Archive for Experiences to Have

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

Slavery:

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

Poverty:

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

Water:

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

Girls:

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

Hunger:

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

Homeless:

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

Persecution/Faith:

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.

January:

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

February:

Freedom Day—February 1st

World Cancer Day—February 4th

World Day of the Sick—February 11th

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

March:

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

April:

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

May:

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

June:

International Childrens’ Day—June 1st

International Day Against Child Abuse—June 4th

World Day Against Child Labor—June 12th

World Refugee Day—June 20th

July:

Independence Day—July 4th

International Justice Day—July 17th

August:

International Day of Indigenous People—August 9th

International Youth Day—August 12th

International Mourning Day—August 15th

International Day to Remember Abolition—August 23rd

September:

International Literacy Day—September 8th

International Day of Peace—September 21st

International Day Against Human Trafficking—Sept. 23rd

World Clean Up Day—September 24th

October:

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

November:

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

December:

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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SUMMER of SERVICE

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Inspired by a magazine’s challenge (www.whitsend.org/acts)…we decided as a family to do be intentional this summer about our activities…and not just the fun camps.  This is the structure we came up with, many things the kids would LOVE to have friends do with them.  Some things are events already going on that we are just going to join…some things we hope to come up with.  Please let me know if you’d like to be involved in any way (or if you decide to do something else…like a summer of random acts of kindness)…so we can all encourage one another privately or even on a public site.

Week of June 2nd – Focus: Immigrants

Give Items for Calvary Church’s Tag Sale (given then free to many poor & immigrants)

Teach ESL to local Muslim Family

Week of June 9th – Focus: Hunger

Kids Against Hunger Packing Event on the 15th

Collect and Organize for a local food shelter

Week of June 16th – Focus:  Family

Serve Extended and Close Family Members as needed

Send messages of Love to Family Members, praying for needs

Week of June 23rd – Focus: Persecuted Church

Make Parachuted Bibles/Radios for Columbia

Write letters to persecuted prisoners through Voice of the Martyrs

Week of June 30th – Focus:  Slavery

Stand for Freedom – Petition against slavery through IJM on 4th of July

Learn about current freedom issues and write an elected official

Week of July 7th – Focus:  Orphans

Make Bracelets/crafts to raise money for orphans

Collect clothes and toys for foster children

Week of July 14th – Focus:  Elderly

Craft Event at a nursing home

Make Cards and send to all Elderly people we know

Week of July 21st – Focus: Water

Teach About Dirty Water at a Community Event

Buy no drinks, only use tap water – give money to clean water

Week of July 28th – Focus:  Homelessness

Serve the Homeless

Make bags for a homeless shelter

Week of August 4th – Focus:  Creation

Pick up Trash on local trails

Visit local farms to find sources of products of humane animal treatment

Week of August 11th –Focus:  Cities

Loving the City – Volunteer in an urban ministry

Collect needed items for Urban Ministries

Week of August 18th –Focus:  Community

Make Cookies for Community Leaders/helpers (police/town officials/firemen/library)

Chalk Messages of Love on sidewalks

Week of August 25th – Focus:  Neighbors

Have a BBQ for Neighbors

Do a Prayer Walk through the neighborhood praying for neighbors

(This is our outline so far.  It could change or I could lose steam…but we won’t regret what we get to be a part of)

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Taking some reminders from the boy with the fish….

A few months back when were learning about great Civil War abolitionist heroes, the kids wrote to our president, senators, and representatives about modern day slavery.    It wasn’t out of any sort of urging from anywhere beyond the kids wanting to do something, whatever they could.  Beyond a few other things we were doing as a family in efforts against slavery, I confess I encouraged them in the letter writing just to believe in our government process. Image

After the New Year, there was another push for TVPRA to protect and save victims of trafficking. The kids were very encouraged in an article (both by the chance to have their story motivate others and quite honestly me…to call) Read here:  http://womenofvision.org/2013/01/11/global-human-trafficking-awareness-day-call-your-senators-and-representative-today/

They did enjoy hearing from the President (vague form letter type, but still … a letter from The White House) and we now have meetings with our Senator’s office and our Representative’s office when we go to DC at the end of the month.

But what is MORE….is that my kids, unknowingly (heck – I had NO CLUE) got to be a part of this:

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When this got posted about the TVPRA, I was sitting at the computer crying tears of joy and I told the kids.  They started running around the house cheering and doing the happy dance.  I was overwhelmed for 2 reasons.  First of all and most important – slavery needs to stop and this is an important part of that.  Secondly – my kids were a part of that process.  Now I doubt they swayed anyone’s vote or anything, but they were still a part of that.  I believe that  it will effect how they interact with politics and voting (and mine).  Late yesterday Lukas, on his own (because if it was an assignment, he wouldn’t do it) wrote a “Newspaper”…one of the pages is this:

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What is says, in bad handwriting is:  “GREAT NEWS!  The president singed a bill that says I will not let slavery happen in my time.  Lukas and Lane Goodworth rote a note to the president about slavery to let that happen.”  (and then of course just after it are tips for newspaper readers on how to play the Wii and many comics he drew…just to keep the paper balanced I suppose).

My point….

The boy with the fish had NO IDEA that Jesus was going to multiply his lunch into a feast for thousands.  He just wanted to offer what he had.  That is all anyone could have ever asked.  So often we would look at that boy and think “don’t even try…there are too many people”.  But, he offered all the same.  We don’t know when our offering will small as it is or multiplied.  All we are asked to do is, in spite of the crowds, statistics, or needs,….to offer…whatever we have.  Jesus will do the rest.

The boy with the fish teaches me this.

My kids teach me this.

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Why it is so Important to Teach Children how to Worship (Thanksgiving)

The Children’s Ministry Director at my church has been focusing on Worship for a couple months with the kids. I confess that I thought it was great and all, but only just recently got how INSANELY powerful Worshiping/Adoration of God is. Though I probably had some of this insight before in my Christian experience (I tend to have insights and then forget them for years only to think it is a new insight when I have it again). There are likely a million reasons why worship of God is so essential, but the one that clicked for me anew (beyond just the basic – God is a holy, amazing God and the only one worthy to worship & the fact that we were MADE to worship) is this:
Worshipping WHO God is different and longer lasting than thanking Him. I am really good at thanking God. I consider myself to be a pretty thankful person. My kids are usually thankful people. I think thanking God for the things He has given us and done is really big and not something we should stop doing. It reminds us of what we have and where it came from. However, In the ACTS idea of prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) – I lacked the most in Adoration. I would kind of say, “God you are great” or “God you are powerful”, but I didn’t meditate on it. I could, however, dive deep into confession, cry in thanksgiving and excel at giving my requests to God. However, I realized how much the rest rely on the first – Adoration (or worship of who God is…His names, His qualities).
If my kids look at me and say, “Mom, thank you for being kind to me today” – that is nice and good, but if they say to me, “Mom, you ARE kind” – that is not only more honoring to me, but it also suggests something that they believe for themselves. They don’t just think that my kindness is a day to day thing, but that it is part of my character and that they can rely on it. Similarly, if I worship God by not just saying “thank you for providing for us this month” (not that we shouldn’t, but I think we need to go beyond to also say) “You are my provider”. This is more. This is bigger. It is telling God who He is to the universe. It is reminding my own soul that not only did God provide this month, but he will the next month – because it is WHO HE IS!
What is we raised our children to worship God…not just in thanking Him for what He has given us (for those things fail and can leave us quickly), not just thanking him for one day of something He has done (for we need Him the next day too), but for WHO HE IS? Would we live differently? Would we want to know this person we know the qualities of more?

Consider:

God, You are my protector – not only do you me today, not only did you do it yesterday, but it is WHO YOU ARE. I can rely on your protection because you can’t deny your own qualities.

God, You are my forgiver – not just because you did it once on that small sin, but because you forgive. That is what you do. Apart from me and my sin – that is who you are. I can come to you for forgiveness.

God, You are THE Comforter – not only have you been there for me in the past for a hard day, not only do I need you now for struggles, but you are waiting for comfort – you are always there.

ETC…

The hope is that later in life – when we aren’t there to guide our children’s interactions with God – that they wouldn’t crave a particular response from God – something to thank Him for, but crave HIM. He is Good. He is Eternal and Knows all. If I can view the experiences He allows me to have through that lens, it is different. Actions of faith also pour from that.

We can always make God even bigger to realize that He is worshipped and glorified all over the Earth. Our God is WORTHY of Worship. He reigns over the WHOLE EARTH. That is a big comfort in the midst of Hurricanes, Elections, Diseases, etc

http://youtu.be/OwM6meAVWqc
http://youtu.be/6zQl48L4M0s

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Global VBS – 2012

Last year (2011) we found an EXCELLENT curriculum called the 10/40 Expedition for VBS’s.  We tweaked it a little so that the craft time was actually service time (instead of making an African craft, we packed food bags for the homeless, etc), but it was certainly a complete, extraordinary curriculum.  IT was out of the ordinary, but very moldable to our desires.  I am so grateful for those who made it.

This year, God provided another curriculum to meet our needs.  It was Hero Headquarters (Where kids can join forces WITH God).  The camp was intended to be a normal VBS, but it did have an extra push for service and God’s heart for the poor/oppressed.  We added/tweaked a lot, but the curriculum allowed it and had all the structure we needed.  The skits we goofy and fun. We collected food throughout the week for a food pantry and money for a leprosy project of one of our church missionaries (who was here to share).

I can’t remember how the original curriculum went, but this is how we did it (again – we changed a lot):

 

Day 1

Bible Story – The Boy who offers his fish and loaves

Focus – Serving the Hungry

Craft – decorate hero cape (to be worn the rest of the week) and make a magnet to go on the fridge to remind us to serve the hungry

Game – Dig for food in trash (clean recyclables).  Each child finds food (a piece of paper that tells them if/what they found for food that day).  Very impactful

Missionaries – The teens had just gotten back from Paraguay and talked about serving in many ways there

Evangelism Training – Wordless Bracelets/Book Colors

 

Day 2

Bible Story – Men who lowered friend through roof before Jesus to have him healed

Focus – Prayer

Missionaries – Friends in serve in the Middle East among Muslims and need lots of prayer

Craft – Made soccer balls out of plastic bags like kids do all around the world when they don’t  have actual soccer balls

Game – Soccer (International Sport)

Evangelism Training – Jesus/Cross as Bridge between Man on one cliff and God on other and other analogies

 

Day 3

Bible Story – Contrast of Rich Young Ruler and Widow’s Mite

Focus – Giving

Missionaries – Missionary from Sudan who we were giving toward that week

Craft – make bank out of water bottles

Game – Water walking game (learning about water issues globally)

Evangelism Training – wordless skits used in evangelism

 

Day 4

Bible Story – Esther

Focus – Standing Up

Missionary – Women who worked to fight child labor/slavery

Craft – Making red hands (to remind us to stand up) and putting hands on Red Hand Campaign protest poster

Game –  Stand up for someone

Evangelism Training – Evangecube

 

Day 5

Bible story – Philip Evangelizes

Focus – Sharing our Faith

Missionary – Women who led families to poor communities in Canada and serves locally and shares faith

Craft – Making a tract to share own faith with colors

Game – Obstacle Course of getting the Bible to someone

Evangelism Training – What is a testimony?  Do you have one?  How do you give one?

 

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Earth Day – Got Water?….or Got Waterbottle?

Water is the basis for life and thus community development.  We want to bless the world with education and health, but usually water must come first.  If you have education without water, you still spend all day getting water and can’t go to that school.  If you have a doctor and no clean water, you are getting sick over and over from the dirty water.  If you have good food and dirty water, the food doesn’t stay in you because you get so sick.  It is more essential than we can quite understand, since water is so accessible to us, everywhere.

Some humbling stats:

1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe   drinking water, roughly one-sixth of the world’s population.

2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them   children, die every year from diseases associated with lack   of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

• Some 6,000 children die every day from disease associated   with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene   – equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.

• 80 percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water

Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering  from water related illnesses. http://blueplanetnetwork.org/water/facts

Waterbottles – the purchase of indulgence:

  • $100 Billion dollars a year is spent on the bottled water a year worldwide
  • $15 Billion dollars a year is spent by the U.S. a year on bottled water
  • YET it would take only $10 Billion dollars a year to get clean water to everyone who doesn’t have it http://www.water.cc/water-crisis/related-news/

You know Fiji water?  We ship in Fiji water (all the while polluting in order to ship it to us, while we have clean tap water) because a company (a buisness that wants to make money off of us) owns that water sournce in Fiji yet 55% of the people of Fiji don’t have access to clean water.  How sick is that? The company has started some community projects to “give back”….but I’m thinking the water should just be theirs? www.givecleanwater.org    

Why can’t I just give to water projects?  Well – that is a great start….and CRAZY important.  Sponsorship also covers those bases.  But here is the deal why I personally am trying to get bottled water totally out of my families’ lives.  Those who have the water, go where the money is.  Since they have seen that people buy bottled water, they are using their resources into where the money is, instead of keeping tap water safe.  There are many places in India and elsewhere that USED to be safe, but since bottled water became such a fad, they aren’t safe anymore.  The actual purchasing of bottled water is like voting.  We vote to say that we want the resources to go for bottled water instead of safe water everywhere to everyone.  The dumps are filling up with bottles (and even if they are recycled, the energy used to recycle the bottles is enormous and unnecessary).  The buzz is starting, but it isn’t loud: (these are INSIGHTFUL sites)  http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/5-reasons-not-to-drink-bottled-water   and http://thewaterproject.org/bottled_water.asp .

Please share the story.  It is an Earth Day story, but more than that – it is a compassionate living story.  We care about both for the world thirsty for water and for God.  We care about it for the world we hand off to our children.  It is easy for me to say “Oh, I’ll just grab a bottled water somewhere today if I’m running late, instead of running back inside and grabbing a reusable water bottle in a whole 30 seconds more”, but in that action, I’m saying something about how I feel about the world.

Ways to engage our children:

1 – An excellent intro video to Water issues:  http://youtu.be/_fLuQUtiaoQ (World Vision Water Video) – It is child appropriate and engaging ( There are other great solutions for disease control, like water filtration systems, but those doesn’t solve the problem of time used getting the water).

2 – Empower them with the story of another kid who changed the world of water:  http://www.ryanswell.ca/media.aspx

3 – Offer our children muddy water for a meal- see how they respond, tell them this is what 1/6 of the world drinks, even though they know it makes them sick

4 – Use a large cooler and have children lift it to see how heavy water is that children their age have to carry long distances

Compare these stats visually for them:  The average American uses 176 gallons of water per day compared to 5 gallons of water the average African family uses each day http://www.waterinfo.org/resources/water-facts

U.S is by far the biggest water users in the world:  http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=757

5 – Do a water walk

6 – Limit the amount of water your household can use to an extremely small amount for a day – for all activities.  See how hard it is.

7 – Challenge your family to not buy waterbottles, unless they are ones you can use over and over.   (have your kids keep you accountable – they will!)

8 – Go off of all other drinks but water and use whatever money you’d use on other drinks and give to a water project.

The hope…that we might offer water for healthy life and true life:

” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”  Rev. 22:17

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