Ways to Expose our Children to Hard Topics – resources

Organizations with Specific Curriculum for Kids:

RedCardKids (8 week DVD interactive curriculum).

Weave (A Blog with ideas on it)

Justice Kids (Activities/teaching to buy)

Harvest Ministries

  • free downloadable curriculum

Compassion International and World Vision resources

YWAM and Kids of Courage (under Voice of the Martyrs)

  • free and purchasable resources


DO: Underground Railroad Re-enactment or visit a historic trail

GO: Go to representatives and senators to advocate for those in slavery with petitions

WATCH: Stolen Childhoods DVD

READ: Iqbal or The Carpet Boy’s Gift


DO: Go barefoot for a week (feel for those without shoes)

DO: Build a community development project with Legos

DO: Wear the same clothes for a week…wash by hand

GO: Visit an AIDS clinic here. Contrast with AIDS in Africa

CRAFT: Make soccer balls out of plastic bags like in developing world countries (GAME—play soccer with it)

CRAFT: Give kids a bunch of recyclables that they have to make toys out of (Recycled magazine bead necklaces are really fun, as are cardboard box cars with bottle top lids as wheels.)

LEARN: Where you are among the wealthiest in the world:

GAME: Tribe by World Vision

WATCH: Journey to Jamaa at http://www.jamaa.worldvision.org or 58


DO: Do a Walk for Water

DO: Don’t use water in your home for a week. Walk to a friends’ house for a week for your water supply for all your needs.

Chart Water Use in Your home & compare it to other countries.

LEARN: Learn about bottled water (The Water Project website has a great deal of resources).

READ: A Long Walk to Water

WATCH: Sabina’s Shoes on YouTube


DO: Host a WAR (Women at Risk) party to purchase these items made by women at risk while learning about them

WATCH: Girl Rising

READ: Beatrice’s Goat

GAME: Play a game (maybe a scavenger hunt of needed items), but give all the girls their instructions in a gibberish language


WATCH or DO: 30-Hour Famine Videos through World Vision

GAME: Split up kids and give some lots of animal crackers, some a few, some one or none to represent the distribution of food. Let them discuss their reactions to their differing food amounts and then reveal the hunger levels of different countries.

DO: Rice/Beans for a Month or Famine meal of Cornmeal/Soy Mush

READ: The Good Garden

DO: Digging out of recyclables for money or food tokens

Refugees of War/Immigrants:

GAME: Pack up a suitcase quickly as if having to flee in war

DO: Visit and serve a refugee family that recently moved here

GAME: Blindfold a child. Put balls on the ground in front of him/her and a prize somewhere around too. The balls represent mines that could kill or injure the child, but the prize is food (that the child’s family desperately needs).

READ: Four Feet, Two Sandals

WATCH: Under the Same Moon


DO: Eat out of can of beans/sleep on cardboard

GAME: Building a home out of different trash-like materials

GO: Sleep in a hostel downtown somewhere, visit urban ministries down there, and prayer walk!

CRAFT: Make homeless packs of food/toiletries with cards for homeless you might meet

WATCH: Pursuit of Happyness

READ: A Shelter in Our Car


GAME: Underground Church Service—Make secret signs to find the church, share small verse during the quiet, Have it get interrupted by the “police”.

CRAFT: Make parachutes for Bibles dropping down in closed countries—Voice of the Martyrs

DO: Write to prisoners from Voice of the Martyrs to see how precious and costly faith is.

READ: Window on the World Book about people of the world or Voice of the Martyrs Magazine

WATCH: Voice of the Martyrs animated movies

Exhibits around the country that allow you to walk through the stories and sights/sounds of poverty and oppression:

World Vision AIDS Experience Exhibit (traveling)

REAL Life Exhibit with Medical Teams International in Oregon

Traveling Compassion Int. Experience

Wayumi in Pennsylvania – a retreat center of New Tribes Missions teaching about indigenous people

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Doing Missions in DAYS

Days on the calendar can create a rhythm in your home and a natural way to gather other families to serve with you. The keys are to:

  1. Only pick one day a month or you will get overwhelmed.
  2. Choose varying topics to cover different issues.
  3. See if there are local events on the day and serve together.
  4. Come up with an event or research, learn, and pray about it!
  5. Choose other days outside this list if an issue suits you better.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—Civil Rights

Human Trafficking Awareness Day—January 11th

Genocide Remembrance Day—January 27th

World Leprosy Day—January 30th

Child Labor Day—January 31st


Freedom Day—February 1st

World Cancer Day—February 4th

World Day of the Sick—February 11th

St. Valentine’s Day—Love—February 14th


World Day of Prayer (1st Friday in March)

International Women’s Day—March 8th

St. Patrick’s Day—Missions—March 17th

World Water Day—March 22nd

Lent/Good Friday/Easter


Autism Awareness Day—April 2nd

International Orphans Day—April 11th

International Day of Street Children—April 22nd

Earth Day—April 22nd

World Malaria Day—April 25th


National Day of Prayer and Fasting—May 6th

World AIDS Orphan Day—May 7th

World Fair Trade Day—2nd Saturday in May

World Hunger Day—May 28th

Memorial Day—Last Monday in May


International Childrens’ Day—June 1st

International Day Against Child Abuse—June 4th

World Day Against Child Labor—June 12th

World Refugee Day—June 20th


Independence Day—July 4th

International Justice Day—July 17th


International Day of Indigenous People—August 9th

International Youth Day—August 12th

International Mourning Day—August 15th

International Day to Remember Abolition—August 23rd


International Literacy Day—September 8th

International Day of Peace—September 21st

International Day Against Human Trafficking—Sept. 23rd

World Clean Up Day—September 24th


International Day of the Elderly—October 1st

World Homelessness Day—October 10th

International Day of Mental Health—October 10th

International Day of the Girl—October 11th

Day of the Eradication of Poverty—October 17th


Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church—November 11th

Veteran’s Day—November 11th

Make a Difference Day—November 15th

National Adoption Day—November 17th


World AIDS Day—December 1st

International Day of the Disabled Person—December 3rd

St. Nicholas Day—Giving to Poor—December 6th

International Migrants Day—December 18th

Christmas—December 25th

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Adult Mission Books – my favorites

Hole in Our Gospel by Rich Stearns—Rich Stearns, President of World Vision USA, reveals his journey to become involved with relief and community development work and with God’s work on his heart. He gives great detail and personal openness about his own story and the stories of those he has met in developing countries. His second book is called Unfinished and an amazing global devotional called He Walks Among Us

Terrify No More by Gary Haugen, President of the International Justice Mission, writes about one particular planned raid in Cambodia to free some girls who are slaves in a brothel. You read actual stories of girls and an intense, true account of lives risked to save others.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker—An incredibly witty, thoughtful, and honest account of a pastor’s wife whose heart became broken for the least of these, leading her and her husband to start a church plant that meets the needs of urban and global poor. Easy to connect with and unintimidating, but still inspiring. Another amazing book of hers is Seven.

Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren—Awesome account of Kay Warren (wife of Rick Warren who authored Purpose Driven Life and is pastor of Saddleback Church in California) and her journey of getting her heart broken into action for HIV/AIDS. Well written and honest. She has a newer book titled Say Yes to God, which is wonderful as well.

One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda—Wonderful perspective of seeing our children as our arrows into the world (Isaiah 49), and then goes on to inspire more youth ministry and adoption.

 Christians in an Age of Wealth: A Biblical Theology of Stewardship by Craig L. Blomberg—Great scriptural engagement with God’s view of stewardship in a Christian’s life and tackling with some of the basics of how we are to live.

Serving with Eyes Wide Open by David A. Livermore—A wise introduction to short-term missions.

Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins – Extremely important read on racial injustice

Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton – A wise critique on how much of charity work is carried out and better alternatives for sustainable solutions

Another other great devotionals are For the Least of These edited by Laurie Delgatto!

Just Courage by Gary Haugen—President of IJM writes extraordinarily about being brave to stop horrible things in this world. My favorite part is the amazing stories at the end of the book. His first book was Good News about Injustice. He has a new one out, The Locust Effect.

Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis—Really wonderful explanation of God’s heart for the downcast and least of these. Well written with true, personal stories throughout. God reveals His heart for the orphan through the scriptures that Tom doesn’t allow us to escape from. Another great book by him is Red Letters.

Son of God is Dancing by Adrian Plass—Best, easiest read to explain how the AIDS epidemic got so bad in Africa. Gives personal stories so it is less easy to judge mass groups of people and see how the disease crept up and took lives like a thief. Also has a great deal of hope!

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado—In a way that only he can, Lucado inspires us to use our life in ways that really matter. He also wrote Live to Make a Difference.

Awake by Noel Brewer Yeatts—Important and impactful stories from around the world about caring for one person at a time.

Overrated by Eugene Cho—An challenge to stop talking about justice/mercy and start doing it.

He Walks Among Us by Richard and Renee Stears—An extraordinary devotional that brings the reader into the lives of the poor/oppressed, while reflecting on God’s work in our lives.

Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices by Julie Clawson—How do our everyday choices and purchases affect the world for God and love for God?

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn—These authors highlight some of the issues that plague oppressed and poor women globally through real stories, as well as reveal ways that they can be alleviated and empowered.

Global Soccer Mom by Shayne Moore—An inspiring account of how God allowed an ordinary soccer mom to be part of the beginning of the ONE campaign. Encouraging for us all. She also coauthored Refuse to Do Nothing and is working on another book.

A Thousand Sisters by Lisa Shannon—So hard to read, but important to not look away and to weep with the children and women in Congo who are still being used right now as weapons of war (through killings, rape, and mutilation).

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah—A boy recounts his real-life experience as a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. Gives real, personal insight into its horror. Well written.

Mission Minded Family by Ann Dunagan—Extraordinary ideas to include not just missions, but actual missionaries as heroes throughout. Encourages intentional parenting toward missions. Mission Minded Child is similar in style but full of loads of different resources and thoughts.

The Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher—A great book explaining refugees in our country.

Not for Sale by David Batstone—Overview of human trafficking and what we can do to help.

Faith in Action BIBLE—Put out by World Vision, it has pictures, stats, and amazing study notes throughout so we can read our Bible and not miss God’s heart on every page!

Poverty and Justice BIBLE—Highlights God’s heart for justice and includes extra study. Supported by many major relief and justice organizations.

I am Najood, Age 10 and Divorced by Najood Ali—Given in marriage at age 10 (not uncommon in her area), Najood decides to break the norm and fight her way out of it. Heartbreaking and amazing.

Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis and Beth Clark—Katie Davis was 18 and fell in love with Uganda. She gave up college and all of the “comforts” and family of America to become the mom of 13 adopted girls and lead hundreds of kids to Christ and education through her ministry, Amazima. Insightful, educational, inspiring.

Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton—An important read for anyone doing justice, relief, inner-city and missions work.  It addresses how we help people without hurting them.  You’ll be surprised how necessary and convicting it is to read.

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibigaza—She tells of 91 days she spent in a cramped bathroom hiding with seven other starving women during the Rwandan genocide.

Deepening the Soul for Justice by Bethany Hoang—An extraordinary read and devotional regarding gaining a heart for justice as well as the essential time with God in any compassion and justice work.

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Good to read, but even better when listening

Books that are also powerful in Audio form

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway—Amazing testimony of a pastor in the underground, persecuted church of China.

Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong and Mark Tabb—A lost boy from Sudan tells of his journey to a family and all the way to the Olympics. AMAZING!

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson—The amazing beginning of Teen Challenge in the hardest parts of NYC.

Love Has a Face by Michele Perry and Heidi Baker—Missionary work in Sudan, full of miracles and God’s heart.

In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham and Dean Merrill—Held hostage in missionary work in the Philippines.

I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh—A Muslim woman risks everything to know Jesus.

Peace Child and Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson—New Guinea and Iranian missions.

End of the Spear by Steve Saint—The story of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and others who were martyred by Auca Indians in missionary work.

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Youth and Teen Novels

Youth/Teen Novels (Not all Christian, but still culturally significant)

Tales of the Forgotten by Beth Guckenberg – Goes through the stories of many around the world.  She has 3 other similar books.

The Teen Guide to Global Action by Barbara A Lewis – not necessarily a Christian book, but inspiring and gets ideas sparked

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai—A girl is separated from her parents by the Taliban and has a plan to relocate her parents.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia—three girls travel to look for their mother who abandoned them, set in the 60s.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio—A boy with a severe facial deformity is mainstreamed in school—deals with everything.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai—Escaping Vietnam, a girl with her family comes to live in America.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper—About a girl with cerebral palsy.

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park—A boy named Salva, during a long two-hour walk for water becomes one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis—Another insightful book about living in Afghanistan.

Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo—Pakistan girl sold to carpet factory.

Real Kids Adventure Series by David Gustaveson—Mission adventure fiction books.

Airquest Adventure Series by Jerry Jenkins—Mission adventure fiction books.

Found in Translation by Roger and Kristi Bruner—Girl finds her faith and perspective on a mission trip.

YWAM’s International Adventures Series

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay—Danger and adventure on a mission trip.

I Would Die for You by Brent and Dianna Higgins—Challenge by a 15-year-old to be willing to die for Christ.

If We Survive by Andrew Klaven—A group of kids stuck in danger during a mission trip.

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Children’s Books with Global Themes

Children’s Books

The Good Garden by Katie Smith Milway—WONDERFUL! About a teacher that changes a village by coming in and teaching about plants and giving power to the people.

I Walk for Water by Lindsey Andrews – A little boy has to walk for water and you see he misses because of it

If You’re Missing Baby Jesus by Jean Gietzen—Amazing book for Christmas time: true story about a family who encounters a family in need at Christmas. It changes them all.

Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler—A moving book about a homeless boy and his dad who live in the airport moving from terminal to terminal to not get caught. Reading Rainbow also has the book on DVD with additional real stories from kids and families who are homeless and people who help them.

A Shelter in Our Car by Monica Gunning—A little girl and her mom live in their car.

Material World by Peter Menzel—Photos and families from around the globe. Really good looks at some lives in other places.

The Carpet Boy’s Gift by Pegi Deitz Shea and Leane Morin—Children stuck in a carpet factory learn of possible freedom

Mohammed’s Journey (A Refugee Diary) by Anthony Robinson and Annemarie Young—True story of a boy fleeing Iraq.

Hamzat’s Journey (A Refugee Diary) by Anthony Robinson—True story of a boy leaving Chechnya after a run in with a landmine (there are more Refugee Diaries than these).

Kids Against Hunger by Jon Mikkelsen—Some kids try to figure out why their friend is ditching them at soccer, only to find that he is helping at a food kitchen.

Little Critter—Just Critters Who Care by Mercer Mayer—1st Reader book: Kids learn about a neighbor and decide to help. Really cute.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams—A sweet and eye-opening book about a refugee camp in Pakistan. Two girls each find one sandal of a matching pair off of a refugee truck after not having any shoes of their own. They decide how to deal with it between each other.

A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting—A Latino immigrant grandfather teaches his grandson integrity.

One Smile by Cindy McKinley—One girl decides to smile and it has an effect on person after person after person.

CUMBAYAH by Floyd Cooper—The famous song used as a prayer with beautiful accompanying photos from around the world.

The Lord’s Prayer by Tim Ladwig—The Lord’s Prayer with beautiful pictures of a girl walking with her father through the inner city.

Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier—A girl’s life changes because of the gift of a goat.

Window on the World by Daphne Spragget and Jill JohnstonePraying for different kids in different countries.

Every Child Everywhere by Debby Anderson—Reminder about every kid everywhere being made by God.

For Every Child by UNICEF—The rights of the child in word and pictures.

Not Forgotten by Cal Ainley—A little African girl’s journey to a needed surgery.

Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M Joosse—An African father’s everlasting love.

My Sister, Alicia May by Nancy Tupper Ling—A book about a little girl with Down syndrome.

In Jesse’s Shoes by Beverly Lewis—A sister realizes God’s perfection in her special needs brother.

Tight Times by Trina Schart Hyman—A boy’s family is changing because money is really tight and things are hard with everyone.

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts—A boy struggles with not having the same shoes as everyone else.

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway—The change in a family when a small loan is given (true story).

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson—Random acts of kindness for a little girl have unending positive effects.

A Life Like Mine by Unicef—More visuals and facts about how children live around the world.

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits—A girl from Korea moves to the USA and is scared to start school.

The Can Man by Laura E. Williams—A couple kids go from judgment and discomfort to helpfulness and relationship with a kind homeless man.

Mimi’s Village by Katie Smith Milway—A picture book about how healthcare transforms a village.

The Small One—A Good Samaritan by Katherine Brown—A different story based on one we all know.

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Documentaries I recommend (though not all great for children viewing)

DVD Documentaries

Half the SkyLong, but really great at showing issues. It focuses on bringing in celebrities (knowing they have a strong voice) to these horrible issues facing women. Interesting to see how it affects them all differently, but it is the stories of the suffering (and often so strong) women that are amazing and horrifying and empowering (all of it).

Living on One Dollar – Four young men try to live on a dollar a day to better understand the global poor

Isaiah 58New DVD available through www.live58.org showing poverty and justice issues globally. Only mild things above young eye’s understanding. I was comfortable allowing my young children to see it and explaining some of the hard stuff in explainable, less-scary ways.

Walk to BeautifulStruggle of many women in Ethiopia.

Born into BrothelsStories of children born to prostitutes in India.

Beyond the Gates of SplendorDocumentary after “End of the Spear” movie of Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries that lost their lives in order to give the gospel as well as the people who continued to minister to these tribal people of Ecuador. Powerful.

Mary and MarthaTwo women meet up who have lost their sons to Maleria while in Africa.  It sparks a transformational journey for them and those they want to help.

China’s Lost GirlsStories of orphan girls in China.

We Are TogetherStory of South Africa’s Agape Choir, beautiful film, pretty accessible to youth.

Beyond BeliefAbout two women who gave birth to two children after losing spouses to 9/11. They turned their grief into a way to actually minister to Afghanistan widows. It isn’t necessarily a Christian documentary, but convicting and inspiring nonetheless.

Angels in the DustAn orphanage started in South Africa for 500+ kids in response to AIDS crisis—gives lots of individual stories of kids—what they have been through.

Girl Rising—Inspiring and educational documentary on the challenges facing girls internationally.

Stuck—Documentary about International Adoption

Stolen Childhoods—Many different types of child slavery portrayed.

War DanceKids who suffered at the hands of the LRA in Uganda use dance as a source of healing and expression.

Emmanuel’s GiftInspiring true story of disabled orphan in Ghana, not giving up and changing lives around him.

Small VoicesDocumenting struggles of garbage dump children in Cambodia.

Lost Boys of Sudan and God Grew Tired of UsStories of boys who were in refugee camps most their lives and then brought to America.

Call and ResponseSlavery today.

Flesh and BloodWomen who take in medically complex foster kids.

Invisible ChildrenBoy soldiers.

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