With personal connections to missionaries at a Canadian Bible camp, a Northern California camp serving children in the foster care system, and a couple serving orphans in Mexico, the students are learning how missionaries are showing the love of Jesus in our own continent.
We had a special treat at chapel one week: a live video conference call with Mr. & Mrs. Harder of the Redberry Bible Camp in Saskatchewan. They showed us the snowy landscape outside, reading the thermometer at -40C below zero! Though the camp runs mostly in the summer, they also host groups throughout the winter as well. They sat by their big stone fireplace as they told us about reaching out to indigenous children to show them the love of God and start healing the breach between white Canadians and the people of the First Nations. They are located so far north, that people live in isolated, small communitites. While building tight-knit communities are a powerful means of survival against the cold and darkness of winter, it also creates an "ingrown" atmosphere of people becoming distrustful of outsiders. They asked us to pray for Christians to build bridges with the Indigenous People of Canada.
United States of America:
Our very own Ms. Porter invited a few of her friends from Royal Family Kids Camp based in California to come and talk to our students at chapel. They explained how they invite foster children to attend their 5 day summer camps. Living in different foster homes growing up, these children rarely ever get a vacation or a time where they can just be a kid, in a safe environment. The kids get to hear who they are in God's eyes, as dearly loved and valuable children. RFK also runs long-term mentoring programs for foster kids, providing preventative support for at-risk-youth to learn how to make the right choices in their lives. During the presentation at chapel, our students listened and asked good questions, developing a heart for kids their own age right here in our own country who need to know the love of Jesus.
Onesimo and Colleen Perez are missionaries to Mexico and have a heart to meet the needs of orphans there. They share the love of Christ in the simple things of tucking children in at nighttime and praying with them before they nod off to sleep. They help them with homework. They are a family to these children because of how Jesus has loved them. Unlike the frigid temperatures of Canada, the average temperatures during the summer in Mexicali can be 120 degrees! The children end up going outside after the sun goes down because it is just too hot during the day. This couple has a heart for the people of Mexico and shares it by caring for its youngest citizens.
With exposure to these different ways of reaching out, we are learning how to pray for the spiritually lost and hurting right here on our own continent. The students made their own coin banks and fill them with earnings from chores, and then as a school, we donate to these organizations. One of their favorite parts at the end of missions month is when we meet together to take turns dumping out our banks into a collective jar, cheering at the noisy clatter of the coins piling up!
The International Luncheon is another favorite way we remember all we have learned about the missions month continent. This year, the students will be encouraged to bring traditional dishes from home, and sample, different tastes from Canada, America, and Mexico. It's a delicious time of discovery and celebration.
The purpose of missions month is to intentionally reach beyond our walls to develop our hearts for those who need Jesus. We learn how to pray and how to have a hand in the bigger picture of what God is doing through willing hearts throughout the world. So if you hear a student singing, "Everybody needs Jesus," you'll know where it's coming from.