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© First Baptist Church of Milford.

Unreached People Groups

Cradling Missions

The real source of hope in missions is not the statistics of man, but the promise of God.
 |  Tabitha White  |  Unreached
Woman, how divine your mission,
Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
~ William Ross Wallace ~

Looking closely, we can surely see the product of maternal influence in our families, our children, and ourselves. Whether it be one of stain or stature, the imprint left upon us by our mothers is an indelible one. I have a friend who immigrated to the US, married an American, and has six children all born and reared in the Midwest. The children all bear a striking physical resemblance to their mother with fair skin and light hair; however, in addition to the obvious genetic traits, the children’s flawless English carries their mother’s lovely Oceanic accent. Despite much interaction in their rural community and their church, the children are well marked because of the time spent in their home. The influence of Mom’s speech is greater still than the tongues of many teachers.

When our children are young, even very young, we can choose their influences. As parents, scheduling our children for piano lessons, signing them up for little league, and enlisting them in various church activities creates appetite. It is a purposeful act to expose them to something we deem valuable in order to build character, add knowledge, cultivate a skill, or interact socially. Whatever the reason, the parents usually choose these activities, pay the fees, drive to practices, and ensure that the child receives as much as possible from these endeavors. If we can be this purposeful for soccer, could we not influence our children to become World Christians at an early age?

The opportunity to influence young minds and hearts in missions is wide open. We mothers, who truly love missions and desire to see God glorified in all the earth can begin to shape the love of missions work in your children even while they are still in the cradle. A purposeful love of all peoples can be fostered in very young children by implementing some simple and fun practices at home.


Purchase Maps and Globes. Introduce God’s love for all people by displaying maps and helping your children become familiar with the area of the 10/40 Window. Interactive globes are available that make learning fun. Shopping for maps may be a challenge to find something that is not designed with North America in the center with the area of the 10/40 Window split on either side of the map. Unfortunately, it is an indication, at least subconsciously, that North America is the point of reference for all other points on the map. Most school aged children, when asked to draw a map of the world will draw a simple map of the United States. To them, and most adults, this is their world. To most of us, it is a novel fact to learn that the solar system does not revolve around an English-speaking, Big Mac eating, white-skinned North America. Teach your children otherwise; show them the world. Help them look beyond the borders of America


Introduce other languages early. The goal is not to teach a language, but to simply foster an appreciation for all languages. Make Revelation 5:9 a mantra as you explain that God loves people from every language group “… every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” Value people who speak other precious languages and show that they are each important to God.


Read multi-cultural books together. Even picture books or cookbooks showing traditional dress or ethnic foods and activities help children recognize differences in tradition and culture. Public libraries are excellent for resources.


Make them “color-blind.’’ Find toys and dolls of different nationalities. By exposing children to ethnic diversity, we are creating an atmosphere of normalcy and respect toward people of different skin tones. (A doll collection for girls called Hearts for Hearts is available at many stores.)


Visit ethnic stores and restaurants. Browse around ethnic shops and encourage your children to ask questions to the owners. Most are delighted to share information about their products. Be positive as you try new foods.


Create a dress-up box of ethnic clothes. Find pictures online of how to properly wear the clothes or head pieces. Do a study with your children about the people their clothing represents and why particular clothing is suited for their climate and culture. Second-hand stores will have items for your collection. Include hats, scarves, and jewelry. This sort of play will ensure our children will not stare with mouths gaping open the first time someone visits your church wearing a turban or a sari.


Plan a family outing to an ethnic area. Thousands of such settlements exist including the Resettlement Refugee Communities in North America. By performing a demographic search within a specific radius of our churches, most of us would be shocked to learn of the pockets of ethnic people within the reach of our congregation. If possible, obtain Scriptures in their language and visit the neighborhood as a family.


Attend cultural festivals. Every city has these and they are often free and open to the public. Research your community calendars. University campuses are filled with ethnic people, various languages, and various activities celebrating these guests to our country. Most welcome volunteers and encourage participation.

Since we are proactive moms encouraging a love for all nations, we must also be aware of the negative things we do or say that could dissolve our mission effort. Some of this may seem extreme, but if we look closely at the message we are sending to our children, it is worth a change in our own speech and attitudes.

Be careful to never refer to another language as “weird” or “gibberish” or any other negative adjective. These seemingly harmless statements etch attitudes in children in relation to any language unlike their own. It subliminally places English and English-speakers as the “superior” standard.

Avoid openly glossing over other-language names or making remarks such as, “It was some strange sounding foreign name.” The unspoken message put forth to your children is, “This isn’t English; it’s not worth my time and effort.” Once, my children were attending a month-long community event where an Ethiopian university student was assisting. As the director introduced him, she told the children to just call him Mr. “S” because his name was too difficult to pronounce. Later, one of my daughters shyly approached him and asked for his name. After that, my children always addressed him by his actual name. He seemed pleased with their effort since they conversed often. It was a small act showing a young man far from home that his language and name were valued.

Be careful not to distance yourself from people at church who are different from you. When I served in our 4 and 5 year-old department at church, I often noticed church children who were regular attenders scooting their chairs away from the bus children and even requesting to be moved. While our natural tendency is to gravitate toward familiarity, our children notice when we do go out of our way to welcome the “stranger,” and they likewise recognize when we do not.

Correct attitudes toward all people (nations, foreigners, and strangers) should begin at home when our children are very young and can be reinforced at church. Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple in II Chronicles 6 includes a petition for the foreigner. When the prayers of the stranger (foreigner) were answered, those from all nations would be drawn as a magnet to the true God. God’s house was to be a House of Prayer for all nations (people groups, ethnic groups).

How can we teach our children that God is a global God when they will not sit next to a bus child at church? What are we teaching our children about God’s love for all nations when we pull our children close as ethnically diverse visitors walks through the door of our church? When will our children develop a love for languages when we subconsciously vilify foreigners and ethnically different people with jokes and negativity? What are the chances of rearing a Bible translator in your home when foreign accents are mimicked and comments are hurled.

By cradling missions at home, a mother’s attitude and purposeful influence will go a long way toward helping her children to love all nations. Choosing to teach your children to make God’s glory global, may cause others to brand you a missions extremist or an overly-passionate missions-hearted mama. Personally, I can think of no better label.

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