Mission Trips at Home
Last time I blogged about Letters Every Father Should Write to explain the importance of communicating with your kids, especially during those milestone moments. This week, we’re going on a trip, but instead of a staycation, it’s going to be a mission trip at home!
Raising kids who are aware of other cultures and needs around the world-both spiritually and physically, help them gain an international perspective that I believe grounds them in a lot of areas.
It helps combat prejudices and create a love for all peoples of the world. I want to teach my kids to focus primarily on what people are on the inside and not just what they look like on the outside.
Stacy Berdan in here Huffington Post blog on 10 Tips for Raising a Global Child states that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to help them thrive in a global atmosphere.
Teaching them to communicate, interact and gain an appreciation for other cultures will empower them to be stronger candidates in the workforce, especially if they know another language.
Not only will their social skills be at a premium, but their professional abilities to work with the many differences that life and people present will be magnified.
A great start for that is taking mission trips from home. If you don’t have the time, money or simply your children aren’t old enough yet to venture to a foreign land, then these “in-house” mission trips are for you!
For our mission trip today, we’re just going to go on a general one to get to know the country and find out ways we can serve.
Our mission trip this month is scheduled for THAILAND and we’re going to learn about the culture, the land and ultimately their need for Jesus.
There’s several different kinds of mission trips such as:
- Vacation Bible Schools
- Visiting Orphanages
- Medical Missions
- Prison Ministries
- Feeding the hungry
- Bible Translation
- Building Schools
- Several if not all of the above at once.
- (Feel free to explain the purpose of each of these to your kids)
Any successful mission trip requires teamwork, so we’re going to work together on what we need to pack, how we can prepare ourselves mentally for this trip and how we can make the most impact in the Thai people’s lives.
If you were to travel there in person, you’d certainly make some new friends, see that most people there live on a whole lot less than we do and how they conduct their daily lives.
SAMPLE packing list for Thailand:
- Clothes-long sleeve/long pants if you’re in need of bug proof clothing
- Bandana-to wipe the sweat off your face
- Comfortable shoes-closed shoes and flip flops
- Bug spray
- Wet Wipes
- (Bring some of these to your lesson to make it more real)
Other ideas to make the “in-house” trip special:
- Get a postcard from the country you’re visiting
- Get a penpal there and start writing to another child (I have not used these so make sure and research yourself)
- Watch a YouTube video of the country (Sample ones listed below)
- Get prayer cards from church of missionaries your church supports
- Order some “Mission Art”: (Some of my favorite below)
- Depending on your child’s bent, study the bugs, climate, culture, geography, music, food or whatever would interest them the most as part of your lesson.
- (Is there something from this list you can do?)
Ann Dunagan in her book “Mission Minded Family” rightfully says “Instead of merely asking God to bless your kids, meet your needs and fulfill your personal goals, seek God for how your family can bless others, meet others’ needs, and help fulfill God’s goals…”*
These “in-house” trips are a great way to shift the focus. First thing that we have to do to prepare for any mission trip is to pray. Let’s ask God’s protection and blessing as we travel overseas to Thailand.
“Heavenly Father we thank you for the chance to go and serve the Thai people. We ask for your protection and blessing as we minister to them in Jesus Name, amen.”
Since we’re traveling from Colorado to Thailand –that’s approximately 8,000 miles away! Let’s board the plane and head out to Thailand. It will take approximately 18.5 hours to get there.
Additional Ideas to experience another country within your home:
- If you wanting to try different foods around the world, go to www.trytheworld.com and subscribe to their taste the world one country at a time. Every couple months you’ll get some treats such as teas, cookies, jams and more all created by an expert chef. They give other recipes and stories behind the products to make it interesting. It works out to be less than $20 a month depending on how you set up your payment plan.
- Little Passports Subscription : Monthly packages come in the mail every month from specified countries with souvenirs, letters and activities.
- Google Maps lets our take kids take walks down streets of every major city and town in the world. Allowing them to get a sense of other cultures and see some cool sites from the comfort of your home.
- Mobile Apps for kids to learn other languages. FlashCards Thai Lesson by Vannala Mobile Apps gives the Thai spelling along with the English spelling. What I like about this app is that it says the word in the Thai language, has the picture and writes it out along with the English Translation. My children are fascinated by how different the Thai language is from English.
- Sponsor a child http://www.compassion.com/default.htm
- Loan money through Kiva https://www.kiva.org/ as little as a $25 loan.
- Go to a museum and specifically seek out artifacts from other countries.
- Host a foreign exchange student and maybe encourage your child to work abroad during their college internship.
- Give to the mission fund at your church. If your church doesn’t have a strong mission’s fund, contact a mission agency that you could support directly and ask if there’s any outstanding needs you can help support.
- Observe some of their holidays: Many of their Public & National holidays are from the passing or birthdays of past queens or kings which could be an interesting study on some of their bios. Global holidays such as New Year’s and Christmas are celebrated with rich cultural history and great variations to how we celebrate them here in Western Society. National Nurses day, National Science Day and even National Children’s day are observed holidays in Thailand and they would be interesting to learn about those and even celebrate those from a Thai perspective.
- Cook some of their food. A trip to the library, online or through an app on your phone will deliver thousands of recipes from other countries. I’ve included one of my favorite recipes for Thai Fried Rice which I’ve made on several occasions Chicken Fried Rice Recipe. Of course I always have to add extra spice to it.
If you would like to see these ideas in action, go to my YouTube Mission Trips at Home and take a look for yourself! It doesn’t take much preparation of time and money to make a little mission trip from home. Get your kids involved, have fun and just get started!
If you like my content, feel free to subscribe as well as email or comment on any ideas to make “in-house” mission trips even better!
* Mission-Minded Family: Releasing Your Family to God’s Destiny. 2008. By Dunagan, Ann. Colorado Springs, Authentic Books. pg 1.
* Pictures taken by my wife on her trip to Thailand in 2009