them (maybe even if we don’t agree with them). You can do that by asking them what they need, showing up to offer help when they need it, sending a goody or two (even when it’s not a holiday), thanking them. We never know what battles our teachers are facing – they are people just like you and I and sadly, many people forget that during the course of the school year.
  4. Be involved! Sign up to go on that field trip. Help with that class party. Check to see if you can read to your child’s class. Ask how you can be involved. As believers, we have lots of opportunities to shine the light of Christ in our child’s classroom. Don’t miss those opportunities. For mamas that are working, many times there are morning activities for children who have to arrive early. Several years ago, I had a fun opportunity to go and read to kids who arrived early at a local school. It was early but it was fun and all I had to do was read, which was about all I could muster so early! ha Look for ways to use your gifts too. Some schools have book clubs, drama clubs, art clubs, computer clubs,  running clubs, and so on… Just ask how you can get plugged in! And keep asking!
  5. Serve kids and families in need. There are many kids who will come to school with your kiddo who may or may not have enough to eat or clean underwear.  They will head out on Friday unsure of what they will eat over the weekend too.  There are ministries that provide a backpack of food for a child to take home on Friday and return on Monday to receive it again the following week. Donate canned goods, your time or financially to those ministries. Also many schools have food pantries or keep extra clothes for those families that need assistance. While teachers and administration can’t give you specific children and families, they can share the needs with you.  Just be sure to keep your eyes and your hearts and your hands open. Also, just know that many teachers take it upon themselves to buy that new pair of shoes for the child in their class who’s shoes have fallen apart. So maybe you could send a teacher a gift card to help with those items too!

I’m mostly new at this heading back to school thing, so what ideas have you put in to practice to help you and your kiddos get ready to head back to school! Let’s share our ideas and encourage one another as a new school year kicks off!

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The Bridge Family Prayer Room Work Day

Come join us on Saturday, June 16th from 8:30-12 to help us get this room up and going! We will be cleaning and painting at this work day. And your kiddos are welcome to come with you if you believe they would be able to work alongside of you.

If you aren’t local or can’t serve on that day, we have another way you can be a part of this fun creation. We’ve created an Amazon wish list with items that we would like to have for the room.

Let us know if you’re coming so we can make sure we have supplies ready!

Blog, Mission Ideas, On Mission, Uncategorized

Service Opportunity: Family Prayer Room

On the third floor of the Bridge, a community ministry center located in the Northside, there is a Prayer Center. A place where you can go and pray, get quiet before the Lord, and hear from Him. It’s a quiet, sweet place set aside for individual and group prayer times.

Steve Wise, Minister of Missions at First Baptist Spartanburg, has quite the plan for that place and would love to see a family prayer room become a part of the Prayer Center. That’s where we, as On Mission Moms, come in!

We’ve been asked to help plan and prepare that room for families to use as a place to come, with their little ones in tow, and pray together. What would you like to see in a family prayer room? Maybe a chalkboard wall for the little ones to draw their prayers on while Mom prays, maybe some rocking chairs to rock in as the family prays and the baby snoozes, It’s a blank page and we get to design it!

So, let’s get together and pray, plan, and prepare to get to work! We will be meeting, Wednesday, May 23rd at 6:30 in the Bridge Prayer Center. Come ready to pray and dream together and then let’s get ready to serve and build a Family Prayer Room, where we can bring our little ones to be a part of praying for God to do big things in our home, in our city, and around the world!

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Service Opportunity: SPIHN Holiday Baskets

Christmas is always a FUN time with family and friends – seeing Santa and Christmas lights, decorations around the house, wrapping gifts for the people we love, Jesus in a manger…

Christmas is also a GREAT time to model for our children how to love and serve others and share about that tiny baby in the manger…

the whole reason we celebrate Christmas…

There are LOTS of ways to serve this Christmas season. Here is just ONE way…

spihn holiday basket

We will be collecting Holiday Baskets for SPIHN families who will be staying in a hotel throughout the week. They will have the opportunity to cook in a limited way (the hotel has a stove top but no oven). They will need items like pots/pans, plates, paper towels, napkins, dish detergent, to go containers, etc.

We will also be putting together a few items to help them celebrate Christmas together as a family. Items like a small artificial Christmas tree, ornaments (for them to decorate together). A fun, easy family activity that they can do together like a gingerbread house kit, decorating prebaked sugar cookies, reading the Christmas story together.

If you would like to join the fun, email Misty Huey at mistydhuey@gmail.com for a complete list and deadlines!

 

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Service Project Idea: Overflow Thanksgiving Food Boxes

Thanksgiving is next week… Next week… NEXT Week… I’ve been working on Overflow for several months now and that still seems surprising to me!

overflowlogo

Overflow is a simple easy way to involve our families – even the littlest ones!

If you don’t know much about it, where have you been?! Just Kidding! For real, if you don’t know much about it – here’s a  quick overview and be sure to find out more from the website (www.overflowspartanburg.com) Overflow food boxes are distributed to community families in need of Thanksgiving assistance. You fill a food box that you pick up from FBS, bring it back filled with the specific items,  it’s delivered to families on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (which is NEXT week!). It’s that simple!

Here are some ways to make it fun!

  1. Let your little one help you buy the items needed and pack the box with you. Let them buy one or two items with money from their piggy bank. They will take great pride in picking it out, paying the cashier, taking it home and packing it – unless, it’s macaroni and cheese and you are three and can’t seem to part with that super healthy box of yummy cheesy goodness (?!?)
  2. Let your little one  be creative with the Food Box. Pull out those paints and markers and let them write a message, draw a picture, just be little. I’m sure the families will smile big when it is delivered to them. Who doesn’t smile at a turkey hand?!?
  3. Take time to let your little one write a note to the family, encouraging and praying for them. And actually spend time praying over your box and the family that will receive your food box once you pack it.
  4. Of course – bring the box back! Let your little one see ALL the boxes that will be coming back. We have given out right at 1200 boxes – that’s a LOT of boxes – representing lots of families in our community in need.
  5. Let your whole family deliver boxes together. It takes about one to two hours to deliver about 5 boxes. You will be given the family’s information and you put the boxes in your car and go!  You can sign up to volunteer at the website (which again is http://www.overflowspartanburg.com )

 

It’s really that simple and easy and FUN too and helps our little ones see a bigger different world out there, while learning great lessons on serving others.

Have you been a part of Overflow or something like it? If so, share with us your experience!

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A Mom on Mission: The Cogdills

I am Kellee Cogdill and my family lives on the outskirts of the Serengeti in Musoma, Tanazania, East Africa. This has only been our address for five years. Spartanburg was our previous address and we lived there for seven years. My husband, Patrick, worked for Milliken in the IT department and I have been a stay at home mom since 1999. We have six beautiful children: Eli 17, Ethan 15, Emilee 13, Elliot 12, and twins Eden and Evan 8. We currently work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Patrick is IT support for an 8 language translation project which represents 1.5 million mother tongue speakers who are waiting for a Bible in their heart language.  I home school our children on the field and also dabble in a little translation work. My heart is in discipleship, so I am working with two nationals in translating a Precept 40 min. Bible study into the national language of Kiswahili.

No, we have not always wanted to live half way around the world, but we have always wanted to be a part of Jesus’ commission to tell the world of the Gospel. Every believer should have this desire and it needs to be reflected in the day to day living in your home. So, you might ask, “How do you raise your children to be intentionally missional?” That is a very good question and one that looks different for every family. Honestly, Patrick and I attribute our hearts for missions to the Bible. Hence the reason we are with a Bible translation organization.

In 2009, after much wrestling with the Lord, this became our mission statement as a family:

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Matthew 13:44 NLT

It took many years of being married and raising our children before we wrote this out as a family. I encourage you to take some time and write a mission statement for your family. Patrick and I desired our children to find the “joy” or “excitement” in the Gospel. I spent many years being very intentional with my children about what it means to follow after Jesus. I did this with the Bible. For years our morning devotions consisted on reading through the Bible together and biographies of past missionaries. The children and I included books, sometimes very hard books that showed us what real sacrifice in living for Jesus looks like. I never tried to minimize the cost of what it means to choose Jesus. Patrick and I are students of inductive Bible study and were daily challenged by digging and applying God’s words to our lives. We included the children in our love for the scriptures. When either of us learned something new as we studied, we shared it with the children. No, they did not always understand mommy and daddy’s excitement but God used His word to touch our hearts and soften the hearts of our children to the truth.

We also began to be intentional about how we lived. Halloween changed from trick or treating to studying about the reformation. Thanksgiving meant adopting an apartment complex near our house and cooking for the residents there. At Christmas we gave each of our children a certain amount of money and a gift catalog to various mission organizations. They bought mosquito nets, goats, chickens, and paid school fees for children in developing countries. They did not mind that they had nothing under the tree because they truly felt the joy in the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

We sold everything and went. Please pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Feel better? I want you to understand that I am not telling you that you have to pick up and move to Africa. I believe that obedience to Jesus can be lived out anywhere, especially at home. Initially this was our desire. We were going to sell everything and live intentionally in Spartanburg. Honest. But God had another place for us to call home. The point of this part of the story is obedience. Don’t box God in and miss out on His glory. Release your family into His hands, His feet, His love. He could carry you down the street, to another state, or another country.

God loves your children. If you are reading this blog then you must have a desire to see your kids live out their lives for the Lord. Well, that does not magically happen. Speak, live, and joyfully serve His name at home and your kids will do the same. There is no magical formula. Dedicate and defend your home for the glory of the Lord, be a student of His word, faithful to be on your knees in prayer, and your children will do the same.

I love you sweet, hard-working, mama. We are in this journey together whether we live next door to each other or we live continents apart. If you want your kids to serve the Lord then be their example. Include them in the Joy of Christ and all the other details will fall in place including your hearts.

Lovingly from Africa,

Kellee Cogdill

 

At First Baptist Spartanburg, we recently had the opportunity to share a video that the Cogdills put together introducing us to their world and work of Bible Translation.  Be sure to check it out to learn more about all that God is doing through the Cogdill family!