Blog, Mission Ideas

Summer of Service Fun

I absolutely love summer! Growing up, my father was a peach farmer so our days and especially the early mornings were spent on the farm, tromping through the fields, running in and out of the big cooler, hauling boxes and boxes of yumminess from S.C. to GA to TN and beyond. Looking back it was the best childhood, but I think I’ve blocked out the itchy peach fuzz, the 4am wake up calls, and the nasty peach smell coming from the rotten bin.

Summer also reminds me of family mission trips together. Each year, starting as early as third grade, my family along with many other families from our church, would pack up our vans and drive a few hours away and serve together for a week. The men mostly worked on construction of the church that hosted us, while the ladies and kiddos would lead backyard bible clubs in the morning and evening in nearby neighborhoods. We would also enjoy all our meals together prepared by some of the best ladies! It was the best and it laid a foundation in my life that loving Jesus was my priority and serving others was an expression of my love for Him. Those summers, all the way in to high school, were life changing for me and my family. We still reminisce about our summer mission trips together.

Summer can be such a fun time with our little ones and family, and it gives us great opportunities to share Jesus with others, but we must be intentional about our time and selfless with our lives and love. I would encourage you to look at your family and your time this summer and ask God to show you ways to be about the things that matter for eternity!

Here are some simple ideas to serve this summer!

1. PrayerWalk

Organize a prayer walk with your family or maybe a few other mama friends. Spend time walking in your town, around your schools, in your neighborhood and pray! Teach your children how to prayer walk. It’s just walking with purpose! Maybe end the walk with a special treat from the Icecream shop or the snocone shack!

2. Special Treats for Special People

Make some yummy IceCream or treats and take them to special friends like our police officers, fire fighters, ems. Or maybe take some to the construction crew that is working down the street in your neighborhood. Or maybe be on the lookout for your mail lady or ups delivery guy. Think of those that are out in the heat and could use some extra loving! Be sure to attach a note or card and share scripture or encouragement!

3. Lemonade Stand

Set up a lemonade stand and donate all the money that you raise to a local missions opportunity, to a friend going on a mission trip, or to a missionary serving overseas. Surprise them with the donation! Then spend time praying for BIG things this summer through that financial gift and gift of time.

4. Bottled Water giveaway

Get some super cold bottles of water and give it away to homeless friends on a super hot day. Sit and enjoy a conversation with them if they have the time, even though you’re hot!

5. Neighborhood Block Party

Plan a party or BBQ for neighbors to all get together and fellowship. Have fun together! Enjoy a yummy meal! Pull out the sprinklers or the water balloons and games. But Look for opportunities to share Christ during the night!

What other fun ideas do you have for your family this summer? How can you serve where you are? Share your ideas so we can learn from one another! And check out our Pinterest page for more ideas!

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Blog, On Mission

Laying a Foundation

We had a great On Mission Moms event, Helping Hands for the Homeless, this past weekend and we had so much fun getting together with our little ones and leading them to serve others. It was a simple morning but one I pray will impact our kiddos in the years ahead.

I believe firmly that every time I provide an opportunity – big or small – for my girls to learn about serving and loving Jesus, He is honored and well pleased. He will take our moments on Saturday when they were enjoying their yummy snacks and listening to the Good Samaritan story and one day lead our little one to be that one who stops and helps. He will take walking around a table filled with soap and shampoo, socks and wash clothes, and he will give them a heart that is ready to see and give to others in need.

He will take those moments and use them for His glory either today or years down the road. I just want to be faithful in the now, with my four year old and almost two year old, to build a foundation that teaches them to love Jesus and love others – brick by brick, moment by moment…

For more fun pics of our great morning and other resources and connections, join our On Mission Moms Facebook group!

Blog, Friday Faves

Friday Faves

This week is all about homeless and poverty as that is what has been on the brain lately with our Helping Hands fun Saturday morning coming up! I hope you and your little ones will come and spend a little time with us preparing bags for our homeless friends. If you have not signed up, it’s not too late! The link is below!

Here are some other faves I’ve found this week as I’ve been searching and preparing for our event.

  1. Ever Wondered What to Say? 

Homeless

Often times we sometimes aren’t sure what to “say”… here are some great conversation starters that you can use as you meet our friends on the street. There are also some things that may be we just shouldn’t say or ask, or even think…

2. Books for Kids about Poverty & Hunger 

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I’m always on the lookout for great books to read with my kiddos and while I haven’t read through each one of these, many of these are on my list to read and several of these are just great!

What books have you read that teaches about poverty and hunger and homelessness? 

3.  Hippie Jack 

I don’t really know anything about Hippie Jack, other than what this video shows, but it makes me smile and reminds me that there are still some good men and women out there serving with all they have, and it makes me tap my toe a little too…

How can you be like Hippie Jack? Don’t you have a fun bus like that?!? haha

4. Blessing Bottles

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This is a great unique “spin” on blessing bags!

Have you made anything like this before to give to our homeless friends? If so, share and let us learn new and different ways! 

5. Helping Hands FUN Event! 

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You can sign up in our On Mission Moms Facebook Page link above! We will be meeting at Caroline Brewer’s home and she will be sending out info. It’s going to be a fun morning together serving, learning, and praying with our little ones.

 

And one last little plug, if you haven’t had a chance to read the Do No Harm Series, well… you should!

Do No Harm: Be Prepared

Do No Harm: We’re All Poor

Do No Harm: Knowing When

Do No Harm: Learning More

 

*Just a reminder that I don’t necessarily “endorse” the websites that I’ve linked to above.  Not all are Christian based websites/blogs/videos; however, they are all great ideas that we can learn and grow from and adapt to work with what we believe as On Mission Moms! 

Blog

Do No Harm: We’re All Poor

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You’ve met the sweet young mom standing on the corner with her child and given her a blessing bag. What do we do from there? Well, let’s back up even before you roll down your car window. Before we can even begin to work with those in poverty, we must understand a crucial truth.  We must spend some time looking inward. We are all created by a loving God but we are all poor and broken in some way. 

Yes, you read that right…. you are poor and broken. How’s that for a great way to start out the second part of the Do No Harm Series.   But it is true and sometimes, as we all know, the truth hurts. But I’ve also read that the truth can set us free… (John 8:32)

While their poverty is mostly visible for all the world to see, my poverty is usually hidden and disguised well (most of the time). Steve Fikert, the author of When Helping Hurts explains it through 4 broken Relationships that we each have. 

  1. We all have a broken relationship with God (thanks Adam & Eve).
  2. We all have a broken relationship with self.
  3. We all have a broken relationship with others. 
  4. We all have a broken relationship with creation.  

So where are you broken? Where are you poor? We can’t begin to help and serve and love others in a helpful and gospel centered way until we acknowledge our own poverty. 

Spend some time today seeking to acknowledge and understand your own poverty. 

If you have a broken relationship in one (or more of these areas), how can you seek to restore it today? 

If you missed the previous post on Being Prepared, take a minute to read it here!

Blog, On Mission

Do No Harm: Be Prepared

We will be sharing over the next several weeks a Series called “Do No Harm” – teachings that I’ve learned and practiced in my time working with the homeless from New Orleans to Spartanburg and a few other places along the way.

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A pretty important lesson that I learned in my early days working with homeless was that I had to be prepared. Prepared in all kinds of ways. Prepared to help them physically, spiritually, emotionally or socially. Prepared to tell them yes or no, depending on what and how I could help them. Prepared with knowledge to share about where they could get help. Prepared in prayer and God’s word and ready to respond as the Holy Spirit led me. 

There are several simple ways that you can be better prepared as you interact with our homeless friends. One way is to know about what services are available to our friends. Do you know which shelters take men and women, or which shelters only take families? Do you know where they are located? Do you know if your town has a place where they can get a hot meal each day and when they serve that meal? Spend some time looking around and learning about what resources and services your community offers.  One word of caution though is to make sure that your info is correct! Imagine you are a single mom on the street and someone told you that the local shelter takes single moms and you walk 20 minutes with your bags and child to find out that they don’t. It can be quite frustrating when the information is wrong. One resource that is often overlooked would be 211. Did you know that anyone can call 211 or go online and find out resources in their community for their specific situation. This is a GREAT resource from the United Way.

Another simple way is to have something to give them tangibly when they ask or when you come across someone in need in a parking lot or at a street corner. Often times it’s in these moments, we can be caught off guard and our only option is to give them money or tell them “No”, which isn’t always the best way to love and serve our friends. When I lived in New Orleans, I kept at least three or four bags for the homeless ready in my car so that I was always prepared to love and serve.

A “blessing bag” can also model to your children several important life lessons such as:

  1. You care about and value others, and they should too.
  2. Homeless people matter, as do all people because they are created by God.
  3. We should value helping and serving and loving others because God commands it! 
  4. Helping others can be easy, cheap, and fun! 
  5. You always strive to be prepared and ready to help, and they should too! 

You can let your little’s help you as you put them together and talk about homelessness, and how we are called to love and serve all people. You can pray with your little ones as you work to put the bags together. You can let them color a picture or write a note and add it into the bag. Below are some of the items that I make sure to have in my bags. 

Blessing Bag

  • Travel size toiletries such as soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion
  • Washcloth
  • Socks
  • Chapstick 
  • $5 fast food gift card from places like McDonald’s
  • Bottle water
  • Granola Bar
  • Fresh Fruit (banana or orange) if giving away quickly
  • Pop top canned tuna or chicken
  • Crackers 
  • Info about a local ministry where they can get assistance (for me, it’s Refuge info) 

There are a few more ideas over on our Pinterest Page. 

So are you prepared when you met a friend on the street? How can you better prepare yourself and your family to respond in love and with wisdom?