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?

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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 !

On Mission

Local Mamas: Storytime Alive

April 11th

10:00am

At Palmetto En Pointe Performing Arts

107 Southport Rd.

$2 per child to help cover supplies

We will be bringing our storytime alive by reading and serving together!

We’ll be reading a fun book, Last Stop on Market Street, then enjoying some great activities together as we lead our littles to serve. We will be putting together sandwiches for our local Soup Kitchen.

Please be sure to signup in our Facebook event page so we can plan accordingly and invite another mama to meet you there!

Hope to see you there!

Mission Ideas, On Mission

Easter Egg Service Challenge

If you are like me, you probably have quite the collection of those plastic eggs lying around your home. I have a love hate relationship with them. From the moment they come out until the day after Easter, I feel like we are picking those things up or trying to find the bottom piece or throwing them away because sister stepped on one, which usually means someone is left in a puddle of tears.

This year I thought we would put those silly things to a good use with the Easter Egg Service Challenge. I created little fun ways to serve others for our family, printed them out, cut them apart, and then filled each egg with a little opportunity.

As Lent begins today, we will be opening an egg every day (that we don’t forget…) and discovering simple ways we can serve others this Easter season.

How are you serving others and teaching your little ones about the sacrifice of Jesus this Easter? Share your ideas with us so that we can learn from each other!

If you would like to be a part of the Easter Egg Service Challenge, just download our free printable and have fun!

Also, be sure to tag us @onmissionmoms as you have fun serving and loving others this Easter season.

Blog, Mission Ideas

Service Ideas: “Love” Month

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My oldest came home the other day talking all about Valentines Day but she kept referring to it as  “Love Day”. It made me giggle a little bit to hear her call it that, but It also got me thinking about what we celebrate and why and how and why it couldn’t be more than just one day. What if we set aside time throughout the month, and really the whole year, to love and be loved. 

How can you love others well this month? Maybe you need to slow down and show love within the four walls of your home? Maybe you need to walk across the street and show love to the new neighbor that just moved in? Maybe you need to share love to the complete stranger who you pass in the grocery store?

Here are just a few ways we hope to show love around our home:

1. Valentines Mail  –  Before the little ones came along, we would write little notes on hearts, put in a “mailbox” and enjoy opening them up randomly each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. Now with the little ones, they LOVE checking the mailbox and hanging their heart mail throughout the month.  We write things we love about each other, silly jokes, or just a quick hello – whatever we want to say!

2.  Loving Others Sticker Challenge  –  Throughout the month, we are going to play a little game if you will. Each time I see the girls loving and serving others, we’re going to get a heart sticker on our Love Month Heart.  Stickers could come for helping our sister pick up their room, feeding Nola without being asked, helping mommy make cookies for others, being kind and loving with our words and any other “act of love”.  There are lots of things that you can do with the game board once it’s full like give prizes, etc., but we will just be celebrating all the stickers and all the loving! Have fun being creative with it and see how much love you can share!

3. Sharing the Love – Last year the girls and I had such a fun time making and decorating cookies and delivering them to some of our homeless friends. We plan on doing that again this year and making sure they continue to feel extra loved on a day when they are often forgotten.

How will you be celebrating “Love Month” with your little one? It’s so fun to share our ideas and pictures to encourage one another. Be sure to tag us @onmissionmoms so we can all see and celebrate loving and serving others.

For more ideas and ways to serve others, be sure to click over to our Pinterest Board too!

Blog, Mission Ideas

Seizing Opportunities: Serving During the Holidays

It’s so easy during the Holiday season to want to draw a circle around your family and focus on yourselves. We all get it – there are a TON of things going on – from parties to family dinners to school programs and even to the traditions that you are striving to start within your family. It’s busy! But I want to encourage you that often times during the Holidays is when others are most open to the Gospel and when we can teach our little ones to set their minds on Jesus and others, and not themselves.

Here are some easy Thanksgiving Service Ideas that you can do with your little ones!

Host a Thanksgiving Feast and Invite Others

If you look around your neighborhood, your office, your child’s school, or at your local college, you will see lots of people who could be spending this Thanksgiving alone. Invite them to your family dinner. Ask them to join you and your family for a meal.  There is always room for one more, right?! And if you have ever had to spend a holiday alone, you will know how incredible it feels to be invited in, to have a place at the table set just for you.

Visit your local Nursing Home 

Holidays can sometimes be hard for those in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities. Encourage your child to make thankful leaves or a fall craft and deliver it to residents to brighten their days. Maybe you can get together with other moms and kiddos and make a fun adventure out of it! Make a craft and then set a time to deliver them all together!

Say Thank You and Give Thankfully! 

Look for ways with your little one to say “thank you” to those in your world that serve your family. This is easy – the trashman, the mail lady, the lawn guy (even if it is daddy or mommy). Make cookies, make a card, draw them a picture, buy them a hot coffee on a cold day – whatever it is, it encourages our little ones to not only SAY thank you but to live and give thankfully!

Collect Food for the Hungry 

We all love to sit down at our Thanksgiving meal but many in your own town won’t be doing that! Contact your local food bank, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter and see how you can partner with them to provide a Holiday Meal.  Let your little ones help you shop for the food items needed. Encourage them to make cards or “turkey hands” to go with the food items. Often times that means more to the family receiving the items than the actual items! Locally, we have an incredible program called Overflow which partners with many churches, our local United Way, and several serving agencies to provide Holiday Bags filled with food items like stuffing, beans, sweet potatoes, etc. and then provides recipes to help a family know how to prepare a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.

Get Outside and Rake! 

I love all the Fall Leaves but by November and December they are usually starting to pile up! Is there someone in your community or neighborhood who could use a little encouragement and physical help, maybe a widow that goes to your church? Offer to come over with the little ones and spend some time raking and helping them with their yard work. When it’s all piled up, let the little ones have a few jumps in the pile and enjoy the squeals of laughter! I’m sure that sweet widow will smile too!

These ideas aren’t brand new. They aren’t that “ah ha… what a great idea!” kinda thing. They are just simple ideas to help us set our time and our hearts on the right things this holiday season, serving Jesus and others. If we want to raise World Changers, we have to start somewhere and seize those opportunities to lead our little ones to love Jesus and others!

For more Thanksgiving Holiday service ideas, follow Pinterest!

And for Super cute ideas and traditions to start with your family during the Holidays, make sure you are following Ashley over at The Littles and Me! She has great fun activities and resources!

Blog, Mission Ideas, On Mission

Reclaiming Halloween

I strongly believe that what the world meant for evil, God can redeem for good. It’s somewhere in the Bible, right? (Actually Gen. 50:20, where Joseph is speaking to his brothers after they sold him…)

I tend to view Halloween a lot like that. While the world often sees it and pushes it as evil, it doesn’t have to be. As believers, we can reclaim it and use it for His good and for His glory!

Here are a couple ways to do that!

1. Use the evening of trick or treating as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Have candy for the kiddos but also provide something for the adults too – maybe a cup of hot coffee or cider, maybe a bag of popcorn. Our Life Group (Sunday school class) did this and not only had a great time together but we were able to help some of our friends meet their neighbors and pray with a few parents too! It led to great conversations and connections and who doesn’t love a quick warm drink when you’re walking around forever with your little super hero or princess.

2. Treat (don’t trick) your Neighbors! We have great neighbors and it makes it so fun when we get to surprise them with extra goodies! And they are so sweet to do the same!! Make some special treats for those that live right beside you or those neighbors that maybe aren’t believers and you are developing a great friendship with. Attach a special note and let them know you are thankful for them and praying for them! Look especially for that neighbor that maybe isn’t able to get out or is alone… this can be a stressful and lonely evening for some! So pray for them and stop and chat! You may be their only conversation that day…

What ideas can you share to help us reclaim Halloween and use it as an opportunity to share Christ with our little ones and our neighbors?