Faraway Places

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Use this object lesson to introduce your children’s ministry
students to the world around them and the need for Christians to
serve God’s needs in the mission field.

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Get Set to Serve

Arrange for a guest speaker to come and talk to your kids. The
speaker should be someone who has done service or missionary work
in another country, preferably a country with a culture quite
different from our own.

If you can’t locate such a person, find someone who has traveled
to another country on vacation or business. Explain that you want
the kids to learn what life is like in that country, especially for
the children who live there. Encourage the speaker to bring along
photographs or artifacts from the country.

Before class, make a copy of the “Prayer for Children Far Away”
handout for your speaker and for each child. On each handout, fill
in the country your speaker will discuss. Consider serving a snack
that is traditionally served in that country.

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Gather the children together and say: Today we welcome a special
guest.

Introduce the guest speaker, telling the kids that in just a few
moments the speaker will share some interesting information with
them. Then ask:

  • How does news travel in our country today?
  • How did the news of Jesus spread throughout the world?

Say: Before he went back to heaven, Jesus instructed his
followers to go throughout the world and spread the good news that
he is the Son of God. This is how the Christian church began. The
followers of Jesus who traveled and told the good news were the
first missionaries. One of those first missionaries was Paul. Paul
went to many lands and told the people he met there about
Jesus.

If you have been able to locate a map of Paul’s travels, show
the map to the children. Then explain that parts of the New
Testament tell us about Paul’s travels. Have a child read aloud
Acts 21:1-6. Then say: This passage is fun for kids to hear because
it tells how the children and their parents followed Paul out of
the city. Ask:

  • Why do you think they followed Paul?
  • Do you think Paul liked meeting children from another land? Why
    or why not?

The Project

Introduce the guest speaker. After the speaker has finished his
or her presentation, encourage the kids to ask questions. Then
ask:

  • How are the children’s lives in (name of country) different
    from your lives? How are they alike?
  • Would you like to trade places with the children there?
    Explain.

Encourage kids to join you in saying thank you to the guest
speaker. (You may want to have the kids write thank you notes to
your speaker at another time.)

Project Prayer

Gather the kids into a prayer circle. Give each child a copy of
“A Prayer for Children Far Away.” Say: Now that we’ve learned about
the children who live in (name of country), we can understand how
their lives are like ours and how they’re different. Since we know
more about their problems, we’re better able to pray for them.

Ask kids to close their eyes and think for a moment about the
children they learned about. Next, ask them to open their eyes and
read the prayer along with you.

Then say: God loves all children. As Christians, we are called
to care about children who live next door to us and children who
live far away from us. Take your prayer home and hang it in your
room. This week, whenever you see it, remember to pray for the
children of (name of country).

The Extra Service Step

Consider having your kids send drawings and letters to children
who live in the country they learned about. Perhaps your guest
speaker can connect you with a church or school there that would
like to receive greetings from your kids. If your guest speaker is
unable to help you find a place to mail the greetings, your
denominational office or a local mission group may be able to
help.

You may want to take photographs of your group to send. Packs of
stickers are a great treat to include in a package, along with a
cover letter explaining a bit about your group. The cover letter
may be in English, even if that isn’t the country’s native
language, since it usually isn’t difficult to find an English
translator.

Of course, if you receive a reply from the foreign children,
your kids may want to continue the correspondence. And consider
collecting items to mail to the children, such as crayons, coloring
books, stickers, or socks. Your congregation may want to become
involved in adding to your collection.

A Prayer for Children Far Away

Dear God,
We pray for the children of ___________. Now that we know more
about their country, we can understand what their lives are like.
Please take care of them and help them to feel your love. Although
their lives are different from ours, we know that inside, they’re
kids just like us! In Jesus’ name, amen.


Permission to photocopy this handout from Hands-On Service
Ideas for Children’s Ministry granted for local church
use.

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