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Jul 01

Families & Missions: Operation G-Force

When I read this month’s topic for Misty’s blog, Families and Missions, I was rather excited. If you have been reading the Barefoot Hippie Girl for any length of time, you know we spent a month on a “mission” trip earlier this year. (here, here, and here) It rocked our world.

Missions have always been very important to me. Our trip was really just putting shoes to a lifetime of missionary awareness training. My parents regularly invited missionaries into our home. I remember hearing stories of snakes and provision and great adventures, all told around their dining room table.

We were also required to read the biographies of missionaries. When I was younger, I thought reading biographies was a bit of a drag, but now I love reading them. I love digging into each person’s story. And I especially love telling these missionary stories to children-my own and other’s.

My parents also encouraged us to regularly write letters to missionaries sent out by our church, or that we knew in other contexts. I have many friends who are in foreign countries telling people about Jesus.

My dream since I was a teenager was to visit my missionary friends in Japan and there we are…

As parents, as Christian parents, we have the responsibility to cultivate a bigger world view in our children than simply these United States. It is our responsibility to lay a foundation for mission/missionary awareness.

How can we do this?

 

1. Great Commission. (Mr. Hippie reminded me of this particular G. Thank you, Mr. Hippie.) All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the names of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:18-20)

 

This is our commission. It is our duty and official charge. It is a command to believers. It is not an option. We have the privilege of sharing with all people everywhere the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, and they can have eternal life instead of eternal punishment.

 

2. Geography. Next to history, geography is probably my favorite subject. I love learning new things about different countries. In home schooling, we generally tackle one country a month. We dive into the culture, study maps, make historical timelines and cook a meal sampling the local cuisine.

 

3. Get Acquainted. As we are studying a new country each month, we pick a missionary to pray for that is ministering in that country. We write them letters, introducing ourselves and beginning a relationship.

 

One thing that really struck us from our trip is how human missionaries are. They aren’t necessarily even the most christian Christians you will ever meet. They are simply Christians who have felt the call to move to another country to share the gospel. And they need friends, just like any other person does.

 

Missionaries love snail mail. But, the world has also shrunk in our day and age, and Skype and email and Facebook are all great ways to dig into what a missionary is doing. “Friend” them. Find out what they like and dislike. Find out what their current pressing needs are-for prayer, etc. Grow a friendship.

 

4. Give. Mr. Hippie and I regularly support a few of our missionary friends. We also have our kids give a portion of their weekly allowances to missionaries. They are learning by example and learning by doing. Quite often the missionary the kids give to is the one they have been praying for all month. Their contribution is usually $5 or less, but they are learning God’s math. Little is much when God is in it.
 
A point that also hit home when we are overseas is that missionaries depend on our monetary gifts for every aspect of daily life. If they want to order in a pizza, they are using money they have been given. Most have no other source of income besides the money from supporters. These gifts go for daily life, plus medical expenses and even getting home for furlough. It is God’s provision-generally through His people. We are the pipeline, folks.

 

5. Go. You may be hearing God’s call to be a full time missionary overseas. And that is absolutely amazing! Leave a comment and I will pray for you.
But, if you are not hearing the call to go full time, how about doing a short term mission trip? Build a orphanage or dig a well. Provide a professional or medical service. Teach a kids’ Bible club. There are endless opportunities and needs.

 

Or, consider just visiting a missionary that is sent out from your church. No “mission” work required. Buy a ticket and visit your missionary on the field. I see FB status updates on a regular basis from missionaries whose friends and family are visiting them. Not a single one of them seems unhappy that someone from home cared enough to come visit. Visit their turf and experience their life. It is eye opening in many ways.

 

You know, if you put aside $10 a week, it would only take a couple years (3 years or less, for one person) to save up enough money to visit a missionary. Instead of buying Starbucks, save that money. $10 is the price of a movie ticket these days. It really is not as costly as you may think. For our family of 6 we spent around $12,000 for a month long trip to Asia. Over 2/3 of that was our flight tickets. That really isn’t that unreachable.

 

Did I mention that we brought our kids? It was kind of implied. We have travelled places without them, but for this trip, we brought them with us. We were visiting their friends too. I think they will never forget the things they saw or the people they met. As a matter of fact, the 3 oldest have all talked about running a missionary guest home in a foreign country some day. That would be awesome!

 

We are already talking about where we want to go next. And we are saving. Maybe someday we will hit Indonesia or Japan again. But we also have friends in Brazil and Croatia, in Spain and Sweden.
Which of these G’s are you already practicing? Which should you start to implement? Can you think of anything else I am forgetting?

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16 comments

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  1. momstheword

    So simple and yet so perfect! I love the get acquainted part. What a great way to introduce your children to missions and give them a heart for it!

    Our eldest son is on a short-term missions trip right now with several youth and leaders from our church. He is 24 so he is one of the leaders, but he went on his own missions trip to Korea when he was a youth.

    Thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party! :)
    momstheword recently posted..I Am A “Mean” Mom And I Am O.K. With ThatMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Yes, teaching them from a young age to understand and love missions! Praying that your son is safe and God works mightily through them! Thank you for stoppin by! Blessings!

  2. Elise Daly Parker

    I have not been on a missions trip, but my kids have. Inspired by your story, I’m going to make a plan with my man. Maybe our grown-up girls would join us? Thanks!
    Elise Daly Parker recently posted..Preparing to Let My Baby Go…My Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Wouldn’t that be great? To go on a mission trip with your kiddos? I love the thought of it, and look forward to fulfilling it one day! Thanks for stoppin by! Blessings!

  3. Tom

    My wife had me read your post and I think it is excellent! I write this as an American missionary who has been serving with my family in the Philippines for the last 5 years. You have many insights: we are just regular folks who are following Jesus with a new address; we enjoy feeling loved through snail mail (email, facebook, and blog comments are nice too); every pencil, pony-tail holder, and PC we use personally or in ministry is God’s blessing through the hands of His people; and a visit by friends to experience the people, places, and culture we serve is a great encouragement.

    May God bless you as you continue to serve Him, wherever you are.
    Tom recently posted..Mountain-Top ExperienceMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      :) I’m so glad that you took the time to stop by at your wife’s encouragement! :) Thank you so much for taking the time to reinforce that which Bernadette speaks of! May God bless you and your family as you serve Him abroad. Blessings!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Thanks, Tom. I am glad you enjoyed it. And that I was spot on.=)
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Go Big or Go Broke TryingMy Profile

  4. Lisa notes...

    Love your practical ideas about how to help our missionary friends. I have friends returning to El Salvador in a week so this reminded me that I need to let them know I’ll be praying for them! Thanks.

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      Prayer is so important! I’m glad that God reminded you through this post to tell them you’d be praying for them! :) Thank you for stoppin by! Blessings!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Yes. Prayer is most important, I think. Then keeping in touch. It is easy to feel you are forgotten when you are on a completely different time some than most of your friends.
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Go Big or Go Broke TryingMy Profile

  5. Jennifer

    Precious! You are my neighbor on GraceLaced Mondays…I am #2. Great post by you on Gs! We have missionary friends, and it is so fun to communicate with them and love on them financially and with our presence from time to time. We never went to their foreign mission sight, but they have come to us before! They need vacations too! What a blessing to visit your friends in Japan! Love your little photos and family…so sweet!
    Jennifer recently posted..Give Thanks to the LordMy Profile

    1. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Cool, Jennifer. We were able to visit friends in Japan and Indonesia and it truly was a blessing to our family.
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Missions…Operation G-ForceMy Profile

    2. simplyhelpinghim

      It truly is such a blessing to part of their lives in whatever way we can! Thank you for stoppin by! Blessings!

  6. Kelsey Ferguson

    I loved your 5 “G’s”! My husband and I just recently started talking seriously about missions. It’s always something that has been on my heart even as a young girl. Your post really got me thinking about all of the other opportunities other than ‘go’ to support missions abroad and here in the States. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! I am inspired! :)
    Kelsey Ferguson recently posted..Monday Moments: Running into our Savior’s ArmsMy Profile

    1. simplyhelpinghim

      It truly was an amazing post wasn’t it? I am always so inspired by her! Thanks for stoppin by! Blessings!

    2. Barefoot Hippie Girl

      Kelsey, I am glad to hear that you have missions on your heart.=) It would be amazing if you made it to the field. But, also cool to start doing stuff here.
      Barefoot Hippie Girl recently posted..Go Big or Go Broke TryingMy Profile

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