Recently, the Lord has laid a burden on my heart for people. Specifically, the burden is for missions and ministry, to encourage and pray for those involved in doing God's work, to contribute my own resources toward helping others, and to impress this burden onto my children. Part of my motivation grew from reading about a curriculum called Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve. Since my boys already know their letters, we love our My Father's World curriculum, and I prefer a more cohesive, unit-based method of study to the disjointed "letter of the week" approach, I decided not to invest in the curriculum kit, but reading about the serving aspect was certainly inspiring. In the free sample lesson, author Laura Coppinger shares how she taught her son letter sounds with service projects: surprising Daddy with Doughnuts, bringing Flowers to Felice, or Making Muffins for the Millers. I love the idea of doing projects, not just for the sake of doing them, but in order to bless others.
As I thought and prayed about this subject, an idea for "Missions Mondays" quickly grew into a week of alliterative themed days to help the children (and me) grow in our faith. Here is the proposed schedule for our upcoming weeks:
Missions Mondays: We will pray for specific missionaries, write notes of encouragement to them (the boys will draw pictures or make cards), learn about the parts of the world where these missionaries are serving, and develop a heart for evangelism.
Teens and Twenties Tuesdays: Since Don and I recently started a College and Career ministry at our church, this will help the boys get involved as they make cards, assemble care packages for college students, and join us in praying for the youth of our church body.
Worldwide Wednesdays: We recently started sponsoring a child through Compassion International, so some Wednesdays we will write to him. Other weeks we will do service projects that benefit the local community, contribute to charity, bake cookies for a neighbor, or find other ways to show compassion to people anywhere in the world.
Thankful Thursdays: To develop a spirit of thankfulness, each child will think of something he is thankful for, write and illustrate it, and add the page to a Thankfulness Notebook. I anticipate that learning about missionaries, lost souls, and people in poverty will help us all become more aware of how very blessed we are!
Fellowship Fridays: We will pray for families at church and find ways to bless our brothers and sisters in Christ with notes of encouragement, small gifts, or acts of service.
Selfless Saturdays: This could also have been "Family Fridays" or "Sibling Saturdays" since the goal is for us to focus on showing love to those in our family. All five of us are guilty of displaying selfishness at home, so spending Saturdays together can easily lead to sibling battles and outbursts of anger. My prayer is that all of us, and the boys especially, will look for ways to bless our family members instead of acting in selfishness.
Sanctuary Sundays: Sunday is our day to gather with other believers and worship God. We don't do "school" on weekends, but I hope to always make time to meet with God, and encourage the children to do the same. Sadly, in the rush of getting out the door to church and other activities, Sundays are often the day when we spend the least amount of time reading His Word!
It is only Wednesday, but so far the boys, and five year old Donny especially, have been enthusiastically receptive to our Days. They love to make birthday, holiday, or "just because" cards for people, so encouraging others with some unexpected mail naturally resonates with them. Earlier this week, they drew pictures and helped me write a note to a missionary family that we met last spring, and painted watercolor paintings to decorate the dorm of a college friend. Today they eagerly helped me sort through all of our family's shoes to decide what to donate to Shoes 2 Share. We just read in Donny's magazine yesterday about the Clubhouse Jr. challenge, and we are all excited to add our contributions to the thousands of shoes already collected for children in Haiti and other parts of the world!
I am not sure how many projects we will be able to fit in once we get back to our regular homeschooling schedule on Labor Day, but I hope and pray that we continue to make service a priority in our home education. I am confident that our themed days will give us the structure and enthusiasm we need to keep joyfully serving the Lord!
Lord willing, with continued prayer and diligence, a schedule for everyday ministries Works for Me!