Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Pentecost > Fun Ways to Celebrate Pentecost as a Family

I wonder why we don’t have many long held traditions for celebrating Pentecost, (the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the church). I don’t know, but this lack of tradition does give us freedom to come up with our own way to remember the day. I thought that finding out about countries of the world would be a fun way to introduce children to missions and provide a base for understanding the great commission, and hopefully they will adopt it as a lifestyle.

Try Foods from Different Countries

This is a really fun way to get to know something about different countries. Recipes can be found on the internet, or check out cookbooks from the library. If trying new recipes sounds too overwhelming, try eating at restaurants--Indian, Chinese, Thai, Lebanese--what ever is nearby.

Watch Travel Shows

Channels, such as the Discovery channel, have interesting shows about different  countries. This is one of the easiest ways to learn about different countries. O.k., so you do have to find a show, and record it so the whole family can watch it. Another option is to see what the library has. But it’s worth the hassle. First, you catch your children’s interest with something fascinating, then help them to come understand God’s great commission--to give everyone in the world a chance to hear the gospel.

Read Books

Read missionary biographies out loud as a family. It’s fun, and it can help your children’s faith grow as they see how God is working around the world. It is also almost effortless. We read biographies on Sunday evenings when my husband was too tired to play games or talk to our children after a long day of ministering at church, but he could read a book. The kids would beg for him to keep reading when he started to close the book. Occasionally we ended up with a boring book--and we just set those aside rather than keep reading and risk their feeling like God’s work is boing. Travel books are a good source for finding out about different countries, especially if combined with trying food from the same countries, as well as watching shows about the same countries.

Play Games

These games can be games they play in the countries you are “studying” that you find on line or in library books. Or they can be games that you buy in a toy store or game store that help your children learn about the world. One example of this would be National Geographic’s Mystery Voyage Game, Another example would be a computer game called Geosafari. Our children were able to learn the names of countries and capitals and rivers, and where they were located on an unmarked maps. This computer game also has flags and currencies.

Make Crafts

Each child has different interests, and so different ways to capture their hearts. Some children don’t particularly enjoy games, but they love being creative (me, for instance, though I do admit I’m not a kid anymore.) So, for these children to become interested in countries from around the world will take a bit more effort, since you not only need to find out about crafts or hands on projects that kids do in those countries, but also find the materials to make them. Here, again, the internet and library can be great resources.

Pray for Countries

Now that your family has begun to learn more about the people around the world in fun ways, it is time to get serious and get down to business on a deeper level--namely to pray for the lost people in all the different countries of the world. There is a tool, in English, to help you pray intelligently: Operation World, and the one for children, give information about many countries, such as percentage of Christians in the population. The children’s version has color pictures on every page as well as stories to introduce children and and their lifestyles in that country, along with specific prayer requests. We used these two volumes to pray for the world on Wednesdays (an easy way to remember.)

Service Projects

Children learn from watching a good example as well as by doing it for themselves. Service projects can accomplish both at the same time if you do it together. Do your research, and choose carefully, because you want it to be a good experience, particularly early on. Eventually they will need to learn that helping people can be messy and hard, but it is easier to not start there. If you don’t know where to begin, you can talk to your pastor or youth pastor, or go on line and see what groups are working with international people in your area. There are all kinds of ways to help these people, whether it is going to ‘get to know you’ parties, to befriending them and inviting them into your home for a meal, to helping them get official documents all worked out, to helping them learn the language, to helping them find, stores, schools, or doctors in the area. If you haven’t lived overseas, you may not be aware how difficult  seemingly simple tasks can be to accomplish if the language and culture of the host country have not been fully learned. Is becoming involved with internationals worth the time and energy this will require? Unequivocally! You can make the difference between someone living with difficulty and returning to their homeland an enemy of our country, and someone who adjusts well to their new environment because of a helping hand, and return to their countries as ambassadors of Christ because the people who befriended them also introduced them to the Savior. I only wish all Christians would become involved in this way.

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