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One of the most requested topics this year on my speaking circuit has been a lesson in which I list a hundred ideas for training our kids to be servants. Service oriented kids grow up to be productive adult servants in the kingdom and it’s those people to whom the Lord will say, “Come ye blessed of my Father,” according to Matthew 25. So it matters if I’m making a real effort, as a mom, to put the heart of a servant in my child. For this reason, I’ve decided to devote a post, every now and then, to a service suggestion—a simple idea for moms to make their homes busy service centers for young hearts and hands. I’d love to hear from those of you who try them. So here goes:
One of our favorite family Bible time activities as the kids were growing up was to communicate with our missionaries. I would strongly encourage moms who would love for their kids to grow up and carry the gospel to the lost to “adopt” a family missionary. Choose someone (preferably in a foreign country, because this is exciting for children) who will be willing to answer your children’s letters in a fairly timely way. It’s especially beneficial if you can pick someone who has children, so the missionary’s children can have input in the return letters and so that your kids can develop fun relationships with them. It’s also important that you let your young children write these letters in their own hands. You can write for the preschoolers as they dictate and then help them sign their names. Take your kids to the post office with you to find out how much postage to put on the letter and let them drop it in the big blue box.
Our family chose a family in Kenya, Africa. It would be hard to assess the impact this mostly written relationship across the continents had on my kids. It wasn’t hard for Caleb and Hannah to think of questions they wanted to ask. They asked about foods and were amazed to find out that this mom in Kenya had to make her own corn chips from corn meal. They asked about school and learned about private education in Meru. They asked about weather and learned that the house their friends lived in stayed pretty muddy all through the rainy season. They loved looking at the colorful stamps on the postcards or envelopes. In short, they looked forward to letters from Africa. I think the family in Kenya with whom we were corresponding probably looked forward to them, too. My children still have some of these letters in their childhood scrapbooks. You should put them on the frig and on bulletin boards in kids’ rooms and retire them finally to places of safe keeping.
When this family came to do a tour visiting congregations in the States, they contacted our family to borrow clothes from Hannah for one of their daughters to wear to the various churches they visited. They explained that there was just so much they could bring and, since they knew Han was the perfect size, they knew this would work. Wonderful! How much fun for Hannah to pick out some of her best clothes for her friend to wear while visiting!
It was the love of the work of the Lord there and in all mission points that was the big bonus resulting from this correspondence. Both Caleb and Hannah have now had chances to work on foreign soil. Hannah has married a man who is hungry to work on foreign soil. They very well may one day live on a distant shore. Now, you may be thinking, “Cindy Colley is nuts. Who wants to raise kids who want to move around the planet to raise her grandkids?”
The answer is quite honestly…not me….Unless it means that souls who might otherwise not know the gospel will know….Unless it means that somebody else’s grandchildren might not have to experience eternal Hell….Unless it means that my chances of sitting around the throne of God with my kids on THAT distant shore might be enhanced. Life is short. Eternity is…well, eternal. Whatever it is that you can do to plant eternity in the hearts of your kids, you should do it…tonight…in your Family Bible Time.