Children relate especially well to other children. When they see children, like themselves, from other lands and other cultures, they are immediately drawn in. Their natural curiosity and high-capacity for learning new things enables them to identify with international children quickly. Stories about MKs, videos or PowerPoint presentations featuring pictures from children overseas, even a simple display of artifacts or clothing from other cultures can captivate them.
Don’t neglect to help them understand and visualize the geography, topography, and names of places around the globe in missions. You don’t have to apologize for telling them about a child from some foreign place that has a named that is difficult to pronounce and lives in a city or village that’s difficult to pronounce. It’s helpful if you add a little bit of description as to the meaning of the names, if you can. But part of the intrigue is the differences: names, clothing, housing, transportation, food, pets, toys, games, etc.
As kids pick up on the lifestyle and gospel needs of children connected with your mission fields, they will “infect” their parents with the names and stories that they are hearing. So, you actually get more bang for your buck in missions mobilization by including the children in relevant ways. Children love to pray for things they identify with. They can pray for MKs as their friends. They can pray for the children that our neighbors to their MK friends. They can give their offerings. It’s even more fun to give offerings for missions when the vehicle is interesting, like a globe bank, little M&Ms tubes, a piggy bank shaped like one of the animals from that country, etc.
Children also love to use their imagination to travel to foreign places. They can be explorers on the Amazon, or frontiersman in some remote mountain range, or scientist-researchers looking for a cure to that epidemic in some foreign land. They can be encouraged to come dressed for the part. They enjoy role-play. So, as you teach them, pique their interest and curiosity by having a “special guest” or “celebrity appearance” related to the message you want to get across.
Many churches have used some kind of travel metaphor with a mock passport issued to each child in order to transport them through the missions event timetable around the world, to the locations of their supported missionaries, or through the life of a missionary from childhood to the field. The props you use are limited only by your imagination, your budget, and available space.
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