On Mission Service Ideas

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, to reach out to their neighbors and not to be complacent in their call to follow Christ.  She also shared that many nationals struggle with complacency and where she served there was great instances of white supremacy. 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Blog

Summer Reading Fun

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We love summer time and we love reading around here! Our local library has a summer reading program that my girls love to be a part of and they are already filling up their little list of all their fun books that we have read together so that they can turn it in at the end of the summer for a prize. It’s a fun way to keep them excited about reading and it gives us a fun reason to head to the library just about every week.

Of course, reading is so very important for many reasons but one of the reasons that I love the most is that it opens their eyes and hearts to places they have never been before. I strive to be intentional with the books that we check out of the library and get a few books about life in another country or culture so that they can see now as little ones that life isn’t always like their life here in America. I want them to see that children don’t always have lots of toys or that their names are different and foods are different. I also want to be able to walk alongside of them and answer their questions and remind them that even though cultures and countries and people are different, God created all people and He loves them deeply and so should we!

If you are looking for some fun books for reading time this summer with your little ones, here are some fun ones that we have and LOVE!!

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Beatrice’s Goat

Rain School

My Name is Yoon

We All Went on Safari

A Piece of Home

How Many Donkeys

Mama Panya’s Pancakes

Those Shoes

Name Jar

Last Stop on Market St. 

We are always looking to read new books about different places and peoples, so what would you add to the list?

 

*I am not an Amazon affiliate and do not receive anything from your purchase! I just want to share some of our favorite books in hope they will become some of your favorites too!

 

On Mission

Moving To Action: World Refugee Day

Refugees have been close to my heart for some time now. Traveling to the Middle East a few years ago to see a little of their world was not only eye opening but heart breaking. We see and hear a lot on the news but how can we as mamas know where to even begin… honestly, I sometimes just stay stuck in the “heart break” stage.

My super fun friend Misty works with World Relief, an organization that walks alongside refugees and helps them get settled in their new homes. She was kind enough to answer my questions and help us know what we can do.

It’s also World Refugee month during June leading up to World Refugee Day today, June 20th. Will you take a minute to read and respond as God leads your heart.

 

Photo Credit: World Relief Organization

“America is so great. The mail comes every day here.” 

I have never sat back on my couch and been in awe of our postal system- I am certain it is because I take amenities like receiving the mail daily for granted, but this was the first thing a refugee mentioned when asked about first impressions of the U.S. Since 2015, over 450 refugees have been resettled in Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg County. Each day at work, I have the opportunity to serve refugees daily and partner with them as they begin to rebuild their lives in a place they have never known. As an employee of World Relief and a major fan of On Mission Moms, there are a few things I want you to know about the refugees we serve!

1. A refugee does not choose to come here. 

A refugee, by definition, is someone who has been forced to leave their home country because their lives or safety have been threatened. Today, over 65 million people in the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes. International law defines a refugee as someone who leaves their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for one of these five reasons: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership in a particular social group (UNHCR).  For more info, be sure to read, “What is a Refugee.” 

Refugees are not the same as any other kind of immigrant or asylum seeker. Resettlement is the last option for a refugee, and they are placed in a variety of countries. Generally (there are a few caveats) a refugee does not get to choose the country they will move to. An extensive vetting process makes the Refugee Resettlement Process the most difficult way of entering the US. The average processing time for a refugee’s case is just over 18 years. This means that if a person is a part of the small percentage that has the opportunity to go to another country, they will wait years before the move actually comes to fruition. 

2. Not all refugees are the same.

Refugees have all experienced persecution but because they come from all over the world, they are very different from each other. They are light skinned and dark skinned and Christian and Muslim. They are eating things we have never heard of but also passing you in Costco. They dream of having families or growing up and being mamas. They dream about the career they will have and have hopes for their children. They want a family and a safe, peaceful life for themselves. 

A volunteer, Jim, recently stated, “As much as we’re different, we’re a lot alike. Some of us have just been given better opportunities at certain times. We have the same basic needs, the same desires for our families. So I really believe we have a responsibility to love and serve our vulnerable neighbor.”

3. Refugees make America better. 

The only thing that has really stood out to me as typical amongst our diverse population of refugees is their spirit of hospitality. More often than not when I walk through the door of someone’s home, I am given tea and water with a variety of accompaniments! I had to say accompaniments; there is not a better word that describes the plethora of snacks I am given. It has completely reshaped the way I think about hospitality and inviting people into my life.  

Extensive studies have been done to show how essential refugees are to the U.S economy. They pay more in taxes than the amount of help we give them in the beginning, and they are essential to filling vacant jobs to keep our country’s businesses going. 

Will you take a minute to read about the contributions of Refugees here? 

4. We need your help. 

  • GIVE. Our office has recently undergone some budget cuts. We are constantly doing more with less and need private donations more than ever before. Your donations could go towards things like bus tickets to get clients to work, stocking an apartment with groceries, etc. World Relief is holding a fundraising campaign for the entire month of June.  If you would like to donate to our local World Relief office, click here! 
  • Volunteer – Volunteer to be a “Friendship Partner” or “Language Partner” to another mom with little ones! 
  • Notes – Have your children write some notes to other littles for us to place in backpacks! These notes would be encouraging them as they prepare for their first day of school in a new country, where they don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language. 
  • Put together a Welcome Kit! We have a list of essential items that make up a “Welcome Kit.” Every refugee family receives one upon arrival. 

 

Where can we go to learn more about the Refugee process or how to be involved? 

For questions about our office or our work, please contact me. I would love to chat with you about the backgrounds of some of our refugees and how they make it to the Upstate. If you are willing to volunteer, I can connect you with our Volunteer and Church Mobilization Specialist to discuss our training process!! Our contact info is here! 

 

 

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!