I want my kids to know they are not the center of the universe. I want them to have a knowledge of other peoples and cultures and to desire them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Giving my kids a heart for missions (locally and globally) is a priority in our home.
Here are some things we do to encourage a heart for missions and other cultures:
Read Books about other Cultures
One reason I choose to use Sonlight for our homeschool curriculum is the wide variety of cultural diversity in the books it has us read. Some of our favorites are:
- Stories from Around the World by Heather Amery
- Adventures in Ancient Greece by Linda Bailey
- A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman
- Mary on Horseback by Rosemary Wells
- Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
- And many, many more! Including a whole year studying the Eastern Hemisphere!
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Read Books and Listen to Stories about Missionaries
We have greatly enjoyed reading books about missionaries. The series Christian Heroes Then and Now is excellent! Engaging stories and appropriate for elementary aged children and older. The Hidden Heroes series is also similar.
The book Missionary Stories with the Millers is a great introduction to missions for children because each chapter is about a different missionary in a different time and place. This one is fun for all ages.
Torchlighters Heros of Faith DVD series includes some missionary stories. The Gladys Aylward Story and The Amy Carmichael Story are two we’ve enjoyed. FYI: Some of these stories are a bit graphic and I would recommend for ages 10 and older. Please preview these before sharing them with your children.
We’ve also enjoyed listening to the Brinkmann Family Adventures audio dramas.
Listen to Missionaries Talk about their Lives and Ministries
We are blessed to have a church that welcomes and supports missionaries. Our children often have the opportunity to here missionaries share their lives and ministries. We also support missionaries through our church and as a family.
Make it a priority to have your children listen to and interact with missionaries who visit your church.
Give Children Opportunites to Interact with Other Cultures.
This can be as simple as dining in an authentic Mexican, Chinese, Thai, etc. restaurant or as complex as traveling to another country!
Short-term mission trips are excellent experiences for high school and college-aged students. I was blessed to travel to Venezuela once and China twice during my high school and college years. Our church has taken groups to serve on Indian reservations and inner-city minority neighborhoods. These are life-changing experiences that broaden our worldview.
Serve Others in Your Community
A great way to broaden the worldview of your children is to serve others in your community together as a family. Whether to people of the same ethnic background as your family or a different background, serving others causes us to see them as individuals with individual stories. It also teaches our children that it is important to serve others. We help out at a local non-profit thrift store. We help with sorting donations, pricing, and stocking. The kids and I help out for a couple hours a couple times a month.
Finally, memorizing scripture about God’s love for the world is a great way to give your kids a heart for missions. Verses like Matthew 28:18-20 and Romans 10:13-17 emphasize our responsibility to tell others, in our communities and around the world.
Were you exposed to other cultures as a child? What other ways do you help your children have a global worldview?