Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Famous Missionary: Everett Swanson

by Melissa Chang |

Famous Missionaries, Missions Organizations, Orphanages, Poverty

Everett Swanson

To be honest, Everett Swanson isn’t that famous. However, he should be. His actions have led to MILLIONS of children being fed, clothed, and educated around the world.

It was 1952. Everett was a pastor who volunteered to go to Korea during the war to preach to the troops. He had never before been to another country. He was only there for a few days. But those days changed not only his life, but millions of lives around the world.

Everett Swanson in KoreaAs he was taking a walk a young boy ran up, stole his coat, and ran off. Everett ran after the boy to get his coat back. As he rounded a corner, he ran smack into the middle of a huge neighborhood of shanties. He saw his coat laying in an open doorway of one of those wooded shacks. He went to pick it up, thinking the young thief had dropped it and run off. 

To his surprise, as he lifted the coat, there was the young boy, frightened, shivering, and horribly thin. As his eyes grew accustomed to his surroundings, he noticed half a dozen more small children shivering under rags. He later learned that these were orphans whose parents had been killed in the war. Quickly he went to a local storefront to get them some hot soup and blankets.

Everett Swanson with young childOnce back in his room at the base, he couldn’t get the kids off his mind. The next day he went back. In front of his shanty, there was a large garbage type truck throwing rags into the back. As he got closer, he realized with horror that the rags were children who had not made it through the night. Even more horrible, he realized this truck was going through the entire neighborhood, not just this one building. There were starving and dying children everwhere.

Finally, it was time to return. On the plane he kept hearing in his mind, What are you going to do? What are you going to do?  Instead of ignoring this voice, he actually did something. He collected money to begin a fund to help those children. Eventually, Compassion International was founded. Over 1 million children have been supported by individuals hoping to make a difference in the lives of hungry children all over the world.

Here is a video about Everett Swanson’s life, featuring the President of Compassion International, Wes Stafford.

Reaching out to Kids

by Beverly Cooper |

Children in Missions, Orphanages

 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

Types of missions trips

by admin |

Evangelism, Health, Orphanages, Picking a Trip, Service Projects, Types of Missions

Missionaries go to unfamiliar patches of Earth and spend their time in service to others. There are different kinds of missions, but they all will include service.

Evangelistic trips have the main objective of sharing Christ cross-culturally. Common ways this message is shared are through sermons, tracts, or even drama. It is very important that people on evangelistic missions remember that they must be learners before teachers. Learn about the new environment and all you can about the people. God is already working in the culture and He will present opportunities to share.

Other trips are focused on service projects that help meet a specific need. Sometimes that need is building a home for a family, or constructing a church or school. Other needs are health-related, and medical missions supplies nurses, doctors and medicine to help meet the physical needs of the community. Health Care

Orphanage ministries are another common focus for missionaries. Orphanages in developing countries are often understaffed with the caregivers being far outnumbered by the children. Those who enjoy working with children will find their gifts greatly appreciated by kids who need daily love and attention.

If you have discovered the type of trip that fits your skills and interests, pray and research what country needs that mission work. On the other hand, if you feel confident about your destination, be sure to tailor the type of ministry that you will be involved in to that country’s need.  

“If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.” — Jordan Groom

At first we may not readily associate a king’s crown and throne as being trinkets of a lowly position, but the kingdom of God is different than any earthly reign. God became a man and chose not to be served, but to serve others.

Photo by soldiersmediacenter

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