Caring for others isn't a box we check off as Christians.
It is a way of life.
It is a way of life I want to model for my children each and every day. It is a way of life I am COMMANDED to model for all those around me.
If you've been reading here for any length of time you know the struggle I've been going through - seeing children in orphanages in Ecuador left me heartbroken and feeling helpless. I'm learning, however, that God wanted me broken so I could do more for HIM.
This summer we are doing very little for ourselves; that is intentional. We want our children to have opportunities to serve and for them to develop a heart for missions.
Some of the sacrifices have been HARD.
My children have given up a few things they really wanted to do this summer in order to be better stewards of their time and money. I knew this would be hard.
Or so I thought.
I underestimated my children. In the absence of things we would typically do, they are having a good summer, and finding joy in some unexpected places.
It is my prayer as a parent to instill in my children a heart for service - a heart for those in need.
Here are 5 things our family is doing, and I'm sure you can do them, too!
Sponsor a Child Through Compassion International
Our child, Andry, lives in Colombia. We receive letters from her and write letters in return. We know she is my Anna's age. She is living in a single-parent household on very little each month. She loves to read and she loves Jesus.
My children's eyes have been opened through Andry's life and words to us. For us, sponsoring a child is just $38/month.
Let's put it in perspective: this is the price of a LEGO set... those are terms my children can understand.
Visit Compassion's site and choose a child you can sponsor today. It will be an enriching experience for your entire family.
Operation Christmas Child is near to my heart. After distributing boxes in Ecuador last December my life was forever changed.
One little shoebox is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship with Christ.
Some of these children so beautifulyl reflect God's love and spirit - remember Marisol?
We save shoebox items all year long and will have a box packing party in November.
Now, when we are in Target or some other store, my kids aren't asking for things for themselves, they're bugging me to look for shoebox items!
Serve In Your Community
In January I prayed for God to send me opportunities to help - opportunities I could share with my children.
Our church participates in a summer lunch program. Children on free and reduced lunches in the public schools receive lunches during the summer, delievered by local churches.
We meet on Fridays to pack lunches, make cards, and then deliver those lunches.
It's hard to express what this has done for my children. While telling their dad about delivering the lunches, my son told us he wanted to fast for a day. My daughter gave up a lucrative mother's helper job on Fridays because delivering lunches was important to her.
You don't have to find a formal opportunity to serve, either. Be on the lookout for people around you in need.
There are so many people that need help if you just open your eyes to SEE them.
Support a Missionary
In March my husband traveled on mission to Loma de Luz, a medical mission and children's home in Honduras.
Our friend, Christine, is an amazing young woman who works as the director of the medical lab at Loma de Luz. She is following God's command in an extraordinary way.
We pray for her. We would like to start setting aside money to help her. We talk with our children about the work Christine is doing.
Sometimes kids just don't know about missionaries - we need to share the stories of missionaries we know and we need to support them through our time, money, and prayers.
We need to ENCOURAGE our children to be missionaries. (Yes, this means they might grow up and leave us and work somewhere far away and possibly dangerous!)
Help a Friend Going on a Mission Trip
My dear friend, Andi, loves children. She teaches the children's choir at our church. She runs a special needs ministry at our church, as well.
She is a gifted lady with a huge heart for others.
On a whim (which I told her was the prompting of the Holy Spirit), she applied to travel to Ehtiopia (would you believe she entered an essay contest through the Joy FM and she won?) to deliver shoes through Buckner Ministries -- Shoes for Oprhan Soles.
I'm so proud of her. But guess what?
Her trip will cost her $5,000 out of pocket.
I told her we would help her raise money. (This is where the kids come in!)
Pictured below: Andi, our friend Eddie, and Grant
We decided to make fishtail rubber band bracelets. Lots of them! (I know from experience in Ecuador that the children LOVED receiving these bracelets!)
How YOU Can Help
We are hoping people will sponsor a bracelet to Ethiopia. Here's how it works:
- Sponsor a package of 2 bracelets for $5-$10 (your choice).
- Keep one of the bracelets and wear it as a reminder to pray for the shoe recipients and the trip participants.
- The other bracelet will travel with Andi to Ethiopia and bless a child.
Isn't that fun?
If you and your children want to sponsor bracelets, simply send me an email - I will get your address and send you your bracelet and a link for the donation site!
If you just want to donate for my friend's trip you can visit her donation site.
I will keep you aware of her trip and be sure to share about it here on the blog.
Wouldn't it be cool to have your child do a few jobs for you around the house, and as payment tell them you are sponsoring a bracelet to go half way around the world to bless an orphan?
What do you do to develop your kids' hearts for missions? I'd love to hear some creative ways to encourage my own children even further!
Subscribe to my email list to receive special subscriber-only content and freebies!