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BECOMING A WORLD CHANGING FAMILY
Fun and Innovative Ways to Spread the Good News
Donna S. Thomas
Baker Book House, 2004, 157 pp.
Donna has written an encouraging book on how to influence your children so that they will indeed change the world for Christ. Full of practical ideas as well as inspiring stories, Donna’s writing will help you and your family see your world with fresh eyes and to take deliberate steps to involve your children in cross-cultural outreach. The book is all about creative ideas to keep the essentials of Scripture, particularly The Great Commission, foremost in your family’s life. We plan to get several copies to give to our friends with young children.
It is our responsibility to know the Scriptures and to teach them to our children (Deut. 6:5-7). How we do it is up to us. “Creating a family mission statement can be your first step.” (18)
“The Great Commission says to ‘go,’ but we don’t always need a passport. Because we are part of a global society, our missions work has become much easier to accomplish. The world literally has come to us.” “It is up to us to meet and get to know these people, to share the gospel with them.” (13) “Ask them questions about themselves and their countries. They will be totally surprised you want to listen.” “As you see the people of the world and respond to them, so will your children.” (27)
Use colorful storybooks about children from other lands to help toddlers and elementary-school children see that people are different. Hearing words and phrases from foreign languages at an early age helps children understand the diversity and complexity of people. Parents can bring items from other cultures for their children to touch and examine. The smell and tastes of foods at ethnic restaurants can teach children a great deal.
“Praying for other people is a priority for Great Commission kids.” “A child can use his finger to stop a spinning globe and then you can pray right then for that country.” Operation World will provide valuable prayer information. (44)
You can throw a Mexican party for your kids and their friends. Or go to an ethnic festival in your city.
Make missionary memories with your children. There is no substitute for having missionaries in your home.
“When I take someone to visit a foreign country, I always tell them, ‘Now is the time to learn to see through the eyes of Jesus Christ.’ ‘What does he see?’ You can also look at local crowds through Jesus’ eyes. (73)
To make friends of people from other nations, you first have to find them. You can find them in your school. Start a conversation in a grocery store. Ask about their country of birth.
“Compassion starts with you. If you don’t see the crowds through the eyes of Christ, and if you don’t have compassion, your children won’t either. Give careful thought to your reactions to the crowds.”
Invite Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists into your home.
You can take a local world trip! Start by giving each of your children a ‘world travel book,’ an ordinary notebook they can label. Have them write down the countries they know something about and can locate on a world map. Then explore your city and see how many more countries you can add.
Go shopping for clothes. Examine the labels. Visit religious sites. Enjoy the cuisine. Look up the countries you find in Operation World.
How about the foreign students in your city? They are searching for a friend in your big city. You can become that friend. Start with the international student advisor and tell him you want to develop friendships with some international students and help them with their English.
Sponsor a needy child.
Take your family on a short-term mission. “I don’t think you or your kids can fully understand the Great Commission without having a missions experience. These experiences will teach you and change you.”
Grandparents and the church both have important roles in developing a missions heart in children.
“’Go’ means around our town, our state, our country, and our world. Go to people of very race, every color, every language. Like an artist, we’re creating a mosaic. God’s church is a mosaic.”
“I challenge you to pull out a poster board. Write at the top ‘God’s Messengers.’ Then list the disciples’ names and other names of those you admire for their service to God. Now comes the important part. Add each of your family members’ names. What do you think of that? Look good? Frame it. Gather your family together to pray over it, then hang it on the wall, somewhere prominent, where everyone can see it. You and your family are the Lord’s disciples, chosen by him to carry his message to the people of this world. Chosen by him—Almighty God.” (90)