Although my local church includes children in their annual mission emphasis events, two ladies and I prayed about an ongoing way to give the kids a strong global worldview. Out of those prayers came M&M kids club. Our church had Awana scheduled on Wednesday nights during the school year. When summer came, we started M&M kids club during the same time slot and met weekly until Awana started again in the fall.
For three months, we immersed our children in a specific culture. One summer we focused on Romania. We sampled Romanian recipes, colored Romanian flags, created a huge Romanian map in the church parking lot (with sidewalk chalk), did worksheets about the country, heard a continuing story about the country, and prayed for the Romanian people.
Each summer, we invited someone from the highlighted country to do a short presentation for the children. Sometimes it was a person from the featured culture who lived nearby. Other times, our guest speaker was a global worker who served in the country. For Romania, we teamed up with a local lady who had grown up in Romania. She brought in several cultural items from her home and explained them to the kids.
Since we live near a multi-ethnic city, we had the opportunity to take the children on short trips to areas of the city that embodied the cultures we were learning about – a trip to Chinatown for dim sum during our China summer, a trip to Little India when we learned about India, and a trip to a Holocaust Museum the year we studied Israel.
At the end of each summer, we invited the entire church family to a culminating celebration. After learning about New Guinea, we went to a church member’s farm and had a New Guinean Mumu–a traditional meal cooked on hot rocks which included potatoes, green vegetables, and meat cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves.
The intent of the M&Ms club was not merely to expand our children’s view of the world, but also to cultivate caring hearts for peoples of the world that God created. One of the highlights of the summers was getting personally involved in global ministry by raising money and praying for a specific cause that connected with the culture we focused on. Here are some ministry projects we did.
Romania – raised money for Romanian Bibles
India – raised money for Awana India (the national Awana missionary and his wife actually came and visited our club to thank us).
China – raised money for a global workers serving there through their business
Zambia – raised money for an orphanage
One of the most memorable projects was the year we focused on the Philippines. Through a ministry our church supported in the country, we learned about a small boy who had fallen off a water buffalo and broken his back. He needed money for surgery. The kids worked hard at raising money by doing extra chores at home and helping neighbors. Even though the boy lived far away, they connected with him as they prayed for his health and saw the amount of money increase.
The kids (with help from the church) collected $4000 and the child was able to afford the necessary treatment. Sadly, he died during surgery. The global workers in the Philippines continued to work with the boy’s parents and as a result of the children’s gift, the entire family came to know Christ as Savior. The children had an eternal, global impact.
What can your church or family do to expand your children’s view of the world and develop God’s loving hearts for the nations? Many kids enjoy research. Take advantage of that and be creative in providing opportunities for them to learn about other places and cultures. If possible, introduce them to people from the cultures you are studying. Include times of prayer for those without access to the gospel. Initiate projects that matter.