It’s A Small World

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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Global 4/14 Day of Prayer

April 14 is Global 4/14 Day, a time set aside to pray for children between the ages of 4 and 14.  Why is this demographic so strategic in missions?

God’s heart: Including kids in our missions focus reflects God’s heart. In Mark 10:14 Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Numbers: Currently, 2.2 billion children live on our planet. In many cultures considered unreached or resistant to the gospel, boys and girls under age 15 make up 40-50% of the population – that’s almost half of God’s harvest field.

Receptivity: Children have open hearts to receive the gospel. Research shows that many believers put their faith in Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14. We shouldn’t neglect the ripest fruit in God’s harvest field.

Bridges: When children become believers in Jesus, they are eager to share their faith with others – relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, and neighbors. Want to reach adults in an unbelieving home or village? Build a bridge by first establishing relationships with their sons and daughters.

Need: 1.2 billion children at risk face dire situations every day – poverty, disease, war, abandonment, and exploitation. These kids need the hope and transformation that only Jesus can provide.

Potential: Boys and girls who trust in Jesus become functioning members of the Church and partners in ministry. They have their whole lives to serve God as participants in the gospel. Think of the impact these young disciples can make on families, communities, and nations.

Join us in observing Global 4/14 Day. Download and use the free Prayer and Fasting Guide. Here are two more ways to pray for children on a continuous basis:

1. Check out the Red Card Prayer Page for weekly updates and requests for children around the world. These focus on areas of the world in the news.

2. The Stand4Kids Prayer Pages provide a way to pray for one child and request every day of the month. These requests represent needs of unreached kids in animistic, Hindu, atheistic, Muslim, and Buddhist cultures as well as needs of children at risk.



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World Water Day Resources

World Water Day is March 22. This year’s theme is Water and Food Security. Did you know that 70% of the water used on earth goes into agriculture and food production? That juicy burger you’re eating took 634 gallons (2400 liters) of water to produce from start to finish. Check out these resources that explain how water use and food sustainability go hand-in-hand. Here are resources on water issues to use with elementary age children.

  • Stand4Kids: Every Last Drop lesson addresses issues that children without access to clean water face. Includes demonstrations, photos, a Bible passage, prayer time, and optional Week for Water giving project. Ages 5-10.


  • LifeWater International: WASH (Water, Sanitation Hygiene) Around the World 5-lesson download includes short stories of real children in five countries with discussion questions. Ages 3-11.


  • WaterAid: Water Around the World Slide Show. Ages 5-8. Pumping It Up lesson with an experiment that demonstrates how a well pump brings up underground water. Ages 8-11.


  • Blood:Water Mission: Lemon:Aid project to raise money for wells, water filters, and rain tanks for communities in Africa.
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Pray for Enslaved Children


Freedom Sunday is this weekend. We have the opportunity to remember children who are enslaved and trafficked and intercede on their behalf. Do not underestimate the power of prayer for these precious boys and girls. God hears their cries, is present with them their situations, and promises to bring justice both for them and their oppressors.  Here are some Bible verses and prayer requests to get you started.


Child Laborers

Psalm 72:12 -“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.”

  • Pray for God to protect child laborers from physical and emotional harm
  • Pray that parents can find work so that their children are able to attend school.
  • Pray for employers who oppress and exploit children to realize their worth and choose to protect and nurture them.
  • Pray for despair to be replaced with hope.


Child Soldiers

Psalm 91:2b, 5 -“‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’ … You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”

  • Pray for child soldiers to be released back to their families.
  • Pray for God to restore children who have experienced the painful trauma of war.
  • Pray for despair to be replaced with hope.
  • Pray that God will give wisdom and compassion to ministry workers who are helping children reintegrate into society.


Sexually Exploited Children

Psalm 10:17-18 – “You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.”

  • Pray for safe and secure shelters to provide for needs of children living on the streets so that they are less vulnerable to traffickers.
  • Pray for strong law enforcement efforts and for brothels to be discovered and shut down.
  • Pray for God to convict the hearts of traffickers, pimps and the “customers” and to transform their lives.
  • Pray for despair to be replaced with hope.
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Books and Movies List Update

On February 13th, 2012, posted in: Blog, Children at Risk, Karen's Blog by

New books added to Red Card Kids:

Street Kids

  • Lessons from a Street Kid by Craig Kielburger. Ages 6-9.

Take A Stand

  • Free the Children: A Young Man Fights Against Child Labor and Proves that Children Can Change the World by Craig Kielburger. High school, young adult.
  • It Takes A Child by Craig Kielburger. Ages 6-9.


New movies added to Red Card Kids.

Child Laborers

  • Fields of Mudan, 2007. R. Mudan, a frightened young Asian girl, is forced into sex slavery by a brutal child brothel owner. She and another brothel girl courageously choose to live their lives as innocent, ordinary little girls despite their conditions and the bleak future that awaits them. Run time: 23 minutes. Mature audiences.

Take A Stand

  • It Takes A Child, 1998, PG. True story of how the Free the Children movement began with a young boy who advocates against child labor. 56 min. Grades 5-12.


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Freedom Sunday

February 26 is Freedom Sunday. It’s designed to build awareness about human slavery and trafficking in local churches. Here are some Biblical-based lessons and projects for children on these issues.


  • Loose Change to Loosen Chains is a student-led campaign for elementary to college students to combat modern-day slavery while learning about the reality of injustice today. Order materials from the International Justice Mission. IJM uses money donated through this program to rescue victims of slavery and other forms of oppression.



  • Childhood Lost – Free download lesson on child labor for elementary children from Stand4Kids. Look in the Bible Study section under New Children’s Curriculum.




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Chiildren’s Ministry Day 2012

The fifth annual Children’s Ministry Day is February 18. 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 Operation Education. The theme verse is “Do your best to please God. Be a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed. Teach the message of truth correctly.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NIrV)

WMU created a downloadable Children’s Ministry Day Pack ($11.99). It contains a 16-page booklet with project suggestions, planning tips, and learning activities to enhance your project as well as colorful posters for promoting your event.  Other free resources like clip art, flyers, and a Powerpoint presentation overview are also available for download.

Ready to plan an education-related 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 18, pick a day that works for you. Here are 10 ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Help your kids host a used book drive and donate the books to a literacy ministry in your community.
  • Make and send thank-you cards to principals at local schools. Better yet, have your kids deliver the cards personally. How many of them have ever seen the inside of the principal’s office–in a good way?
  • Find out when the next school board meeting is. Help your kids prepare cookies or other snacks for the meeting. Ask if some of your kids can deliver the goodies and pray for the board members at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Contact local school administrators and ask permission for your kids to help clean classrooms.
  • Contact a local after-school program or a child-care facility and ask for a list of items they might need. Have your kids organize a drive in your church or school to help meet those needs.
  • Prayer walk around neighborhood schools on the weekend.
  • Help older kids prepare and read storybooks to preschoolers or kindergarteners at their school.
  • Collect school supplies for needy children in your area. Have your kids write an encouraging let­ter on the first page of the notebooks.
  • Have your kids make and send encouraging notes to GED students.
  • Ask permission to host a teacher appreciation breakfast or lunch at a local school. You’ll probably need to enlist parent help for this one.

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!

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World Food Day

On October 13th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Children at Risk, Karen's Blog, Lesson Ideas by

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October 16 is World Food Day. In our world today, 925 million people are undernourished (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO). This is 13.6% of the world population! Because their bodies are still developing, children are effected most by hunger. Every five seconds, a boy or girl dies from a hunger-related disease. Hunger has many facets and layers. Here are three.

Starvation: Starvation caused by famine, like the one currently threatening families in the Horn of Africa, is the most extreme form of hunger. Starvation often leads to death, especially in children.

Food insecurity: Not all hunger is caused by famine. For millions, lack of access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food is an ongoing, daily reality. Families eat the bare minimum to stay alive. Children go to bed each night, not knowing where their next meal will come from.

Hidden Hunger: In addition, two billion people exist on a limited diet. Because children eat the same thing every day rather than a variety of foods, they don’t get the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy growth and development. The resulting malnutrition has serious consequences. For example, children with Vitamin A deficiency have severe problems with eyesight and some become blind.

Here’s a map put out by the FAO. It shows that state of undernourishment in countries around the world. Did you know that there’s more than enough food to provide adequate nutrition to everyone on the planet? Here’s a simple simulation you can do with families in your church, school, or homeschooling group. It shows that hunger is more about an imbalance in food distribution than a shortage of food.

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The Orphan’s Table

On October 3rd, 2011, posted in: Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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Sunday November 6, 2011 is National Orphan Sunday. It is one day to come together with one voice, and with one purpose– stand for the orphaned child. Orphaned children are very special to God our Father, and there are over 60 passages that speak of his love for them. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress.

Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community, your small group, and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.

Would you consider hosting an event? There are many simple things you can do. You can get ideas here; however there is something very simple you can do: share a meal eaten by orphans around the world.  Gather at The Orphan’s Table with family, small group or church for the meal, discussion and prayer.

teaching kids about orphanage life!

Your event, does not have to be on November 6th. You can choose anytime that works for you!

I was invited to share The Orphan’s Table at a local Christian School last week. I used the Red Card orphan lesson and taught about orphanage life. We then shared a meal at the Orphan Table. We ended our time in prayer for orphaned children.

It was a very powerful morning. God greatly used this time help children know more of his heart for orphans.

When you request The Orphan’s Table, we will ship you:

  • An easy-to-cook meal package—the same food provided to feed orphans worldwide.  (Prepare by boiling, instructions included.)
  • An Orphan Sunday Prayer and Discussion Guide to help you make the most of this experience.

The cost is simply a donation of any amount.  $5.00 will cover materials shipping for up to four servings. Please indicate the number of servings needed.

We do hope you will consider joining many around the globe participating in Orphan Sunday!



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Tajikistan: Law Restricts Children’s Ministry

On September 29th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Pray by

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Tajikistan, a little-known Central Asian country, holds a special place in my heart. Here’s why.  1) I created the Tajik Kids curriculum, part of the Kids Around the World mission series for children. 2) My local church adopted the Tajik people and we have an ongoing relationship with national believers there. 3) I’ve served on two short-term teams to Tajikistan. Both times, I was privileged to equip and encourage children’s workers. As is usually the case, I learned more than I imparted and was challenged by the tenacity and creativity of first-generation Christians on fire for God. They realized that when God transforms the heart of a child, there is hope for societal transformation as well.

During my 2007 visit, national workers expressed concern over increasing restrictions on evangelizing children. Since then, the situation has worsened. This August, the Parental Responsibility Law went into effect. It stipulates that the only religious activities in which children under 18 may participate, apart from funerals, are those at state-approved religious education institutions. An amendment to the Criminal Code was passed that would punish organizers of “extremist religious” teaching.

Both measures seek to prevent recruiting of impressionable children by religious extremists. Whatever the intent, these rulings affect ministry to children on several levels. They affect parents, robbing them of the right to raise their children in the faith they choose. They affect boys and girls, preventing them from attending worship services, Sunday School, and church-led functions like summer camp. They impact children’s workers, forcing them to interpret what “extremist religious” teaching means to the government and discern ramifications for their ministry. While it’s too early to know how new laws will be enforced, it’s not too early to pray. Please join me in lifting up Tajik believers in the following ways:

  • Pray for protection for believers who may be targets in regard to this law in coming days.
  • Pray for boldness and perseverance for parents who seek to disciple their children.
  • Pray for wisdom and creativity for children’s workers as they navigate what the new laws mean for their ministry.
  • Pray that God will continue to grant believers favor with local government leaders as they meet the holistic needs of children in Tajikistan.
  • Pray that many boys and girls in Tajikistan would come to know and follow Jesus.


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Book List Updates

Just updated the children at risk suggested books on our Red Card Kids website. Recent books include:

Street Children

The Least of These: Lessons Learned from Kids On the Street by Ron Ruthruff (New Hope Publishers, 2010).

Working with the Street Children: An Approach Explored by Andrew Williams (Russell House Publishing, 2011).


Love Has a Face: Mascara, a Machete and One Woman’s Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan by Michele Perry (Chosen, 2009).

Children of War

My Father, the Maker of Trees: How I Survived the Rwandan Genocide by Eric Irivuzumgabe and Tracey D. Lawrence (Baker Books, 2010).

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Children in Prayer-Part 4

On July 27th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Pray by

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Rashid excitedly follows his father and uncles to the mosque. He has joined in prayer with the men before, but this time is different. He’s finally old enough to participate fully in the fast of Ramadan, the most holy month on the Muslim calendar. As his stomach growls in protest, Rashid realizes it has been hours since his predawn meal. His stomach will just have to wait until sunset, the time he will enjoy a meal with his family. But it is worth it. Rashid remembers his father’s words: “Fasting is an expression of our faith, a form of worship, and a way to please Allah.” Entering the cool interior of the mosque with the others, Rashid imagines other Muslim boys all around the world. Like him, they are observing the fast, going to the mosque in their town, and seeking to please Allah.

Robert is getting ready for bed. Earlier at dinner, his mom and dad read a page about Indonesia from the Just for Kids: 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet. His parents have also been explaining the basics about Ramadan. Robert thinks about Muslim boys and girls in Indonesia who do not understand that Jesus is God’s son. Instead of trusting in Jesus to forgive sin and bring them back into a relationship with God, they are taught to please God by doing good things– like not eating or drinking during the daytime for a whole month. Robert closes his eyes and begins to pray for children like Rashid. “God, please help kids in Indonesia to know you love them. Help them understand that Jesus died on the cross to remove  their sin.”


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Children in Prayer-Part 3

On July 19th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Lesson Ideas by


When I was really little, I used to hang out in the garage. One item that always intrigued me was my dad’s can of Turtle Wax.  At that time, the label showed a turtle holding a can of turtle wax that had a small label of a turtle holding a can of Turtle Wax. My brain hurt from imagining how small the turtles would get if this just kept going and going.

So what does Turtle Wax have to do with children in prayer? If we introduce children to prayer warriors through stories and they take us seriously, our children will become models of prayer for others, who will become models of prayer for others. Here’s a true story of a young girl whose prayers reflect those modeled by adults around her, adults whose prayers reflect those of an earlier model, George Mueller. This is a fun story to tell and act out right before a family meal or class snack when everyone is already seated.

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Children in Prayer-Part 2

On July 13th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Lesson Ideas by



Last spring, I was discouraged by a boy’s comment made during a Sunday School lesson I was teaching on Jesus’ power to heal. “God doesn’t still do things like that today” he blurted out to the group of 1st-4th graders.  This caused a flurry of other responses ending with, “Yeah, I don’t think that Jesus is as powerful today as he used to be.” I rallied with a Biblical response, but was not sure the group was buying it.

I realize it’s difficult for grade-school children to make the shift from how God worked thousands of years ago to how God works today. This got me thinking. If they really don’t see God for who he is, do children have any foundation for believing that their prayers make a difference? How can we as teachers assist? After that lesson, I made two decisions: 1) to share more of the daily miracles God works in my life with my students and 2) to find and share modern-day examples of God at work through the prayers of children. On my hunt for models of children in prayer, I found this gem: Albanian children intercede for the sick in their community during a period where it was against the law to believe in God, much less talk to him. Please share this story with those wide-eyed, wheels always turning, children in your sphere of influence.


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Children in Prayer-Part 1

Ramadan, the Muslim month of prayer and fasting, is August 1-30 this year. Check out this prayer guide that can help your children pray for their peers in the Muslim world: Just for Kids: 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World.  But let’s take a step back. Do your kids really believe their prayers make a difference? They can see God heal a scrape on their leg or provide a job for their dad, but seeing a Muslim child in a different country begin to follow Jesus — that’s not quite as concrete. It’s up to us as teachers and parents to provide the concrete. As you invite your children to intercede for kids around the world, encourage them with plenty of examples of how God answers when boys and girls talk to him about what’s already on his heart. During the month of July, I’ll provide you with some stories you can use with your class. Here’s the first one: Hope Smith, age 9, intercedes for Mongolia.


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Books and Movies List Update

On June 29th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Children at Risk, Karen's Blog by


Just updated the children at risk suggested movies and books on our Red Card Kids website. Recent books include: 1. Do Something! A Handbook for Young Advocates, 2. Not In My Town Exposing and Ending Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, and 3. Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care. The movie Life, Above All is scheduled for release in the United States on July 15.

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The Good News Story

On June 12th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Product Reviews by

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Summer is here and church lawns are decorated with colorful signs announcing Vacation Bible School. I attended VBS as a child and have served as a teacher for many years. Not only is the gospel message presented in an intentional way, but children are invited to receive Jesus as their savior. I’ve heard many stories of kids, churched and unchurched alike, accepting Jesus at VBS. My church celebrates these decisions by giving children a certificate and Bible.

But what happens between the gospel presentation and the certificate? When a child expresses interest in following Jesus, he or she is often sent to speak individually with a volunteer who can answer questions, share Bible verses, and pray with that child. Many volunteers feel ill-equipped to lead a child to Christ. Here’s a tool I just found that can help. The Good News Story is a 16-page booklet for children with seven Bible stories that focus on the gospel. It’s easy for kids to read with great illustrations. There’s even a “steps-to-salvation” chart with specific Bible verses. Comes in a set of 10 booklets.


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Read to Feed

On June 6th, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Product Reviews by

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Recently, I toured Heifer Project’s working farm in Arkansas. Originally, donated farm animals were kept there until they could be shipped overseas to poor families. The practice of shipping animals proved too costly so these days animals are purchased in the same area where the needy families live. The farm is now used for teaching. Thousands of children come on field trips to learn about the connection between farm animals and helping families to break free from the cycle of poverty.

I learned the 7 m’s, an easy way to remember what animals provide: meat, milk, materials, muscle, manure, money, and motivation. I also learned about a great program called Read to Feed ®. It gives kids the opportunity to combine leisure reading with helping hungry families around the world. We’ve featured it as our June/July Take a Stand opportunity.

Here are some books kids could read during the program to help them learn more about poverty and hunger-related issues:

Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier

Cups Held Out by Judith L. Roth

Faith the Cow by Susan Bame Hoover

Give a Goat by Jan West Schrock

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway

Kids Against Hunger by Jon Mikkelsen

A Kid’s Guide to Hunger and Homelessness: How to Take Action by Cathryn Berger Kaye

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway

This Child, Every Child by David J. Smith


At the end of the Read to Feed program, I’d plan a way for your kids to CELEBRATE! Invite parents to take part as well. Here are a few ideas.

  • Visit a local farm or the petting area of the zoo to experience farm animals up close and personal.
  • Attend a demonstration of sheep shearing, spinning wool, milking cows, making butter, etc. Check for these kinds of programs at local historical museums.
  • Have kids make animal masks and have each “animal” explain what materials they provide for people.


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Global Day of Prayer

On June 3rd, 2011, posted in: Blog, Karen's Blog, Pray by


June 12 is the Global Day of Prayer. Believers worldwide are joining together to intercede for the nations. You can involve the children in your family, class, or club. Show them the Children in Prayer video that demonstrates ways that kids around the world are actively interceding for their families, communities, nations, and the peoples of the world. Download the free children’s 10-day Prayer Guide. It includes topics like poverty, disabilities, orphans, war zones, and children who have not heard the gospel. Each day is divided into four main sections:

1. Praying for children of the world – a different subject each day, based on the Lord’s Prayer, with ideas of how to pray

2. Thanking God – for His promises about the topic, for blessings we have

3. Journaling/Personal Prayer – reading a Bible verse, responding, listening to God

4. Prayer Activity – follow-up activity that helps kids personalize the day’s topic

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GO! 5 Mission Adventures for Kids

On May 17th, 2011, posted in: Karen's Blog, Product Reviews by


Just came across this new 5-day mission curriculum from Regular Baptist Press: GO! 5 Mission Adventures for Kids. For grades 1-6, this curriculum introduces the Biblical foundation of  missions. It offers separate Bible lessons for primary (grades 1-2) and middler/junior (grades 3-6). I appreciate that Lesson 1 includes a salvation message and opportunity for children to respond. Each day has a country focus (although not very detailed) with a corresponding snack. Lessons run about 80 minutes and include a Bible session, memory verse, prayer time, international snack, and songs. Optional materials for longer sessions include a brief missionary biography that matches the day’s country focus as well as mission prayer journal activities.

Lesson Overviews:

Day 1: Telling the World: What a Great Commission, India country focus, William Carey

Day 2: Pray Around the World, Burma country focus, Adoniram Judson

Day 3: Missionaries in the Old Testament, China country focus, Hudson Taylor

Day 4: What it Takes to be a Missionary, Bangladesh country focus, Mary Lou Brownell

Day 5: Changed!, Brazil country focus, Ken and Renny Snare

This set comes with a director’s guide, resource CD (student activity materials, 12 songs in mp3 format, art and logos), a world map, and posters. Download samples of the director’s guide and Lesson 1 content here.





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THUMB Coloring Book

On May 9th, 2011, posted in: Karen's Blog, Product Reviews by

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Here’s a great prayer tool to engage your kids in interceding for children around the world who have limited or no access to the gospel.  This coloring book has 25 beautiful line drawings of children, five from each of the THUMB [tribal, Hindu, unreligious (atheist), Muslim, and Buddhist] religious blocs. Each drawing includes the name and location of the featured people group. In the middle of the book is a “Where Are the THUMB Peoples?” map activity. Simple explanations of what each religious bloc believes along with brief prayer requests help children go beyond coloring to praying. Includes ideas for using the coloring pages in a mission festival, intergenerational prayer event, Christian school classroom, and homeschool setting. This coloring book is suggested for ages 5-10, but the drawings have enough detail that older kids who like art would also enjoy it.

Here’s the good news. You can get this book for less than a Starbuck’s latte. The price has been reduced to $1.50 plus shipping and handling.


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Missing Out on Precious “Growing Up” Moments!

On May 6th, 2011, posted in: Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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As I reflect on the children at risk that I serve, for some, having a mother is only a dream.

Here is a true story I wrote about my little friend Max whom I met while working in the orphanage during my years in Central Asia.

Max is eight years old and has no family. All his life, he has lived in an orphanage in Central Asia. At night, Max has no one to tuck him in, give him a hug and kiss, tell him a bedtime story, or pray with him. When Max falls down, nobody runs to comfort him or make sure he is not hurt.

One summer I stayed with a local Christian family who was hosting Max for a few weeks, providing an enjoyable break from the orphanage. During my visit the family’s little girl lost two front teeth. She ran up to me, eager to show me the gap where they had been. Max gave her a perplexed look. He did not understand what all the excitement was about. When he had lost a tooth, nobody ever showed any interest.

Through this incident, God showed me that, like Max, many orphaned children miss out on the joy of celebrating milestones like taking first steps, speaking first words, or losing teeth. God never intended for children to grow up alone, but with loving parents to care for them, protect them, and participate in precious “growing up” moments.

I worked with many older children from the orphanage and their one prayer was that they would be adopted into a family, and have a mother!

Would you take time this Mother’s Day weekend, and reflect on these questions? Perhaps share them with your children, and have a time of discussion.

  1. Recall a special experience or event that you were able to share with your mother? What would it be like if you had nobody to listen and share that experience with you?

2.  Describe a time when you were hurt and your mother comforted you. Imagine that same experience without a mom to care for you. How would that make you feel?

Would you take some time now, to pray for the many children at risk who don’t have the love, protection, and nurture of a mother? Pray that children would be adopted into a family, or that a missionary or national worker would fill the role of mother at this time! Pray that children would know God in a deep way, and know His great love for them!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Fabric Map Prayer Activities-Part 2

On April 13th, 2011, posted in: Karen's Blog, Lesson Ideas, Pray by


Here are three more children’s prayer activities you can do using the world fabric map.


Beanbag Toss

Materials: fabric world map, beanbag

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have children sit or stand around the map. Choose a child to toss the beanbag onto the map. Read the name of the country where the beanbag lands. Pray for families in that country to come to know Jesus. If the beanbag lands on a body of water, pray for families in a country that borders that body of water. Hand the beanbag to another child and continue in the same way.


Light of the World

Materials: fabric world map, flashlight, music CD and CD player

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have children take off their shoes and sit in a circle around the map. Turn off most of the lights. Hand the flashlight to a child. When the music begins, the children pass the flashlight around the circle. When the music stops, the child with the flashlight stands and shines the light on one country on the map. Pray for God to prepare the hearts of families in that country to understand who Jesus is. Have the child sit back down in the circle, start the music, and continue in the same way.


Missionary Photo Card Prayer

Materials: fabric world map, photo prayer cards of church missionaries

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have children sit around the map. Show the photo on the first missionary prayer card and read the names of the people in the family. On the map, locate the country where the missionaries serve. Choose a child to lay the photo card on the map. Pray for the missionaries using some of the prayer categories suggested below. Continue in the same way with the remaining prayer cards.


health                       new friends

provision                   encouragement

safety                        time with God

wisdom                     adjust to culture

learn language          many people come to know God


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April 25th is World Malaria Day!

Teaching kids we can STOP the spread of malaria by using malaria nets!April 25th, 2011 is World Malaria Day!

Although malaria is not prevalent in the United States today, malaria claims twice the number of African children as AIDS. According to the World Health Organization, one in every five childhood deaths (20 percent) is due to malaria. Sadly, a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria.

Malaria is very preventable and very inexpensive to prevent! How can we help, and importantly how can we get children involved to help their peers throughout the world?

I implemented a program for my daughter’s third grade class to raise money for malaria.  I taught a simple lesson to the kids on malaria, and how easy it is to prevent it by the use of malaria nets. I also based the lesson in scripture that Jesus would want us to help those who are sick. And by helping those who are sick, we are serving Him (Matthew 25:35-40)!

For the month of April, the third grade classes will collect coins and at the end of April we will send money to His Nets.  His Nets is a non-profit organization which purchases and distributes mosquito nets to families in Africa to protect them from malaria infected mosquitoes. Because many homes in Africa consist of one small room, an entire family can use one large net for up to four years for protection from mosquitoes at only $6.00 per net! For less than the price of a dinner or movie, one life could be saved and an entire family can sleep in peace.

There are many other great organizations that you might partner with. Check out these websites:


  1. Compassion International-Bite Back
  2. Sweet Sleep-Nickels for Nets
  3. Malaria No More


Take a stand and do something this month to fight malaria!  Let me know if you need a copy of the lesson I did–I love to share!


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Fabric Map Prayer Activities-Part 1

On April 11th, 2011, posted in: Karen's Blog, Pray, Product Reviews by


Need a world map to use for your children’s mission activities? This colorful fabric map is light, portable, and will do the trick in most cases.  It’s 3 x 5 foot, a good size to use with groups. Whether I’m doing an activity with my church kids or packing for an overseas ministry trip, this fabric map is one of the first things I grab. Here are three prayer activities your children will enjoy that use this map.

Stickers for the World

Materials: fabric world map, blindfold, stickers (Bible, cross, or heart shapes)

Directions: Attach the map to a wall. Blindfold a child and give him a sticker. Direct the child to walk toward the map, touch it, and attach the sticker. Read the name of the country closest to the sticker. Pray for God’s word (Bible sticker) to come to the people who live in that country OR pray for the people in that country to receive Jesus (cross or heart sticker) into their hearts.

Kids Like Me

Materials: fabric world map

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have the children take off their shoes and sit around the map. Choose 4-5 children to stand on a country on the map. Read the names of the countries they choose. Let each child standing on the map pray for the children who live there, using one of the following categories. Here is a sample prayer: “God, please help the kids in Ecuador who like soccer to come to know you.”

same age                                                 same hair color

same eye color                                         same grade

same name                                              same favorite color

same sport or hobby                                same number of people in family

same kind of pet                                      same favorite school subject


Hurting Kids

Materials: fabric world map, bandaids (don’t remove back), bag with the following 6 items: piece of fruit, cup, notebook, picture of house or house from Monopoly game, picture of mom and dad, medicine bottle

Directions: Lay the map on the floor. Have the children take off their shoes and sit around the map. Choose children to put a bandaid on each of the following continents: Europe, South America, Africa, North America, Asia, and Australia. Tell the children that many boys and girls around the world don’t have what they need to grow up healthy and strong. Choose a child to pull one item out of the bag. Talk about what it represents (see below). Have the child pick up a bandaid from the map and replace it with the item chosen from the bag. Pray for God to provide for the need represented. For example: “God, please help the kids in Asia to have the medicine and doctors they need to stay healthy.”

fruit=hunger                                        home picture=homeless

notebook=no access to education        mom and dad picture=orphans

cup=without clean water                      medicine=without healthcare


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