Children’s missions event exposes kids to other cultures

OM holds a missions event to give kids a taste of different cultures and share about God’s plan to bring the gospel to the world.

“I feel very passionate about mobilising children for missions,” said OMer Hercule Steyn. “It’s important to plant a seed and reach children. We wanted to do more so we decided to have a missions event for children where they would get exposed to missions.”

Recently, Hercule’s friend Jan den Ouden (OM Netherlands) told him a story that happened years ago about a 17-year-old who was applying to join Doulos. When he asked her why she decided to come aboard, she said that when she was seven years old, Jan had come to her church and spoken about missions and the ship. That one night led to her decision to join OM. This girl's story proves the effectiveness of talking to children about missions.

OM South Africa held its first children’s mission event in 2010. Stations were scattered throughout the ministry centre’s property, each representing a different country. The goal was to make the event as interactive as possible. Hercule invited homeschoolers within the Pretoria area and was thrilled to see 100 children and 40 parents show up.

“The best audience is when you have the parents there with the children, because the parents get just as touched,” Hercule said.

People had high expectations for the second event held at the end of 2011, but Hercule felt as if it exceeded expectations. About 270 children and 80 parents attended the event. Sixty of the children were from a Christian school in Centurion, while the rest were homeschooled. Eight countries were represented within the different stations—Turkey, Somalia, Spain, Japan, Thailand, Peru, The Ivory Coast, and Kazakhstan—each a different country from the previous year.

“Both my 5- and 7-year-old children had a wonderful time at the event on Friday. We are using the information that they learnt about the various countries to write reports. Both of them were able to recall many details that they learnt, even after a long weekend break,” Jonna Fey, a homeschooling mom, reported after the event.

“I have been able to use the information that we learnt as a jumping off point for talking to the kids about different cultures and the beliefs that people in different countries have,” Jonna continued. “My kids have not been exposed to religions outside of Christianity and it was hard for them to imagine people being tortured and killed for their Christian faith. I am glad that we now have the opportunity to talk about different beliefs and how we can pray for people who do not know the Lord.”

The attendees were asked to donate money for The Freedom Climb, a ministry that raises awareness and funding to combat oppression, exploitation and global trafficking. To do this, 47 women from around the world climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in January this year.

They hoped to raise 650 rand (about 83 US dollars), which would be the equivalent of buying one child’s freedom. Instead, they raised 660 rand.

Both years’ children’s mission events were so successful that the next event is already being planned for March this year at OM South Africa’s ministry centre.

For more information about the ministry of OM in South Africa, visit http://omsouthafrica.org/.

 

By Bonnie Mentel