Take your family beyond the neighborhood swimming pool and playground this summer. You have the opportunity to explore 27 countries on six continents. Check out the summer issue of Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine. They’ve created Around the World in 60 Days. Downloadable materials are free. They include a world map, itinerary, passport, and stamps that you can glue into it as you visit each country. Here are the areas you’ll visit:
Week 1: Oceania
Week 2: Asia
Week 3: Central Asia/Eastern Europe
Week 4: Middle East
Week 5: Africa
Week 6: Western Europe
Week 7: South America
Week 8: Central America/Caribbean
Week 9: North America
Bible lessons and activities help you get a glimpse into other cultures. General prayer requests for each region are included. Here’s a sample activity for Colombia, South America:
In Colombia, older members of the family are greatly respected for their wisdom. They are always served first at mealtimes. At your next meal, serve the people at the table in order from oldest to youngest. Leviticus 19:32
If you’d like to pray specifically for unreached peoples who live in these regions, go to Joshua Project. Click on the country you’d like to learn about to read about specific people groups and their needs.read more
Prayer Concerns for the week of May 13, 2013
· Give thanks to God for the arrest of an accused child pornographer who had been on the run for almost five years and on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for a year. http://tinyurl.com/c9ed2ja http://tinyurl.com/cdotylr
o Pray for the children with whom this man had contact over the past years…he taught third grade at an elementary school and tutored students for free; he has also worked as a nanny, teaching assistant, youth counselor, and a camp counselor at an all-boys summer camp.
o Pray for the boys of whom he allegedly took sexually explicit photographs while he was staying in their homes or babysitting them. Please pray the images of these children being sexually abused will all be retrieved so the children won’t be victimized further.
o Pray for justice for every child allegedly injured by this man. Pray for their physical and emotional healing.
o Pray for this alleged predator/child pornographer…that God will be at work in his life, healing and redeeming him.
United States—Foster Care Prayer Vigil
· Pray for the more than 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. Pray all children in the system will experience God’s love through the love and care given them by those involved in the child welfare system. http://tinyurl.com/dy2cr8g
· Please pray God will provide each child with a “forever family” and that God will prepare the hearts of these children to be ready for the families God will provide.
· Pray God will open doors to keep sibling groups intact or in contact with one another as they grow up.
· Please pray God will heal the deep hurts that foster children have experienced and protect them from future harm.
· Pray God will transform the children’s lives and hearts. Pray they will be able to forgive those who hurt them.
· Pray for the hundreds of thousands of young adults in our country who have “aged out” of the child welfare system. Pray they might still find a “forever family” to call their own and find mentors to help them navigate life wisely. Pray they might know how much they are loved by our Gracious God.
Prayer Concerns for the week of May 6, 2013
· Please keep in prayer nine girls, between ages 13 and 17, who were trafficked into prostitution in Ottawa by three other teenage girls. The victims were lured to a home using social media, given alcohol or drugs to control them, and then taken by taxi to the homes of men who allegedly paid to have sex with them. Pray for the emotional, physical, and spiritual healing of these young victims of sexual exploitation. Pray for justice for these teenage girls…that those who prostituted or abused them will be held accountable for their actions.
· Pray for the teenage girls, two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old, who ran this alleged prostitution ring and who now face charges including human trafficking, procuring for prostitution, abduction, forcible confinement, robbery, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats, and printing and publishing child pornography.
· Pray for the four men who allegedly paid to have sex with the trafficked girls…that they will come to truly understand how their behavior devastates young lives. http://tinyurl.com/cxzn94d
· Continue to keep the estimated 320,000 homeless people close in prayer as they face evictions from their make-shift homes in temporary camps set up in Port-au-Prince after the January 2010 earthquake. Pray for children and families who’ve been evicted without notice off public spaces by Haitian authorities or private property by landowners ready to reclaim their land. Pray for an increase in affordable housing in Port-au-Prince—the housing shortage was severe even before the quake with about 70 percent of the population living in slums.
· Pray for the girls and women who prostitute themselves to be able to survive or feed their families. Pray for those who struggle to survive in the camps. Poverty, overcrowding, and horrible living conditions coupled with the scarcity of jobs often compel women and girls to exchange sex for food. http://tinyurl.com/cd967ez
· Keep the 38 children and the staff and volunteers at Naomi’s Village in prayer as they deal with heavy rains that have caused mudslides near this home for orphaned and at-risk children. Pray the roads leading to Naomi’s Village will become passable soon. Please keep in prayer 2-year-old Francis and 7-year-old Jane, the two newest children at Naomi’s Village, as they adjust to life in their new home. https://naomisvillage.com/
· Give God thanks that the CURE International Hospital on the Kijabe mission station didn’t sustain structural damage in a mudslide there. Thanks be to God the patients and staff are all safe! Please pray for CURE’s staff and volunteers as they assess the impact this mudslide will have on the hospital and the other ministries in which they are involved at the mission station. http://cure.org/hospitals/
· Pray for those who have lost homes and loved ones in the flooding and mudslides. An estimated 90,000 people have been displaced by the flooding and 62 have died, including children buried alive in landslides. Pray for those who have lost their homes, crops, and livestock. Please pray for those who are stranded and for those without access to food, dry shelter, clean water, and medical care.
· Pray Kenya’s government will be able to implement water harvesting and water management during these periods of heavy rain as their country swings between drought and flooding almost every year. http://tinyurl.com/c6l6l76
· Please pray for children who are abused and neglected. Pray for the safety and healing of each child abuse victim. Pray they have someone they can turn to in times of crisis or emergency. Pray every child has the opportunity to grow up in a nurturing environment, free from harm and fear. Pray for raised public awareness of child abuse and neglect. Pray more people will step forward when they recognize a situation of child abuse and report it.
· Pray for the women and men who work for child protective organizations around the country as they serve abused and at-risk children and struggling families. Give God thanks they are willing do very challenging and difficult work—investigating situations of abuse and neglect, removing children who have been hurt, working with parents to help them regain custody of their children, and placing children in safe homes. Pray for the safety, emotional health, spiritual well being, and leadership skills of these workers. Pray God will bless them with wisdom in their interactions with children, parents, advocates, and those in the legal system.read more
Prayer Concerns for the week of April 29, 2013
· Please continue to keep Nancy* and the children for whom she cares at Hallelujah Orphanage in Burma held close in prayer. Pray God will provide the resources Nancy and her family need to care for all 11 children (ranging in age from 9 to 18) in their home. Pray God will bring complete healing to Nancy who has been suffering from severe stomach pain for quite some time. Please pray this pain will be relieved soon.
*Name changed for confidentiality and/or protection.
· Pray for the little girl at this orphanage who didn’t pass her exam when all the other children passed theirs. Give God thanks these children have the opportunity to attend school and receive an education. Thanks be to God the children are able to attend a special conference at a church near their home where they will learn more about Jesus Christ.
· Keep the people of China’s Sichuan province close in prayer as they deal with the aftereffects of a powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake on April 20, 2013. Pray medical and humanitarian assistance will be able to reach the thousands who were injured as many roads in this mountainous region were made impassable by the quake. http://tinyurl.com/crlvql5
· Pray for children and families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, the 712 aftershocks, or the landslides triggered by the quake. Pray for those who don’t have safe or warm shelter in this mountainous area that has also been experiencing recent rains.
· Give thanks to God that no schools collapsed in this quake. In the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 70,000 people in May of 2008, many poorly constructed schools collapsed, killing hundreds of students.
· Please pray for the families and friends of those killed in this disaster. Pray God will comfort them and provide them with a community of support and care. http://tinyurl.com/c5erxyk
· Pray for the families and friends of two girls who committed suicide in unrelated incidents last weekend. Pray for 17-year-old Brooke’s family as they grieve and struggle to understand why she took her life. Pray for Andrea’s family as they also mourn the life of this eighth grader who was allegedly bullied at school.
· Please continue in prayer for the victims of the April 15, 2013 bombings in Boston. Pray for healing and comfort for the 264 people, including at least 10 children, who were injured when two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Pray for the families and friends of the three people, including an 8-year-old boy, who were killed. http://tinyurl.com/cgp8l9k http://tinyurl.com/c5gejfu
o Please keep in prayer those who witnessed this devastating attack, especially the children who saw the carnage of damaged limbs and bloodied bodies.
o Pray for first responders and hospital staff who treated the injured.
o And pray for the young man who allegedly participated in this attack.
o Pray for the healing grace of God to be with all those affected by this horrible attack.
o Pray God will comfort the families and friends of the 14 people, 10 of whom were first responders, killed when a fire ignited chemicals at the fertilizer plant and triggered a massive explosion.
o Pray God’s healing touch will be upon those who were injured in this huge explosion.
o Please keep in prayer those whose homes in the residential area near the plant were damaged or destroyed by the explosion. Pray for children and families who were displaced by it.
Wycliffe Bible Translators has lots of free resources for teaching kids about how important Bible translation and literacy are to the advance of the gospel around the world, especially among the least reached peoples.
Their Fun Fact Activity Page series features different regions of the world: Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific. Downloadable two-page documents include regional maps, cultural facts, recipes, crafts, puzzles, and information on Bible translation. Two sets are available–one for grade-school children and one for pre-readers.
Need something meatier? Wycliffe also created a 12-lesson series for elementary ages called Steps to Bible Translation. Free, downloadable lessons are 20-40 minutes in length. Content focuses on both translation and literacy. Suggestions for how to use these lessons in smaller units or for shorter chunks of time is provided. This set is available in Spanish as well.
Looking for a mission project for your kids? The Seed Company’s OneVerse project was perfect for the elementary-age children at my church. OneVerse helps fund Bible translation among groups with no scriptures in their heart language. On their website, you can choose the group you’d like to sponsor and get some general information about their culture and religious beliefs. Because much of their translation work is in sensitive areas, OneVerse assigns the culture and language a code name. We called our mission giving project “Adopt a Verse.” Here’s what we did:
1. We started by showing the OneVerse video Without (free to download) and then talked about what it would be like to live your whole life without a Bible or any knowledge of the true God.
2. We introduced the people group we would be helping and showed the country where they lived on a world map. The kids thought it was cool that they had a code name because the translators were working in secret. We talked about reasons why translators may need to do their job “undercover.”
2. We explained that each verse costs $26 to translate and showed them the Bible box that we would use to collect money. Each child took home a parent letter explaining our project.
3. Over several weeks, we taught about the religion of our group, Hinduism, and what it would be like to grow up with Hindu beliefs instead of the truths of God’s word. We used a lesson called Meet Amita for this.
4. I found a website that has John 3:16 in many different languages and created samples of some of these to use as a progress chart. Each time we collected enough money to translate a verse — $26, $52, $78 — I put up a new sheet with a John 3:16 translation on our missions bulletin board. This was a quick, visual way for kids to keep track of how we were doing.
5. On the final day of our project, we donated our money online, using the screen and projector so the kids could see what was happening. Afterwards, we prayed for the Hindu families who would receive Bibles.
6. The following week, we told the children the exact verses that they had helped to translate.
You might also want to tell your parents about this online game that teaches children about Bible translation. The Seed Company partnered with the Duggar family to create MakaziVille. After creating this own avatar, children visit a fictitious village in the African country of Tanzania. They learn about village life and see how important it is to have God’s word in your own language.
Prayer Concerns for the week of April 15, 2013
Democratic Republic of Congo
· Keep the children and people affected by fighting in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo held close in prayer. Pray for the 800,000 people who have been displaced from their homes and now live in unofficial camps where they don’t have access to humanitarian aid. http://tinyurl.com/cagwkfe
· Pray for children who don’t have a safe place to live, enough food to eat, clean water to drink, access to medical care, or an opportunity to go to school. Only one in nine people displaced by this fighting in North Kivu province live in an official IDP (internally displaced person) camp where aid is distributed regularly.
· Please pray for the safety of girls and women in the informal as well as official camps. Security for females in these camps is very poor.
· Give thanks to God that the International Organization of Migration (IOM) is taking on the task of coordinating humanitarian aid to these informal IDP camps. Pray aid is distributed to the neediest children.
· Give God thanks for the major breakthrough in getting food aid to displaced people in Sudan’s war-torn Blue Nile state. The government had refused to allow the United Nations to deliver emergency assistance to this area until just recently. Pray for children in this region where malnutrition rates for those under age five are extremely high.
· Continue to pray for peace between the Sudanese army and rebel militias who have been fighting for more than a year and a half. http://tinyurl.com/c8sxdbf
United Kingdom, Scotland
· Pray for young people and children who are trafficked into Scotland to work as sex slaves or domestic servants, tend illegal marijuana factories as forced labor, or to work in organized crime syndicates. Pray for the safety of these young victims who come from Asia, Africa, or Eastern Europe. http://tinyurl.com/bt6ayka
· Give God thanks for the change in the way police view and treat trafficking victims… that children, young people, and adult trafficking victims will no longer be treated like criminals.
· Pray law enforcement officers will be able to identify victims of trafficking and assist them in finding the help and support they need.
· Please pray for trafficking victims who are held in Scottish prisons…there are more victims imprisoned than traffickers. Pray for justice for these victims and those who trafficked them into slavery.
· Keep in prayer the thousands of young girls across the United States who submit photos of themselves to online beauty pageants on social media sites where they are judged based on their appearance.
o Pray for the safety of those who make themselves vulnerable to adult strangers by failing to keep their identities and locations private on social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
o Pray for young girls, some as young as 12 or 13, who are vulnerable to verbal attacks or hateful comments about their appearance, especially at a sensitive period of their development, by others on the social media site. http://tinyurl.com/dy34hop
o Pray for parents who struggle to keep up with, understand, or monitor the fast-paced changes in technology and social media their daughters and sons use with ease and regularity.
· Continue to keep close in prayer the children and youth living on the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota. Pray for their safety and protection from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Please pray for strong, courageous leaders to come forward in the tribe to protect the children living on this reservation. http://tinyurl.com/bv2lkoaread more
Prayer Concerns for the week of April 8, 2013
· Continue to pray for the children of Burma who have been affected by anti-Muslim violence north of the Burmese capital city Naypyitaw (Yangon). Pray for those whose homes have been burned down by rioters. Please keep in prayer the 2,000 people who are now living in two make-shift camps. http://tinyurl.com/clvssjc http://tinyurl.com/b595v2o
· Pray for peace between Buddhists, the majority of Burmese citizens, and Muslims, who make up about five percent of the population. Pray Burma’s government will protect the vulnerable and promote peace between its divided ethnic groups.
Central African Republic
· Please keep the children and people of Central African Republic (C.A.R.) close in prayer during this time of political upheaval. Rebels overthrew the existing government in a coup late last month, further destabilizing this former French colony. Give thanks to God that international peace keepers working with rebel forces were able to halt a three-day-long looting of homes, businesses, U.N. offices, and hospitals.
· Pray for children who need food and clean water, as many stores lack supplies and running water isn’t available in many parts of the capital city of Bangui.
· Pray for children from the northern part of C.A.R. who were recruited to fight with the rebels.
· Please pray for the new leaders of this impoverished country as they work to establish a power-sharing government and set elections. Pray they will seek God’s guidance for C.A.R., a country rich in gold, diamond, and uranium deposits, but one of the least developed and most unstable countries in the world. http://tinyurl.com/c2ghqyd http://tinyurl.com/cjoev2h
North Korea, South Korea, United States
- Pray for the children and people of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States who are affected by the increased rhetoric and stronger threats of war from North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un. Pray for this leader as he makes aggressive comments about going to war with the United States and South Korea. Pray for peace and stability in this region and please pray that increased tensions won’t result in armed conflict. http://tinyurl.com/c3or63c
· Please keep in prayer an 8-year-old little girl who was allegedly sexually abused by her former stepfather for almost two years. Pray for her healing, both emotional and physical, from the abuse and from the ordeal of having to testify in court against him recently. Pray for the 32-year-old man accused of sexually abusing this little one when she was 6 and 7 years old. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole. Pray for the truth to be revealed in this case and that God’s justice will prevail. http://tinyurl.com/ca5v7tpread more
Look at this cool poster that shows global stats — the World As 100 People. Wouldn’t this be great to use in a missions class?
There’s a book for kids with the same thrust – If the World Were a Village: A book about the World’s People by David J. Smith. (2nd Edition, 2011) It’s a great way to expand kids’ worldview. This book is available in public libraries and through Amazon.com.
Stand4Kids created Small World, a children’s mission lesson for grades 1-5 that uses stats from this book. Because “100” is a difficult number for concrete thinkers to imagine, this lesson shrinks the world population to 20 people. Children learn about:
- the major languages spoken in the world
- inequities in resources like food, clean air and water, and electricity
- the spiritual condition of the world’s peoples
This downloadable lesson (PDF format) includes a prayer activity. It takes 25 minutes, the perfect length for Children’s Church, mid-week activities, Christian School chapel, or a home school gathering.
Prayer Concerns for the week of April 1, 2013
- Give God thanks for the work of the staff and volunteers with I Can Fly International (ICFI), a non-profit organization that serves children and women in some of the poorest rural communities of the Machakos District of Kenya. Thanks be to God for the life changing opportunities available to children and women through ICFI’s education, life skills, and healthcare programs. http://www.shagivens.com/
- Pray for ICFI staff and volunteers as they launch the Butterfly Project, a new program that provides at-risk girls ages 13 to 17 years old free education, housing, and enrichment activities. Pray God will guide the project’s leaders as they determine which 100 girls will be invited to participate in this program. Participants are potential victims of child marriage or female genital mutilation, live in extreme poverty, or are orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
- Please pray for the 170 families affected by a recent assault against a Christian minority neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan. Pray for children and families who lost everything when their homes in the Joseph Colony were set on fire by a mob of protestors. On March 9 an estimated crowd of 3,000 people rampaged through the Christian colony protesting alleged blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed by a Christian.
- Pray for Presbyterian Education Board (PEB) support staff member Anthony and his family who lost their home in Joseph Colony during this attack. More than 160 homes were destroyed in fires set by protestors.
- Give God thanks for the arrests made in this case and pray for justice for the families affected by this violence. Pray families may be able to rebuild their homes and live in peace with their Muslim neighbors.
- Please keep in prayer all Christian children and families in Pakistan as they often experience the threat of violence from false accusations of blasphemy.
- Pray for an end to violence and hatred in the name of religion. Please pray for peace and reconciliation throughout Pakistan. http://tinyurl.com/cuouzd8 http://tinyurl.com/bj2tz9v
- Keep in prayer girls in South Sudan who are married off at a very young age, some as young as 12 years old. Pray for the estimated 48 percent of South Sudanese girls (between ages 15 and 19) who are married.
- Pray for girls whose education has been interrupted or denied because of an early marriage. Pray for those who aren’t able to seek employment opportunities because of early marriage.
- Pray for girls who are at risk of domestic abuse and violence from much older husbands. And pray for girls who refuse early marriage and are at risk of verbal abuse or physical violence, including murder, from their parents or other relatives. Please pray God will protect girls who resist early marriage or try to leave abusive marriages.
- Pray for girls whose health is damaged by bearing children before they are physically or emotionally ready. Girls younger than 15 years of age are at tremendous risk of dying during childbirth.
- Pray God will bring healing to girls who contract sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, from their much older husbands.
- Pray all girls are given the choice to marry when, and only when they are able and willing to consent freely. Pray the cycle of poverty created by marrying girls off when they are too young will be broken through education, public awareness, and government support. http://tinyurl.com/bsx9223
· Please pray for Pastor Willie Cockroft and his wife the Rev. Jini Kilgore Cockroft as they reach out to an impoverished community in South Los Angeles, California through HighWay Ministries and HighWay House. Give thanks to God for the compassion and dedication of this couple, the staff, and the volunteers with this ministry in a neighborhood that struggles with issues of poverty, substance abuse, homelessness, and, often, hopelessness. Pray for the children, youth, women, and men who are served by this ministry. Pray God will provide the resources needed to continue the work of HighWay Ministries in South Los Angeles. http://hwmin.org/read more
Mosquitoes–buzzing around your pillow in the middle of the night, swarming your campsite, leaving you with itchy red welts. What if those annoying insects were carrying malaria? Malaria is a tropical disease caused by a microscopic parasite that enters the bloodstream. Mild cases result in flu-like symptoms and weakness. Left untreated, malaria causes vital organs to shut down. For children with less developed immune systems, malaria is often fatal. In Africa, a child dies every 45 seconds from malaria-related causes. The good news is that malaria is totally preventable. Get your kids and youth involved in addressing this huge problem by observing World Malaria Day on April 25. Here are some materials you can use.
Stand4Kids has an inexpensive, downloadable lesson on malaria called “Mosquito Beware: How Bed Nets Help Prevent Malaria”. Through hands-on activities, kids will learn what malaria is, how it spreads, it’s effects on children, and what can be done to prevent it. The lesson includes two stories of ways kids have raised money for bed nets.
Through Sweet Sleep’s Nickels for Nets program, children can provide bed nets for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti and Africa. Download the free Nickels for Nets curriculum to educate children on the importance of using mosquito nets. You can order free Nickels for Nets collection boxes for the students to take home. To participate in this program, please call 615.730.7671 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group Publishing and World Vision have created a way for kids to squash malaria through their KISS malaria goodbye campaign. Order your free kit. It comes with a 7-foot mosquito net, 50 Bugs Prayer-er clips, 50 donation cards, and a promotional DVD and posters. Donated money goes to help prevent malaria in Mali.
Working with junior high or high school kids? Check out Compassion International’s Bite Back Campaign. Order the kit for organizing your own fundraising event. It includes a Bite Back DVD, mosquito net, donation form, bracelets and stickers, a fundraising ideas sheet , a stencil, posters, and brochures. There’s even a template for creating your own, on-line giving campaign.read more
Prayer Concerns for the week of March 25, 2013
- Give God thanks and praise for the fifteen new Free Burma Rangers (FBR) teams that recently completed relief missions in Burma’s Karen State. Thanks be to God for the work of these teams that are comprised of a number of different ethnic hill tribe groups as they reach out to provide hope, help, and love to internally displaced people (IDPs) inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. www.freeburmarangers.org
- Pray God will continue to bring healing to the over 2,000 patients seen by the FBR teams’ medics. Give God thanks for the medics and their skills in treating so many people in very difficult circumstances and under very poor conditions in IDP hide sites.
- Pray for the students from approximately 100 schools in this area who were able to participate in Good Life Club programs run by FBR teams. Give thanks to God for the opportunity these children had to play and sing and spend time truly being children.
- Please pray for the school teachers from this area of Karen State as they face many daily challenges: not having enough food each day; poor health due to malnutrition and malaria; inconsistent attendance by their students because they’re helping their families; not having enough school supplies; and inability to access teaching materials.
- Pray for the students of these schools who don’t have enough food to eat each day; who have to help their families with farming, taking care of siblings, or gathering food or firewood; who don’t have the energy to study because they are exhausted or overwhelmed by this work; who are often ill due to poor nutrition and lack of shelter—malaria is one of the most serious health issues they face; who don’t have support from their parents and families that see little value in education and need the help of these children with farming, etc.
- Pray for the children and people of Kenya following their country’s recent presidential election. Give God thanks that the election went relatively smoothly with minimal violence, unlike the disputed 2007 presidential election that left more than 1,200 people dead. http://tinyurl.com/c5uqq7t
- Pray for transparency and integrity in Kenya’s government. Pray their new president Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, will seek God’s guidance to lead Kenya. Pray the court challenge by his rival, Raila Odinga, will be peaceful and not lead to violence.
Malaysia, United States
- Please keep 8-year-old Jehu close in prayer during this time he is separated from his parents. Jehu lives with family members in Malaysia until he is allowed to join his parents (who received refugee status before him) in the United States. Pray Jehu’s case will receive favor with the agency processing it and he will be allowed to rejoin his mother and father. Pray for his parents who miss their son very much.
Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq
- Continue to keep in prayer the more than one million people displaced by Syria’s civil war. Pray for the 1,000,669 refugees who have fled Syria for overcrowded, underfunded camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Pray for children in these camps who lack access to secure housing, schools, medical care, and sufficient food.
- Pray for children and families who have been displaced from their homes and communities in Syria. Pray for those struggling to find safe housing, food, and a means to support their families.
- Please continue to pray for peace and reconciliation in Syria. http://tinyurl.com/b6aovlx
Prayer Concerns for the week of March 18, 2013
- Please keep in prayer China’s ethnic hill tribe people along the Nu River (also known as the Salween River) who face displacement when the construction of four dams begins in the near future. Pray for the 60,000 children, young people, and adults (most of whom belong to the Lisu ethnic minority) who will lose their homes, schools, livelihoods, and communities when the dam construction begins. http://tinyurl.com/bg8mdlc
- Pray for Burma’s Kachin ethnic minority who live across the Salween River and will also be impacted by the construction of these dams.
- Pray for those authorizing and carrying out the dam construction projects … that they will treat the Lisu, the Kachin, and others facing displacement with fairness and be transparent in their dealings. Pray the environmental impact assessment will be completed with integrity and truthfulness. Pray those constructing the dams will comply with the assessment recommendations.
Syria, Turkey, Lebanon
- Continue to lift in prayer the children of Syria who have been subjected to incredible violence during the past two years of civil war in their country. Pray for those who have been shot at, tortured, and raped during this season of unrest and conflict. Pray for the estimated two million children who face malnutrition, disease, early marriage, and severe trauma because of this brutal civil war. http://tinyurl.com/bybgdul
- Pray for children who have fled their homes and sought refuge in barns, parks, and caves. Pray for those who have fled to Turkey and Lebanon and struggle to find housing and enough food to eat. Pray for children who have been separated from their families and for those who have experienced the death of a close family member or friend.
- Please keep in prayer children who are targeted by government forces as well as rebels. Pray for young boys who are used as porters, runners, and human shields. Pray for girls who are married off at a young age to keep them from being raped or to help reduce the number of mouths that need to be fed in their families.
- Pray for an end to this violence and for peace and reconciliation throughout Syria.
World Water Day is March 22. This year’s theme is water cooperation. Stand4Kids has a downloadable lesson called “Every Last Drop.” It addresses issues that children without access to clean water face. For ages 5-10, it includes demonstrations, photos (Powerpoint format), a Bible passage, prayer time, and optional Week for Water giving project.
I did this lesson with my 1st-6th grade AWANA classes and they learned so much (AWANA has a children at risk initiative that children can donate to, like the Adopt-a-Club program.) The thing the children loved most was the dirty water demonstration. The thought of families drinking water from the same source used for bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and also used by animals grossed them out. For the prayer time, I added props for the children to hold that reminded them of water issues kids face. Here’s what I used:
- ruler: the long distances children must walk to get water
- slinky: carrying heavy water compresses and damages neck bones and the spine
- diploma (rolled piece of paper tied with ribbon): hours spent fetching water prevents kids from going to school
- medicine bottle: drinking dirty water makes children sick
- Bible: children not only need access to clean water, but also the hope of Jesus
March 4, 2013 and March 11, 2013
Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe
- Please keep the children and people of southern Africa held close in prayer as they face severe food shortages because of repeated cycles of flooding and drought that has destroyed crops, livestock, and safe drinking water supplies. http://tinyurl.com/cc66x8r
- Pray for the estimated six million people in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, and Zimbabwe who are at risk of hunger because of this chronic crisis. In some areas across this region, child malnutrition rates have increased 50 percent more than last year.
- Pray for children who have contracted malaria, cholera, or diarrhea because of floodwater-contaminated water sources. Pray God will provide them with the resources and aid they so desperately need now.
- Please pray for a coordinated effort between humanitarian aid agencies, governments, and businesses to help relieve the suffering of so many children and people in southern Africa.
- Continue to keep the ethnic hill tribe children and people of Burma held close in prayer as they deal with additional abuses, predominately by the Burma Army. Pray for those in Burma’s Karen state who are being forcibly displaced from their communities by companies, corrupt government officials, or armed groups who desire the villagers’ property for mining, logging, development of hydropower dams, infrastructure development, or commercial agriculture. http://tinyurl.com/b3mvd9e
- Pray for the displaced in communities that were given little or no advance notice or compensation for the confiscation of their land. Please pray for those who have had their land taken illegally and are now deprived of their livelihoods. Seventy percent of Burma’s 60 million people are dependent on agriculture to make a living.
- Please keep in prayer the estimated 100,000 people who have been displaced by inter-tribal fighting in Sudan’s North Darfur area. Pray for children who have been uprooted by the fighting between two Arab tribes over access to a gold mine. Pray for those whose homes, villages, and crops have been burned in this conflict. Pray that humanitarian aid will reach those who lack clean water, sufficient food, medical care, shelter, and sanitary facilities. Pray for an end to this violence. http://tinyurl.com/b4sbvcq
- Please also pray for an end to the ongoing conflict between non-Arab insurgents and the Arab-dominated government that began in 2003 and still continues 10 years later. Continue to pray for the estimated 1.5 million people who have been displaced by this violence across Darfur and live in camps where they are dependent on food aid to survive.
- Pray for children and families who are experiencing homelessness in the U.S. and around the world. Pray for those who live in cars, with friends or other family members, in homeless shelters, and on the streets.
- Please keep in prayer children who live in crowded shelters that lack the privacy and security of a permanent home. Pray for those who find it difficult to sleep, study, play, or bathe in facilities that are overcrowded and underfunded. Pray every child has the opportunity to live in a permanent, safe home. http://tinyurl.com/bytvvf5
· Give God thanks for those who advocate for and work towards finding affordable housing for the most vulnerable in their communities.read more
Prayer Concerns for the week of February 25, 2013
- Pray for the thousands of girl children who are trafficked from India’s rural areas to urban ones and forced to work as domestic servants in the homes of this country’s growing middle class. Pray for girls who are lured into jobs with the promise of good wages, but find themselves working long hours for little or no pay, cut off from family, and often abused or sexually assaulted. http://tinyurl.com/be6clul http://tinyurl.com/aa5u9o3
- Pray for the estimated four million children who are believed to be employed as domestic servants in India.
- Please pray for the more than 90,000 children who go missing in India each year. Pray for those who are abducted and then sold into forced labor on farms, in factories or in homes. Pray for those who are sold into marriage or prostitution. http://tinyurl.com/9xhguhc
- Please pray for a change of attitude regarding the issue of child labor within India’s law enforcement agencies and the country’s rising middle class. Pray current child labor laws will be taken seriously and enforced. Pray for an end to the destructive practice of exploiting children for labor.
- Give thanks to God for the work of the child rights group Bachpan Bachao Andolan in raising awareness about child labor and for their efforts in rescuing trafficked and enslaved children. http://www.bba.org.in/main.php
- Please keep the children and people of Mali held close in prayer during this season of conflict and violence. Pray for the estimated 376,000 people who have been displaced since France began military action against Islamist rebels in northern Mali last month. http://tinyurl.com/azl5akn
- Please pray for the 660,000 children who are at risk of acute malnutrition because of this conflict. Pray for those who are at risk of becoming ill because of poor water and sanitation facilities in the displaced persons camps.
- Pray for children who are trapped in areas of conflict unreachable by emergency aid. Pray God will provide for these vulnerable children and their families during this frightening time.
- Pray farmers might be able to return to their fields to sow this year’s crop—if the conflict continues, it will interrupt the planting season causing further food shortages.
- Please pray for an end to the fighting and violence. Pray for peace and reconciliation throughout Mali.
Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso
- Pray for the 147,000 people who have fled the fighting in northern Mali and sought refuge in neighboring countries like Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The conditions in refugee camps along the unstable borders with Mali are desperate. Pray God will provide for the children, youth, and adults in these squalid camps.
- Pray for children in these camps as many of them are malnourished and their host countries struggle to provide them with sufficient food and water. http://tinyurl.com/bcgzehj
- Please keep close in prayer 2-month-old Lacey* who was born prematurely to a mother with severe health and substance abuse issues. Pray for a community of support around this baby girl who hasn’t bonded well with anyone yet. Pray for her mother Gina* who doesn’t seem to be interested or willing to parent her baby. Pray for Lacey’s father who is in prison and unable to provide any support. Keep Lacey’s maternal grandmother Sarah* close in prayer as she tries to care for her daughter and granddaughter as well as grieve the recent death of her own mother. *Name changed for confidentiality and/or protection.
· Pray for God’s healing touch to be upon 4-month-old Addison who has been hospitalized with viral pneumonia.read more
Prayer Concerns for the week of February 18, 2013
- Give thanks to God that 8-month-old Kennet was released from the hospital in Belize and is doing much better. Please pray for his continued healing. Pray for Kennet’s parents and family members as they care for him.
- Please keep in prayer two siblings, a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old, who have disappeared with their mother Gris. Pray for their safety as their mother seems to be experiencing severe mental health issues. Pray she will return to her family home with the children. Pray for Gris’ family and friends who are very anxious about her and the children.
- Continue to pray for Burma’s Kachin ethnic hill tribe people who are being attacked by Burma Army troops despite a presidential order for a cease fire. Intense fighting was reported in late January 2013 in Kachin State near Burma’s border with China. http://tinyurl.com/aaf8mjn
- Pray for those who have lost loved ones in the missile attacks and aerial bombings. Pray for children, young people, and adults who’ve been wounded in the attacks. http://tinyurl.com/bvf6pob (This Free Burma Rangers report does include some disturbing images.)
- Pray for the tens of thousands of children and families that have been displaced by almost two years of fighting in this region. Give thanks to God for the work of Free Burma Rangers in helping the injured and displaced.
- Please pray for an end to the violence in Burma. Pray for peace throughout this country.
- Please keep in prayer children receiving treatment at the CURE International Hospitals in Ethiopia and in Kenya. Pray God will meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of a 15-year-old boy named Abebe in Ethiopia and of two 14-year-old girls, Rebecca and Emelewi in Kenya. www.helpcurenow.org.
- Pray for the estimated four million Syrians who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Lift in prayer the one million who are going hungry because aid agencies are unable to enter conflict zones. Pray for children who don’t have enough to eat… for children whose health and growth is compromised because they aren’t getting enough food. http://tinyurl.com/a9bm7j5
- Pray for a change of heart within the Syrian government that would allow additional aid agencies into the country to help those in need. The government has only approved a few aid agencies to be in Syria and the resources of these organizations are stretched to the limit.
- Please pray for an end to this conflict… for a lasting peace agreement, healing, and reconciliation in Syria.
- Give praise to God for answering prayers about 3-year-old Lily Grace who was able to return home after spending almost a month in a children’s hospital in her home town. Lily recently went through a delicate heart procedure in which a hole was created in her heart to relieve the pressure on it. Thanks be to God for the medical miracle Lily has experienced…after doctors removed her chest tubes, Lily’s lungs started to improve on their own and she was able to get off of oxygen.
- Pray this little one will become more interested in eating now that she is home… she was only able to eat ice chips during her lengthy hospital stay and received nourishment through a feeding tube. When Lily was released from the hospital, she weighed the same amount she did eight months ago when her adoptive parents brought her to the U.S. from China, except she has grown eight inches in that time.
· Continue to pray for Lily’s parents and siblings as they help care for her at home. Thanks be to God for their desire to open their hearts and homes to this little one who was abandoned at birth in China and suffers from such a rare heart condition that doctors there considered her case to be terminal. http://www.rancourtfamily.
The sixth annual Children’s Ministry Day is February 16. Developed by WMU, Children’s Ministry Day gives kids in grades 1-6 the opportunity to participate in local community ministry. Individual projects are designed by children’s leaders in churches and Christian schools all across North America. This year’s theme is Helping Hands and focuses on helping kids serve the homeless and poor in their local community. The theme verse is “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:40)
WMU created a downloadable Children’s Ministry Day booklet with project suggestions, planning tips, a skit, and learning activities to enhance your project as well as colorful posters for promoting your event ($8.99). Other free resources like clip art, flyers, and a Powerpoint presentation overview are also available for download.
Ready to plan a project that kids can carry out in your community? Make sure to invite others to assist you. If you can’t hold your event on February 16, pick a day that works for you. Here are 10 ideas to get those creative juices flowing:
- prepare hygiene packs at a ministry center
- serve a meal at a homeless shelter
- provide snacks for children at a local ministry’s after-school program
- sort clothes at a clothes closet
- collect canned goods and donate to a local food pantry
- collect gently worn toys/children’s books and donate to a homeless shelter that houses families
- collect baby diapers and donate to a homeless shelter that houses families
- collect white tube socks and donate to a homeless shelter
- collect and donate school supplies to an organization that provides these to families who cannot afford them
- plant a community garden
Invite your church leaders, teachers, and parents to be involved by praying for your kids and the people they will serve. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures!read more
How many pairs of shoes do you own? Last year, Americans purchased 2 million pairs of new shoes. To make more room in their closets, they discarded more than 300 million pairs of gently-worn shoes, many of which ended up in landfills. Meanwhile … more than 300 million children worldwide do not have one pair to call their own. Going without shoes exposes boys and girls to injury and infection from cuts, burns, punctures, and bites. Imagine scavenging in a garbage dump or walking many miles to fetch water for your family — without shoes to protect your feet. Barefoot children are more susceptible to soil-transmitted parasites like hookworm and roundworm. Lack of shoes, a required part of a school uniform, prevents many children from getting an education.
Engage your kids in learning about this issue and becoming a part of the solution. We presented this topic to the elementary kids at my church last year in connection with a service project. It grew into a 30-minute lesson for ages 5-11 called Choose Shoes. We created a PowerPoint to introduce kids to shoe issues around the world. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. The lesson also includes a small group activity, Bible time, prayer, and project suggestions.
If you decide to do a suggested project, the lesson also has related books and movie clips to keep the momentum going. Since our project spanned several months, we created a bulletin board graph. Our goal was 400 pairs of shoes. I cut the shoes off four bulletin board children and gave them construction paper bare feet. Every time we collected 50 pairs of shoes, the bulletin board children received one of their shoes back.
These projects are fun because they are so hands-on, but don’t forget the spiritual aspect. During your project wrap-up, have a shoe dedication ceremony. Let your kids hold a pair of shoes they donated. Lead your children in praying for those who will receive the shoes. Pray that they will have the opportunity to learn about Jesus and follow him for a lifetime.read more
Just ran across a set of 4 mission posters from Oriental Trading that would be great for anyone who is teaching the Biblical basis of missions to kids and youth. Posters measure 22 x 17 inches. They have color photos of international children and a left border of international flags. Each poster has one of these mission-related Bible verses:
The set costs $7.25 US. You can order the posters online or call 1.800.875.8480.read more
The Olympics begin Friday. What a great opportunity to introduce your kids to Eric Liddell, nicknamed the Flying Scotsman. He is a wonderful example of perseverance, being who God has created one to be, and standing strong for one’s faith in the face of opposition. Here are some helpful resources.
“Eric Liddell Story” animated movie, 30 min. DVD includes an “Eric Liddell: Champion of Conviction, ” 60-minute documentary. Vision Video, 2007. Click on the Downloads tab for a free Teacher’s Guide with four lesson plans as well as 16 pages of student handouts (comprehension and discussion questions, puzzles, activities, coloring, and more). For ages 8-12.
- Eric Liddell Are You Ready? by Catherine Mackenzie. Paperback, 24 pp., CF4K, 2012. For ages 3-8.
- Eric Liddell: Running for a Higher Prize by Renee Meloche. Illustrated, book written in rhyme. Hardcover, 32 pp. YWAM Publishing, 2001. For ages 5-10.
- Ten Boys Who Changed the World by Irene Howat. Short stories of ten boys, including Eric Liddell, who were used by Christ to change the world in their times. Paperback, 160 pp. Christian Focus Publications, 2003. For ages 9-12.
- Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold by Janet and Geoff Benge. A missionary biography chapter book. Paperback, 199 pp. ,YWAM, 1998. Also available as Kindle edition. For ages 9-13.
- Eric Liddell: Greater than Gold by Christian History Institute. Free article for upper elementary/middle school.
Make an Olympic torch and use it in a relay race.
ERIC LIDDELL QUOTES
- “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.”
- “In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”
- “We are all missionaries. Wherever we go we either bring people nearer to Christ or we repel them from Christ.”
SCRIPTURE ON RUNNING THE CHRISTIAN RACE
- Acts 20:23-25
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
- 2 Timothy 4:7
- Hebrews 12:1-3
This year, Ramadan is July 20-August 18. Join millions of Christians worldwide in praying for the Muslim world during this period. The 30-Days Prayer Network produces a printed “Just for Kids” booklet for children and families on Muslim people groups in many countries with information, activities, and prayer points. It’s also available as a download. To teach your children more about this important Muslim observance and what the Bible says about the purpose of fasting, download the free Ramadan Basics. Also, check out Meet Noor, a 30-minute lesson for ages 5-7. Looking for a more in-depth study? Seven of the Kids Around the World CD/DVD sets feature Muslim groups with little opportunity to hear about God’s love and Jesus’ redeeming work. Each set includes a video, song, Bible lesson, prayer activity, and opportunities for children to experience the culture through language, food, crafts, and games. For ages 5-11.read more
How can the Bible be one book and 66 books? Is Psalms before or after Joshua? Did Abraham and Moses know each other? Children sometimes have difficulty understanding how the books of the Bible fit together in time and space and how the same God is at work through the ages. DiscipleLand created a Bible Water Slide Chart to help elementary-age kids navigate the Bible and learn how the pieces together. The sturdy, full-color sleeve is 5×9 inches. One side features Old Testament books. Turn it over for New Testament books. To use, insert the white information card into the top slit. Slide the yellow arrow down to the desired Bible book and the following information will appear in four cutout windows: the author, the theme of the book, the dates/context when the book was written, and the key event. A 10-pack costs $19.95. You can download a list of suggested ways to use the Bible slider chart with your children.
World Refugee Day is June 20. Last year, persecution, conflict, and natural disaster forced 43.7 million people to leave behind relatives, friends, homes, livelihoods, and all things familiar. More than half of all refugees are children. Here are resources to help you introduce children to the topic of refugees.
- Home Away from Home: How Children Find Hope When they Lose Their Homes is a 1–hour lesson from World Vision that explores reasons for homelessness with an emphasis on refugees. Grades 1-3.
- Christian Aid in the UK created Far From Home, lessons to use in a school assembly context to help students empathize with the situation of people who have to leave their homes. Case studies from Angola, Bangladesh, and Burma explore some of the reasons that force people to become refugees. Includes Powerpoint of photos. You can download free lessons for ages 7-11 and 11-14
BOOKS (available from Amazon.com)
- Brothers of Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams. Driven from his village home by the soldiers, Garang treks with other boys nearly 1,000 miles across the Sudan border—first to Ethiopia, and later to Kenya. He finds shelter in refugee camps and meets an American aid worker. Can Tom help? 40 pp., ages 9-12.
- Dia’s Story Cloth by Dia Cha. Based on the author’s life, this book chronicles the experiences of a Hmong family who fled their native Laos, lived in a refugee camp in Thailand, and eventually emigrated to the United States. Illustrations are based on a traditional Hmong story cloth. 24 pp., ages 7-10.
- Four Feet Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams. When relief workers bring clothing to a refugee camp in Pakistan, Lina is thrilled to find a sandal that fits her foot perfectly – until she spots another girl holding the matching shoe. Describes daily life in a refugee camp – washing clothes in the river, waiting in line for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America. 32 pp., ages 6-9.
- Give Me Shelter: Stories About Children Who Seek Asylum by Miriam Halahmy. Short stories from youth around the world — Kosovo, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Eritrea, Zaire, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Kurdistan. Spotlights people who have been forced to leave their homes or families to seek help and shelter elsewhere. 127 pp., ages 9-12.
- The Long Road by Luis Garay. When civil war breaks out in Jose’s Central American country, he and his mother are forced to flee their home. Addresses paperwork and red tape, nights in a refugee hostel, and the family’s struggle to survive from the viewpoint of a child. 32 pp., ages 6-9.
- Making It Home: Real-Life Stories from Children Forced to Flee by Beverly Naidoo. First-person accounts of children displaced by war describe the horror left behind, the family separation, and the struggle to adjust to a new place, whether as a refugee in a camp or as an asylum seeker in the U.S. 128 pp., ages 9-16.
New resources added to the Red Card Books list:
God’s Heart for Children
Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment … Can Last Forever by Dr. Wess Stafford and Dean Merrill, (Moody Publishers, 2012). Inspiring stories reinforce the value of children in God’s eyes and demonstrate how our interactions with them can change them forever. Hard cover, 224 pp. Adult. Available from Amazon.com.
A Hungry World: Understanding the Global Food Crisis, (World Vision, 2005). Booklet provides 8 hours of material for teaching about global food insecurity. Includes background information, case studies, group activities, prayer materials and action ideas. Grades 6-12. Available from www.worldvisionresources.org
Not Just a One-Night Stand: Ministry with the Homeless by John Flowers and Karen Vannoy, (Discipleship Resources, 2009). Based on the ministry experiences at their own church in Texas, the authors gives creative approaches to ministry among the marginalized. Paperback, 128 pp. Adult. Available from Amazon.com.
When Do We Eat? Understanding World Hunger and Doing Something About It, (World Vision, 2010). 1-hour lesson to help children understand the causes of world hunger and learn how they can make a difference. Grades 1-3. Available at www.worldvisionresources.org.
Home Away from Home: How Children Find Hope When they Lose Their Homes (World Vision, 2010). 1–hour lesson explores reasons for homelessness with an emphasis on refugees. Grades 1-3. Available from World Vision at www.worldvisionresources.org.
What do strings of Christmas lights, water buckets, and graham crackers have in common? They’re props used in a lesson that introduces your kids to the state of the world and paves the way for informed prayer. You could use lesson activities in conjunction with two major prayer events coming soon:
-May 27: Global Day of Prayer
-June 2-3: World Weekend of Prayer for Children at Risk
It’s a Small World gives your kids the background they need before they pray. This fun lesson introduces 1st-5th graders to the global village through a demonstration that shrinks the world population to 20 people. Children learn about the major languages spoken in the world and issues that many of their peers face on a daily basis (lack of healthy food, clean air, safe water, and electricity). The lesson also addresses the spiritual condition of the peoples of the world, including those who have never heard of Jesus. It’s a Small World takes 25-30 minutes and is highly interactive. It’s great for mixed-age groups. The lesson comes as a downloadable PDF and costs $5.
After the demonstration, lead a time of prayer using some of these free materials for children:
-Global Day of Prayer’s downloadable, 10-day prayer guide for children.
-Viva International’s downloadable, children’s prayer booklet for the World Weekend of Prayer.
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