As a full-time wife, full-time mom, and full-time writer (plus part-time mentor) I’m super picky about what my kids are involved in. Even though we had seasons of t-ball, 4-H, dance, soccer, art classes and language lessons there were only a few things we focused on long-term:
1. Homeschool basketball
2. Homeschool choir
As our older three children grew into teenagers, there was something else we focused on: missions. I wanted my children to understand different cultures and know that there were people all around the world who needed to hear the good news of Jesus!
Here is a photo of our 2008 missions trip to the Czech Republic. It was our first trip, and four more followed. And now Leslie is living there full-time, sharing Jesus with those she teaches and meets.
One great thing about having a second round of kids is using the wisdom I gained on the first set to help me make decisions. (Yes, the first set were the guinea pigs, and they know it!)
When we first adopted Bella and Casey we took a solid year just to firm up our relationships and get them healthy. They were in therapies and schools, getting the help they needed, but I knew better than to add on any extra curricular activities. We needed to be a family first!
But as 2014 started, I was excited about the progress that the kids had made so I started asking around about one specific program: Awana! Out of all the clubs, lessons, or sports teams I could choose, I picked Awana because the most important thing we can impart in our children is knowledge of God and His Word. The key goal of Awana is to introduce Jesus Christ and to help children plant God’s Word in their hearts, by training dedicated leaders!
What many people don’t realize–what I didn’t realize–is that Awana has leaders all over the world! According to their annual report, there are three nations that now feature more than 1,000 Awana clubs:
India (5,447), nepal (1,453) and Kenya (1,123).
• Kenya has added over 900 clubs in the last four years. those clubs are reaching 114,000 children.
• Nepal has grown seven-fold in the last four years.
• Awana is expanding even in more religiously restrictive countries. two examples are Egypt, where 94 clubs are ministering to 11,325 children each week, and Cuba, home to 127 clubs.
So, for one week in June I’m leaving these smiling faces at home …
…to go to Kenya, so I can help tell the Awana story! How amazing is that?
A team of Christian ministry workers, Awana staff and bloggers will be traveling together. We’ll be connect with Awana leaders and CHILDREN … to help tell their story. My hope is that you’ll be so excited about what Awana is doing that you’ll be encouraged to ADOPT A CLUB. For $10 you can make a difference in a club … that is not $10 per child, but $10 per club!
Over the summer I’d love to highlight some of you who want to make a difference. Want to host a yard sale or bake sale for Awana? Let me know and send me pictures! I’d love to highlight you on my blog.
Excited? I am! I mean when is the last time that your $10 has been used to impact a whole CLUB of kids?
But, wait! The excitement is just beginning. I think we’re going to all be bubbling up with excitement when I (we!) get to see what’s happening in Nairobi!
So would you pray?
1. Pray for this team.
2. Pray for this trip.
3. Pray for my family who will be sacrificing so much. (It’s hard when Mom’s away!)
4. Also, pray for the kids who need to hear the good news of Jesus.
5. Finally, pray that the inspiration of God will flow through me, and that I will be able to share HIS story of HIS work in the lives of children around the world!
To Him be the glory.
Mary Ann Shepard says
We only discovered Awana two years ago. Our oldest will be working on her Timothy award this coming year. We will have a second year Spark and a second year Cubbies. We LOVE this program and are continually impressed with how much word our children are putting into their hearts. My husband and I have also rearranged our commitments to be able to become more involved in this program. We will be praying for you and your trip. Thank you for sharing your experience with Awana. I too, agree the most important thing we as parents can do is train our children up in the ways of God! Thank you!
Tricia Goyer says
Mary Ann, I love your new involvement! I love Awana!
Beverly Lytle says
Tricia, this sounds like such an awesome opportunity. I am so thrilled that you can be a part. Our children were involved in AWANA as they were growing up. It is such an amazing way to hide God’s word in the hearts and minds of our children! My prayers go with you as you prepare for the trip and while you will be there.
Tricia Goyer says
Thank you for your prayers. I know that I can count on you!
Rachel Wojnarowski says
Super pumped to be a part of this fascinating mission trip with you!
Tricia Goyer says
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do, Rachel!
Jennifer Smith says
Thanks for sharing, Tricia! I’ve heard of Awana, and I didn’t know what it was. I’ll have to look into it! 🙂
Alyson Dorr says
Amazing opportunity to share God’s love, impact lives and travel to a new part of the world – we are such kindred spirits! I love it! Thanks for picking a flattering pic of Czech 2008 too… there are some bad jet lag pics of me for sure! =)
Karen and Gerard says
AWANA is an awesome children’s ministry that I was involved with directly for 10 years. I still have two adopt-a-clubs, one in Ecuador and one in the Philippines. That is a wonderful opportunity you have, bet you will have a blast!
Rhinda Siffin says
Never heard of Awana before, but I’d like to get involved. Will do what I can do this summer and on from there. I will be praying for you and your whole entourage (sp?). Will let you know what goes on. Don’t know how to post pics, but I will try to learn so I can send some to you! Have a blessed trip, and I’ll be praying for your 3 little ones left at home. They are so cute. Blessings to you today! 🙂
Michelle Caskey says
Loved Awana for my boys! My oldest participated from age 3 thru 6th grade and earned his Timothy Award. My next son participated from age 3 through 4th grade… until our church switched programs. We learned SO MANY VERSES in Awana. It was a great way for me to learn Bible verses right along with my boys. I especially loved the CDs where the verses were put to music. Made it so much easier for us to memorize. Lots of fond memories of Awana in this house! 🙂
Hope you have a great trip, Tricia, and that God richly blesses your sacrifice and commitment!
Jill Graves says
Tricia! It’s so fun to read about what God is doing in your life. I think about you often, but just don’t sit down to send an email.
I’ve been involved with AWANA since I was in high school, and that was a long time ago! I’m currently the T&T Girls Director at our church club. I’m so excited that you have the opportunity to take this trip and share not only the ministry but the Savior who is the focus of the ministry. May God bless you with great travel, great health, and many memory-making opportunities as well as making new friends along the way.
Cherie Kasper says
What an exciting trip that sounds to be. I love the idea of going to Czech country. My husband is Czech and always wanted to go there. Will Be praying for you.
Laura Hix says
I miss Awana at the church. We do a program called Kingdom Kids. It’s based more in discipleshio than outreach and Missions. Love the program but really miss Awana!!!
Will be praying fir you as you make this journey and the sacrifices…
Also you will rock this because it is God designed!! He has you covered before you ever leave your home!!!
Vickie Jones says
I have been the Cubbie Director for 5 years at our church now, our entire family does AWANA either as leaders or clubbers, it’s an amazing program. How blessed you are to go on this trip!