Archive for Learning Experiences

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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Update: Family and Children Teaching Resources

Children’s Resources

Voice of the Martyrs Torchlighters DVDs

YWAM Missionary Biography Books, International Adventure Series and downloads

Lightkeepers Series Books

Trailblazer Series Books

Reel Kid Adventures books

Brickman Adventures Audio Stories

10/40 VBS Materials

WMU—Missions Magazines for Kids, Family Mission Trips

 

VBS

Voice of the Martyrs

Regulard Baptist Press

10/40 Window

WMU

 

Websites with extra resources

World Vision

Compassion

IJM

Justice Kids

Stand Up For Kids/Pioneers

Harvest Ministry

Kids of Courage—Bold Believer Series

Wycliff

YWAM—Mission opportunities/Training

Perspectives Journey

One Mission Kids

My Passport to India

WeaveFamily

SIM Kids

OM New Zealand

WindowKids

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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:

Image

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:

Image

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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From Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday – how do I make it real?

I confess I haven’t done this Lenten season well.  I have a friend that is doing an amazing season of hands-on, service based,  intentional learning with her kids during this season.  Yeah –  I’m not so much.  I have some friends who have taken on some great endeavors of sacrificing in order to give to an organization.  I had thought that would be cool for something like http://www.bloodwatermission.com/fortydays.php as it was already set out for the Lenten season and the idea of blood and water for Good Friday into particular sounded awesome.  But, I didn’t end up doing it.  I’m not sure why – maybe it was because we had just finished our month of rice/beans with our kids and I didn’t want to make them numb to it all. I know World Vision is doing an awesome season of ACTS – showing what acts we can all do to show Jesus during Lent: http://blog.worldvision.org/christian-witness/why-my-grandma-may-be-wrong-living-a-life-of-sacrifice/ .  I had thought of doing 40 days of Random Acts of Kindness…but again, somehow, I never did it.  I have definitely engaged the kids in more stories about Jesus and the upcoming Easter events in Scripture as we have approached this week, but I didn’t do the devotions that I hoped I would.  We had been going through some depressing devotionals about praying for kids in awful situations in the world and it seemed to be impacting my kids so I didn’t want to stop it.  Yet – it is now, that I wish I had thought of just  incorporating THAT into Lent earlier: http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/ELCA-World-Hunger/Resources/For-Congregations/Lent.aspx

So, after reading one of my favorite author’s blog http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2012/04/02/the-easter-conundrum-part-1#.T3tfWEhhZzc.facebook , I had to stare at my heart and ask myself where I stand on this stuff…how am I going to redeem this week since it has just arrived and I don’t want it to pass me by without at least an effort on my part as a redeemed child of God and as a parent to engage it.

So, how much are others trying to just “put the empty back in Egg” or “put the Resurrection back in Easter”  (like Jesus is the reason for the season at Christmas, eh?)?  I am trying to find that out…but I also know we also can’t get to Easter without Good Friday.  Well, actually we can. I can choose to just blow off Good Friday and watch a chick flick because Good Friday sounds weird and makes me uncomfortable (and surely would make my kids uncomfortalbe) and then show up all happy and pastel on Sunday.  Here’s the thing though – Jesus couldn’t get to the Resurrection without going through the Cross and all the Hell he endured, so I don’t want pass by it either…I don’t want my kids to.  I believe that if I take my kids straight to Easter then I take away most of the joy of Easter – the reason why it is so amazing; how much we really need redemption….both as individual souls and as a world where evil sometimes seems to be winning.

So, I’ve decided this:  I’m not sure what all to do with the plastic eggs yet and if I want to go with the “let’s make it part of the Easter story” or just ditch it.  But, I am sure that this year we will do this.  On Good Friday, my family and I will engage some of the brokenness of this world…the evils of humanity (brokenness in people), the sorrows caused by natural disaster (brokenness of creation) and pain/death from illness (brokenness in the body)..the 3 things that broke in the Fall.  We will address it in sorrow for what we see on the outside in the world and then from what we see on the inside of our own hearts (which I’m not personally looking forward to by the way).  I have some ideas on how to help my kids acknowledge their own sin and need for Christ. …and on Good Friday, after we talk about the Crucifixion…we stop there.  We don’t go to the Resurrection talk (unless a kid is devasted on the ground and I feel massive guilt…then fine, I might).  But, the plan is to sit in it…like Mary had to.  She had to wait, thinking there was no hope  for her or the world….EVER.  What would that have been like…to see your own sin and the world’s evil and sorrows and see your hope literally die….on a cross?  What would that emptiness or devastation be like.  I’ll never know (we’ve been spared of that), but I need to know from a glimpse if I am to honor the journey made and the darkness Jesus took on Himself.  I want us to know as a family so that on Sunday morning we can be so fricken relieved and joyful because we knew what was at stake.  Below are some links (some more for parents than kids, though i think kids can handle it more than we think they can).  There are links of both the brokenness and the redemtion.  I’m not looking forward to Friday….but man, I think I’m going to be aching for Sunday this year.

Some of the shadows of Good Friday

EVIL in our world

http://www.persecution.com/public/media.aspx?mediapage_ID=NDg2 Persecution

http://love146.org/love-story Sex Trafficking

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,338612,00.html Genocide

http://www.livescience.com/11365-10-worst-natural-disasters.html Natural Disasters

ILLNESS in bodies

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Holy-Week:-The-love-of-Christ-close-to-the-sorrows-of-the-world-18015.html AIDS

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/tripp-roth-louisiana-toddler-inspired-thosands-dies-mothers/story?id=15365445 Painful diseases

http://www.world-schizophrenia.org/stories/ Mental illness

EVIL in us

Apathy (This one speaks to my heart…for I am a part of it not changing)  http://blog.worldvision.org/stories/when-the-colors-of-life-go-out-a- tribute-to-fallen-children/  Little kids dying from preventable hunger and illness

Selfishness ”  If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”    ― Stephen Colbert

Ignorance  – the list is endless –  things like water bottles:  http://thewaterproject.org/bottled_water.asp

Some beautiful glimmers of Ressurection Sunday –

RESTORATION from Sorrow

http://blog.worldvision.org/stories/restoring-houses-and-hearts-in-nashville-and-nationwide/  Giving up a posh life to serve

http://www.message.org.uk/reflex/?phpMyAdmin=vwrZAGcA5H-,XSXgNJSvlm2p090  Drug Addicts to Those who minister

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/friends-of-the-poor-distributing-1-400-easter-food-baskets-1.1294943#axzz1r6HQQfkF  Food for the hungry

http://blog.worldvision.org/stories/a-childs-open-letter-i-was-lost-but-now-am-found/ Life in Christ

http://youtu.be/g9P1jwyB_Cc Ministering to others out of our sorrow

http://redemptionstory.wordpress.com/2008/03/22/145/ Hope for Heaven

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Songs,-dances-and-Gospel-stories-bring-Easter-to-life-for-orphans-and-elderly-of-Malolos-17956.html Help to orphans and widows

http://bandssullivan.blogspot.com/ 2 couples who both lost their spouses and parents of their kids early in married, find eachother and marry (now that is God just showing off – pre-Heaven)

Churches Engaging the poor at Easter

http://cornerstoneshiloh.org/about-us/i-am-cornerstone/easter/ 

http://marshill.com/2012/03/27/how-to-be-salt-this-easter

Some Easter Celebrations Around the World

http://blog.compassion.com/kenya-holidays-easter-in-kenya/  Africa

http://blogs.wels.net/missions/2012/04/04/easter-in-colombia/ South America

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303302504577323260262113238.html?mod=googlenews_wsj Asia

http://en.rian.ru/Religion/20100404/158426518.html Europe

Ways we can help now:

Give money – http://www.foodforthepoor.org/help/easter/

SPONSOR CHILDREN!!!! www.worldvision.org or many other great places

Serve the homeless/elderly/poor http://www.cityteam.org/donate/campaigns/

Pray (with the weeping knowledge of what is truly going on in the world) http://www.faithandworship.com/prayers_peace.htm

Good Youtube with great theology:  http://youtu.be/lscQQQE-eWk

Decent youtube Easter (maybe I like it just because of the accent): http://youtu.be/fHE6vBHBSUc

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We love because He first loved us …. and there is a whole lot of lovin’ to do – Valentine’s Day

In an attempt to make Valentine’s Day a bit more about God’s heart for us…and thus our response to the world – we did a few things as a family today:

1 – Granted – we did shamelessly eat some hydrogenated, corn-syruped chocolate overly priced because it was heart shaped.  This is NOT part of the exercize, but a confession

2 – We gave the kids some love letters about the things we love about them

3 – We went over the verse (that they had luckily memorized at Awana) of  1 John 4:19 (We love because He first loved Us)…as well as the always appropriate John 3:16 to explain what God’s love actually looked like in sacrifice

4 – We went around town giving out little Valentine gifts to friends and some people we have been caring for in the past (refugees, etc)

5 – We read about past slavery (we’d been talking about the underground railroad due to some stories we’d read and being near the freedom trail in CT anyhow)  and talked about slavery today (something always on my mind).  We had a time of prayer and then we made Red Hands in protest of child slavery and child soldiers to be sent to the United Nations and to our local politician.  We will send them off after they dry:  http://www.redhandday.org/index.php?l=en&view=info

6 – We talked about St. Valentine…his sacrifice and Martyrs.  What that looks like today with Martys.  (www.adventuresinodyssey.com has some awesome stories about martyrs as explanations to kids and applications to kids’ lives).  In the words of the author of Radical, my heart cries out for my children and for me:

“For the sake of 26,000 children who will die today from starvation or preventable disease, I want to risk it all…If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all.”  David Platt
btw – check out these awesome Valentine’s shirts from World Vision:  http://worldvisionshop.org/given/with-all-my-heart-gift-set.html

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