Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Reaching out to Kids

Children in Missions, Orphanages Add comments

 kids galore

Any seasoned missionary can tell you that the local kids are the most heartbreaking and the most delightful aspect of a mission trip. Our hearts may break when we see the squalor that may be their home, and when we see their poor physical health. But our hearts also swell with love when we see them respond warmly to our touch and attention. Though they appear on the outside to be different, kids all over the world are the same on the inside. They need love, and they need Jesus.

It is very important to interact with the children, whether it is a planned structured activity, such as Vacation Bible School, or an unstructured activity such as an impromptu soccer match. So, what kinds of activities are possible when there are language and culture barriers? I am so glad you asked!

Structured activitiescameraStructured activities are those that are pre-planned and pre-organized. Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a great example. If possible, work with a local pastor. Many times, the mission teams serve as a kind of draw to the local church. Essentially, we aid the local ministry already in place.

Send a team out ahead of time to pass out flyers (in the local language of course), to prayer walk, and to interact some with the kids and adults in the area. I cannot stress enough the necessity of flooding the neighborhood in prayer. Be approachable. You may be asked to pray for a specific need, so be prepared. The locals usually know why you are there.
Most teams create their own VBS lessons. You will need someone fluent in the local language to make sure your message is clear. Here is the way it typically goes:

• First, team members greet kids and parents as they arrive. This is a good time to take pictures. If your camera is digital, show them their pictures. They love it.
• After the greeting, there is music and singing. It is great to have team members seated amongst the kids or at least walking around interacting with them. Make it lively.
• Use skits to illustrate the lesson. Puppets are great, too. Ham it up, but make the message clear.
• Craft time. Keep the craft simple and have it kitted in baggies to pass out to each child. Be prepared for the adults to participate, too. It is a really great idea to make the little kits before you leave home. Trust me on this.
• Give the pastor time to speak.
• Snack time. This is best done as the kids are leaving. Be really organized here. Crowd control is a must.

Unstructured activities

kidUnstructured activities are those that just sort of happen. Maybe your mission is to build a church and during a lull in the work, you notice a group of kids gathered to watch. If possible, take a moment to engage them in something fun. You might be surprised at what happens when you bring out a soccer ball or a bag of beads and string.  Here are some items that you can pack fairly easily and have great fun with.

• Beach balls
• Beads for necklaces
• Balloons (can you make balloon animals?)
• Frisbees
• Bubbles (watch for leakage if flying)
• Bouncy balls
• Hacky sacks
• Coloring pages

Here is the link to great website that offers free multilingual coloring pages and ideas for Bible lessons: http://www.christiananswers.net/kids/clr-indx.html.

Also, some kids like to trade something with you as a sort of memento of your visit. Sometimes the adults will, too, so be prepared. Most of all, have fun and be loving. You have the opportunity to help Jesus change a life.

Photos by  Stig Nygaard

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