When I was a little girl, I attended a small Southern Baptist church with my family. On Wednesday nights, we learned about missionaries who served all over the world. During my preschool years, I was a member of Carol Schenk’s Mission Friends. I remember Carol reading and singing and I can’t return to that church and sit in that room without thinking of Miss Carol. She was and is a very loving person and I think her warmth must be what stokes the fire of my memory. Preschool was a long, long time ago.
As I grew up, I graduated to Girls in Action. For short, it is called GA’s. Connie Hasty and Virginia Cooper were my leaders from 1st Grade all the way to 6th. They were committed. They drove us to Windermere, a resort in the Ozarks, every spring for our yearly GA Retreat. It was four hours from home and was the BIG TIME for us small town girls. Just imagine driving a 12 or 15 passenger van full of giddy elementary aged girls on a four hour trip and then spending the weekend in a cabin with them. Moment of silence for GA leaders everywhere.
Today, my mom and my good friend Christina Bachtel teach the GA group at that same church. Mom or Donna Smoot still load the van (a slightly newer model) full of girls and head off to GA retreat every year. And I hear the small town girls are still giddy!
Is this important? Well, I think it is. I grew up in a small town with a very, very large view of the world. I was taught about cultures most people never hear of. We tried some of their food, spoke greetings in their language, played dress up in their clothing styles, and prayed for them. We prayed for their water supplies, their food sources, their health, their safety, and of course that they would know that the God of the Bible created them, and He loved them very, very much. We also prayed for the missionaries who served in those villages and cities and countries we would probably never visit. I believed God heard our prayers and it ingrained in my heart and mind that prayer makes a difference. Our leaders taught us the importance of giving our money…and we pestered the adults in our lives to give theirs! The Lottie Moon Christmas offering and Annie Armstrong Easter offering were highlights of my childhood. It was fun to learn about these women and their legacies and to see how much money we could raise to support missionaries and their work.
Basically every part of my adult life has been effected in some way by the foundation the missions teachers at my church, especially my mom, laid during my childhood. I know and do not question the value of human life: every human life in every culture on every continent was created by God and matters to God. I want my kids to know this truth and I want our family life to be built on this truth.
One simple way we have introduced our children to the nations is by teaching them the seven continents and the seven days of the week at the same time, in pairs. Sunday is Antarctica, Monday is North America, Tuesday is South America, Wednesday is Europe, Thursday is Africa, Friday is Asia and Saturday is Australia. Every day of the week we pray for a different continent of precious in His sight people. The ideas for prayer come from many different sources including news headlines, missionaries we know who are serving, places where our sponsored children live and especially locations where natural disasters have struck the land and the people.
One of our life goals is to disciple our children in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command in Matthew 28:16-20, known as The Great Commission.
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Our goal here at Give Me Your Heart is to provide resources to help you disciple your children. With that goal in mind, we will be posting links and writing articles about different cultures and encouraging you to pray as a family for the many different people groups around the world. Since today is Thursday, we are posting a link from Radical about Somalia which is located on the Horn of Africa. David Platt and his team at Radical have prepared an animated YouTube video of the Gospel Story in the Somali language and they want and need it to be viewed and shared over and over and over again. Please join us in being a part of this exciting, creative, fun way of spreading the love of Jesus to the people in Somalia. Africa needs our love, support and prayers. Let’s help get the Word to them!
Til the whole world hears,
Clint and Margie
Question for family discipleship
1. What are practical ways that we can teach our children about other cultures?
2. In our family prayer times, what do we pray about? Does it include more than thanksgiving and personal requests?
3. Should we set aside a dedicated time each day to pray as a family for the different people groups of the world? Why or why not?
4. What people groups are represented in our community and how can we reach out to them in the name of Jesus?