Whenever someone from your family goes on a mission trip, that’s the perfect time to study that country. If your husband is in the military and gets deployed to different countries, that’s another good time to study a country. You can support someone from your church who is a missionary or someone who is going on a short-term mission. One time my family wanted to support a young couple going on a mission trip to Africa for a month. (He was an airplane pilot.) We had no money at all. Both my husband and I decided we wanted to give $100 toward the mission trip. So I prayed for the money. I told the kids we needed to sell some of their toys so people in Africa could hear about Jesus. They basically said we could sell everything because it was worth it. I don’t know why I was surprised when all the little things we sold added up to $100!
Now those missionaries belonged to us, you see. The children felt like they owned those missionaries, and they prayed like crazy. When the missionaries came back to the U.S., we took the kids to the airport to see our missionaries return. Talk about giving children a heart for missions.
This past summer, my husband went on a mission trip to the Czech Republic to teach at an English camp. In the evenings they were able to share the gospel. The day before my husband left, we went to the library to find books with pictures of the Czech Republic. I prayed there would be a video, too. Lo and behold, there was a half-hour video on the Czech Republic, and it was a lot of fun to watch. It immersed us into the culture, and we were able to see where the children’s dad was going to be.
After taking him to the airport, we studied the Czech Republic by reading five or six pages out of a longer book. (It included politics: the communists had taken over, which was why so many people today are atheists.) We listened to classical music from the Czech composer, Dvorak. We figured out what time zone my husband was in, and we prayed each night for him. “Dear heavenly Father, please help Dad sleep…no, wait…please give Dad a good day, since it’s 7 in the morning.” These were typical prayers my children prayed. We had counted out the time zones on a flat map and a globe, and they realized that their dad was basically on the other side of the earth.
We colored a map of the Czech Republic and drew a flag. When my husband e-mailed to tell us which city he was in, we looked it up on the map. He said he hiked into Germany. “Germany!” yelled my ten-year-old, as he ran to the map and saw that Germany borders the Czech Republic to the north.
When my husband returned home after three weeks, my kids made him a welcome home banner. He brought some foods from the Czech Republic, which the children enjoyed, furthering their experience of the country. My husband also brought back coins for the children’s coin collections. They looked at post cards and examined his map showing where he had been. We even looked at a New Testament written in the Czech language.
My pastor came up to my family’s picnic blanket after church one day and looked at the kids. He asked me if our whole family would be going to the Czech Republic some day. I had an odd feeling that we might do just that.
Susan is the married, homeschooling mom of four. Visit her website and blog at www.SusanEvans.org