Imagine living your entire life without ever hearing the name of Jesus. For children in India, this is all too common. India is home to one in every five children. It is a country where illiteracy, the caste system, and poverty challenge daily life. All that was needed to help in this cause was fourteen softened hearts, fourteen giving hands, and a greater purpose than a fifth grade student could comprehend.
As our study on the country of India began in late October, I introduced a challenge to my students. The program was entitled “Lost in India.” This organization raises money to send Indian boys and girls to a ten-day Bible club for only one dollar. The challenge was accepted, a map was hung up in our classroom, and a backpack bank was set up to collect the money. Fun and informative episodes of a man named Chris, who gets lost in India and needs to reunite with an Indian pastor named Justin, were watched with anticipation. Each episode took the class further into India, showing the need for a Savior. In the videos, the class also met many people who were influenced by one of the Bible clubs. As their teacher, I watched and prayed for my students’ hearts to be softened towards India and towards the boys and girls their age who would love to learn about God. Money came in from the Tooth Fairy, birthday gifts, and spare change the students could find. They worked hard for Mrs. Winkle during music and raised even more money. We prayed to reach our goal of one hundred dollars. At present, we have reached and exceeded our goal. We are now past the two hundred dollar mark, and the class wants to continue forward. With our contribution being matched, over four hundred boys and girls will be attending a Bible club this summer. Praise the Lord!
So let me ask you this: Has your family made missions an important part in your home? The older I have gotten, the more important this task has become in my teaching. So, how can you or I help plant the desire of missions in children? First, I would start by reading missionary letters, biographies, or stories to your children. This will make your children become better acquainted with and knowledgeable about our missionaries from the past and present. Secondly, pray with your family for our missionaries. Call out specific names and their requests or praises in prayer. If possible, host missionary families at your home. Have your children become familiar and comfortable talking to and learning from them. Additionally, create ways your children could earn money for missions by completing chores or performing small jobs. Next, when your child develops a skill, applaud and affirm how they could use the skill for the Lord. That way, if they are called to be a missionary or take missionary trips, they will go and be equipped with what was developed at an earlier age. Such skills could be painting, maintenance jobs, singing, crafting, teaching stories, serving without being asked to do so, etc. Finally, if at all possible, take part or all of your family on a missions trip and experience the need first hand.
I have watched these young people trust, rely, pray, and graciously give this school year. As their teacher or their parent, you want them to be happy and serve the Lord wherever they are called. Please continue to pray for my class to raise as much money as possible before the end of the school year. It has been an honor to see the fifth grade class have a genuine “faith that works.”