On Mission Service Ideas

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?

On Mission

Fun Summer Service Ideas

Summer is my favorite!! Mostly because I truly do love to be outside, sitting on my back porch and playing with the girls in the sweltering heat. What’s not to love about that? But I also love the freedom of our schedule being wide open! No school! No early mornings! Very few extra activities that we “have” to be at. Just me and the girls and fun and friends!

Each summer I strive to choose a few ways to encourage the girls to serve and love others. Summer seems to be an easier time to do this because of our more open schedule. Here are a few easy ideas to help us make this the best summer ever!

1. Invite a few friends over for a popsicle and water playdate! Try to Invite friends who you don’t see often or need encouragement or maybe the mama that seems to have it all together – cause chances are, she may be longing for fellowship too!

2. Set up a lemonade stand and either give ice cold glasses of lemonade away just to simply say “we love our neighbors” or if you do decide to sell it, donate your profits to a local non-profit or church to use.

3. PrayerWalk a neighborhood and then spend a little while playing at the park. We have a local event called Pray & Play and if you’re local, join us for the next one on May 30 at 10:00am. Our little ones can pray too – they don’t have to be elaborate or fancy but they can be simple.

4. Spend an afternoon serving together at a food pantry or clothing closet! We did this last year with my oldest and my two nieces and we had a blast! I answered lots of questions and we may have not gotten a ton of clothing hung on hangers but my girls were challenged and their eyes were opened to the need right in their community!

5.!Make cards and a care package for friends serving Jesus around the world! Send a few pool or summer toys for their kiddos to enjoy too! Families love to get a little taste of home! If you don’t have someone that you can encourage, let me know and I can help you get connected!

What are fun summer ways that you have served Jesus? Share with us over at Instagram so we can all be encouraged!

On Mission

Local Mamas: Pray & Play

Be sure to join us May 30th at 10:00am at The Bridge for a fun morning of prayer and play time! We will begin our time with a fun prayer walk through the Northside and then close it out at the brand new playground at The Bridge for some fun playtime.

The Bridge is a community ministry center of First Baptist Spartanburg at the former Green St. Baptist Church located at 317 Green St. It is open to serve those in need through financial support, clothing and food ministries. There are also children’s programs and a bike program. It’s such a fun and exciting place to be!

Our desire is that this time will help you and your little ones to be intentional in all you do whether it’s playing or praying. It’s also just a lot more fun to serve with other mamas and their littles!

There is no cost to attend; however, we do ask that you bring a few canned items for us to donate to The Bridge. Also, be sure to wear some good walking shoes, grab your stroller, water bottles, and some sunscreen. Be sure to sign up at our Event Page and let us know that you are coming.

On Mission

It’s the “Little” Things!

A sweet mama friend, Teal, recently shared in her Instagram stories how God was using her little ones to do something that may seem “small” but in reality was quite HUGE and I had to ask her to share her story with us! And her kiddos are just the cutest! I pray that it reminds you this week that God is using our little ones and it’s usually just the simple things!

Being a mom changes so much. What I think about, what I do, how I do it, when I do it – it’s all different now that I’m a mom! My name is Teal and I am wife to Martin and mom to Rose (3.5) and Grady (1).  Children changed everything for me. They have made me better.  Children notice things – big and small – they are observant little sponges soaking up everything in their surroundings. Children are easily awed by things they see or hear. They experience joy about things that we have become calloused to as we have grown. 

Becoming a mom has made me slow down. I now notice the small things. I now hear sounds I wouldn’t have paid attention to before. I now interact with people I would have probably passed without noticing before.
A very real example of this in our family is the big yellow school bus that turns our corner every afternoon at 4pm. I will admit that as an adult, the grandness of a school bus had long worn off for me. School buses didn’t excite me when I saw them drive past on the road or in front of my house. Now, they do! Especially one in particular. 
In the fall of 2018, we began noticing a pattern of the school bus stopping at our corner to let our neighbor off. Then the bus would beep several times before turning the corner and gearing up the hill at our house. Every afternoon at 4pm we would hear those beeps and the sound of the bus stopping and starting again. We were often just finishing snack after naptime and sometimes we were outside playing as she passed. That is when our relationship with the bus driver began. 
This sweet bus driver comes around the corner, up our hill, with her arm waving outside her open window. She has a smile that lights up her face and always enthusiastically waves to my 3.5 yr old, Rose. Every day Rose wakes up from her nap, runs down the hall to get a snack, and waits for that special sound. We hear those beeps and Rose runs to our front door. She swings the door open and begins waving even before the bus starts back up the hill. As the bus passes, Rose and that sweet driver are both enthusiastically waving their arms at one another with smiles across their faces.  The smile across MY face as I witness this sweetness every.single.day can also be seen across the road, I am sure.  
There have been days when Rose wakes from her nap and I have a list a mile long that I need to accomplish. Several times that I can account, I’ve told Rose “Let’s get your snack and eat it in the car on the way to the grocery store.” or “Let’s hurry and grab such-and-such on our way to see Daddy at work.” and every time Rose reminds me “But I have to wave to the bus driver!” In the moment, I might sigh and experience frustration at that “kink” in my schedule. But as soon as that sweet bus driver passes and intentionally waves and smiles at my girl, all that frustration fades away as I remember those small moments and the childlike joy God wants us to experience daily. 
Halloween of 2018 was the first time we spoke to Ms. Laura, the sweet bus driver. We were playing in the front yard as she passed and she stopped her bus right in front of our house and asked for me and Rose to come to her window. I hoisted Rose up to see Ms. Laura and she handed Rose some candy. It made Rose’s day even more special!  Days went by as we continued to wave and look for one another each day at 4pm.  On Valentine’s Day, Rose and I picked out a heart shape box of chocolates and Rose wrote Ms. Laura a note. We handed it to her as she drove by that week.  Along came the week before Easter, and Ms. Laura stopped in front of us and asked us to come to her window. She was grinning ear to ear as she handed two Easter buckets FULL of goodies for Rose and Grady. One pink and one blue. Both full of perfectly age-appropriate toys and goodies. I was in awe at her thoughtfulness. Here she is, a bus driver for the middle school, thinking about MY toddler and baby and spending her own money to bless my kiddos in an extra special way.  I was able to talk to Rose about Ms. Laura’s extreme kindness and we talked about how we could be extra kind to HER and bless her. Rose wanted to find some perfect goodies for Ms. Laura, so off we went.  We excitedly handed the Easter bag over to Ms. Laura the next afternoon as she passed.  I was able to write her a note of encouragement and thankfulness at the way she has blessed me and my children.  I was also able to share my faith and invite her to our church if she was not a member of a church. 
We do not know much about Ms. Laura. We really only know her name and her smile. I do not know if she is a believer or if she is a member of a church.  But I do know that she thinks my kids are special and she has treated them with an unordinary kindness. She has blessed our family tremendously – starting with intentional eye-contact, smiling, and waving and now with special gifts from her heart. Through this simple interaction with our sweet bus driver, I am reminded of the impact a simple wave can make. Or a simple greeting. What started so simple has grown into something even more special. May I always be on the lookout for moments like these to be a blessing to others like Ms. Laura has been to us.  Showing Christ’s love doesn’t have to be an extraordinary plan or production. It can be done through unordinary kindness. On a daily basis, we pass people and may not notice them. May we be on the lookout like Ms. Laura is for my 3.5 yr old standing in the doorway and may we go out of our way to extend simple kindness to one another.  I am eternally grateful for the lesson God has taught me through Ms. Laura, the bus driver, and Rose this school year. 

And for more cuteness, you have to check out this sweet little VIDEO that Teal put together of the simple waves and sweet relationship!

What simple ways can you and your little ones serve Jesus and love others this week?

On Mission

Storytime Alive Update

We had such a fun morning serving together with our little ones at Storytime Alive last week. It was a chance to gather together, read a story, make a craft and then serve together. I chose Last Stop on Market St which is a great book that tells the story of a sweet little boy who rides the city bus with his nana to serve at the Soup Kitchen every Sunday after church. After we read our story together, we began to make sandwiches for our local Soup Kitchen. Our little group was able to put together 80 sandwiches!! How awesome was that!! But even more awesome was that our little ones learned about what a Soup Kitchen is and that they can be a part of serving others.

We also had fun taking a “ride” on a city bus, making cards for our friends who would receive the sandwiches, making our own bus and playing at the sandwich shop!

Serving others doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be as simple as reading a story and letting it come alive like it did for us!

What other books could you read with your little one and then serve in some simple way?

On Mission

Living “On Mission” for the Unborn

I recently asked my friend, Anna, to share her heart on how we can respond and live “On Mission” around the topic of abortion. I have to admit, she wrote this directly to me. I’m the “ostrich mom” that just wants to “pretend” it isn’t happening, but it is… sadly.

If abortion is a hard topic for you, I encourage you to read this, seek Godly council, and pray about how you can respond. If you have chosen abortion in your past, please know that you are loved and welcome here.

“I don’t wanna look! I cannot do it! My poor baby.” I have literally cried out these words at each of my 3 babies’ well check-up appointments as shots and immunizations are administered. I hide my face in my hands as an ostrich hides his face in the sand. I mean, if I cannot see it, it is not really happening, right? And, if I don’t see it, the pain of my heart will be spared. That sounds fair, right?

Wrong.

I never knew, in my “pre-kiddo” life, the heartstrings that would be tugged as I read stories of loss and death, especially with babies and young kids. After all, after you become a parent, you essentially see your babies’ faces in all the suffering babies around you. However, as their parents, we choose to advocate for our “babies” in every way because we know that they cannot speak up for themselves. This is why my family has felt such a tug recently to “speak up” for the most defenseless of all, the unborn children in America and in our world.

As Psalm 139 hangs on walls throughout Christian homes, are we really believing each person is “knit together in the womb”, if we cannot find the time to educate ourselves and take a stand to what is going on in abortion centers across America?

The videos and images are hard that are coming across our social media platforms these days. Recently, a former abortion doctor spoke about his previous work in an abortion center and how the baby is literally “ripped” in pieces from the mother’s womb and then put back together to ensure they got every body part. As hard as that was for my ears to hear and eyes to see, I forced myself to bear through it and become familiar with the reality of what is happening every 90 seconds in our country as babies are being torn apart.

So what can we do?

1. Watch the Videos & Read the Books.

Go see the recent movie, “Unplanned,” but be prepared to leave with a broken heart. But use that broken heart for good! Let those tears shed take action for the tears that are silently falling every day in wombs across the world.

My husband and I went to see Unplanned this past weekend.

2. Be informed! 

As easy as it is to say, “Oh, I cannot bear to watch those,” it cannot keep us from doing so! I’ve included resources below to help you start learning.

3. Get involved in your local Pregnancy Center.

Donate your time, finances and prayer to the ones who are “fighting the good fight” each day for the speechless and helping those mothers who feel utterly lost. These centers are providing help and resources for those who may feel as if abortion is the only option. We are so blessed to have the Carolina Pregnancy Center right here in SC.

4. Celebrate our Littles in life and on social media.

I am having to preach this one to myself on this one because I love a funny mom meme where the laughter can be heard from suburbs around. Sometimes as we consider the dreadful body changes, rigorous nighttime rituals, and potty training techniques that are “endured” through Motherhood they can either make us laugh or cry or laugh until we cry. But maybe when we post the stresses and the hard, that sweet mama begins to panic and think, “I don’t want to be a mom, not if I have to endure that!” May we celebrate the “blessings from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) that these little ones are, and may we not be those who give the report that make others’ “hearts melt” (Deut. 1:28) at the thoughts of carrying/raising a child.

5. Pray!

We live in South Carolina where there are currently 2 abortion centers. Go to the buildings and pray, but if you cannot, pray where you are. Pray for sweet mamas who are making hard decisions. Pray for doctors and nurses. Pray for families to step up and support these mamas. Just pray! May the Lord hear the cries of our hearts as we know He is hearing the “innocent blood crying from the ground.” Genesis 4:10

As “On Mission Moms,” I pray that our hearts would come together to keep the hearts of little ones beating until the Lord chooses to call them home.

Here are just a few resources that my family recommends:

Unplanned by Abby Johnson. There is a book and movie which just released.

If The Walls Could Talk by Abby Johnson

Live Action Ministries (subscribe to their YouTube Channel)

The Carolina Pregnancy Center, Spartanburg

Ex-abortion Doctor Interview, https://youtu.be/A16gzm9eaa8

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 !