I want my children to grow up and share my passion for the glory of the Lord in world missions. Since parents are the primary teachers in a child’s life, it is apparent that there is no better place for children to learn missions than in their own home.
This past summer my wife, 12-year old son, and nine-year old daughter had the opportunity to participate for the first time on a mission trip to Mexico. For me, this was my eighth year, but the first for my wife and children. I was concerned about the difficulty of being so far inland in rural Baja California, Mexico. However, the Lord allayed all my fears by blessing all of us with good health.
The following are some practical suggestions for family missions.
1. Select a day to discuss global missions together.
2. Support a full-time missionary family and connect the children so they can develop a virtual relationship (e.g. chatting, facebook, e-mail, etc.)
3. Teach your children to pray for their friends on the missions field.
4. Children can also get involved in saving their own money and sending their overseas friends birthday and holiday gifts.
5. Get involved with a summer mission trip you can take as a family.
6. While on the mission trip, assign responsibilities to your children. Let them be real participants in the work, rather than just giving them free time with nothing to do. My children were involved with VBS, and they helped out with drama, puppets, crafts, and generally made a lot of friends with Mexican children.
7. Teach your children the meaning of what they are doing.
8. Teach them about the characteristics of serving God as a missionary: servanthood, sacrifice, generosity, joy, love. etc.
9. Teach your kids about cross-cultural sensitivity. In other words, explain to them that there are many cultural differences, and how they should relate to people without offending the culture.
In the end, both of my children had such a good time, and they didn’t want to leave their new friends. Even though my kids don’t speak Spanish, and the Mexican kids don’t speak English, they learned to genuinely love each other like brothers and sisters.