When I was growing up, we gave money every year to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. I don’t remember ever knowing what that meant or where the money was going, but I know we gave proudly. I’m sure there were missionaries our church gave to, but I just don’t recall knowing about any until well into adulthood. And honestly, I wasn’t too concerned about my lack of knowledge in this area.
I didn’t know what I was missing. Then one day we picked up the biography of Hudson Taylor. I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t know who he was. (I was public educated, you know.) But the lines surrounding that booth at the homeschool convention were really long, so I figured that reading about missionaries was the right thing to do. Go ahead and laugh, but I know you’ve done something like that, too!
It took many months for us to crack open the book, but one night we finally did. The kids huddled around me in silence as I read every word of the first chapter. And the second. And the third. After over an hour of reading, I finally had to put a stop to it and the sighs in the room were heavy. This book could possibly have been the most captivating one that we had ever read!
I was probably the most shocked of all. I had been putting off reading this because I had grossly misjudged the value of doing so. By the time we finished Hudson Taylor, I had ordered a dozen more and we were changed forever.
There is just something so mundane about our little problems when you start looking at the problems that these amazing men and women faced. They risked their lives time and time again just to share the gospel with the lost. Meanwhile, we are getting annoyed with the guy who pulled out in front of us or the lady who took up the whole aisle at Wal-mart. It really puts things into perspective, huh?
Studying the Lives Of Missionaries Has Benefits
I don’t ever want my kids to have idols, but they need good role models. Sure, parents can fill that role, but I’m convinced kids need to see more than that. We can only live out a small part of what life might have to offer them. They need to see other Christians living out the faith both when times are good and when times are bad. They also need to see Christians truly trusting God. Missionary biographies provide this in a wonderful way, without making the child personally experience the same hardships.
Of course the study of missions reaches farther than faith, too. Kids become exposed to historical events, geography, world culture, church history, and more. There is nothing more fun than reading about an event in a textbook or resource and then having that event show up later in a biography you are reading. This makes connections for kids that seals knowledge into their minds.
Resources for Teaching Kids About Missions
I could probably compile resources for days and never exhaust the list. We are so blessed to have so much information at our fingertips. Rather than share a huge list, I’m going to show you our favorites. Hopefully many of these will come in handy in your home, too.
This is a great place to start, especially with little ones. The stories are a little more gentle. They are also shorter in length. But don’t mistake that for weak. This book is packed full of adventure-filled stories that the whole family will love!
This is the first series that we learned about. They have 42 volumes of missionary stories from a variety of time periods and countries. They do go in order by date, but you can read them in any order you prefer. The books are written for kids to easily understand, but young kids will need you to read them aloud as they are pretty meaty chapter books.
We inherited a few of these 2 years ago in a bag of clothes that was given to us. What a gift they have been! The stories are much shorter than the series above, making them a good fit for middle elementary age to read alone should they choose. My 3rd grade son really enjoys them.
This series is unique in the way it shares God’s amazing creation through stories about missions. There are 15 books in the collection and they promise a great geography lesson along with inspiration that will melt your heart toward missions.
A true series suitable for ages 9-12 to read, Hidden Heroes promises all the adventure and history of a missionary biography. Enjoy some well-known stories as well as some that are not as commonly shared.
I haven’t read this series yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things from trusted resources. Unlike the others mentioned here, this series is FICTION. It doesn’t represent the actual biography of a specific missionary, but the stories are amazing. What a captivating way to teach children about missions!
We actually watch these on Pureflix. It’s a Christian version of Netflix and we’ve been very pleased with our membership. You can find every single video in the series available there for live streaming. You will also find the series available in DVD format here.
This series has provided countless hours of wholesome entertainment while we travel in the car. So far there are two CD sets, both containing about 5 hours of audio drama based around real stories, but fictitious characters. You can check them out here: season 1 and season 2
To Every Nation
Out of my need and desire to make missionaries a bigger part of our devotional time, and even homeschool time, I created a brand new study and I’m super excited to tell you about it! To Every Nation is a 12-week study of real missionaries and their walk with God through the struggles of life. There’s so much to learn. Click the image below for more information about this great resource for families!