As Christian parents, we want to teach our children to think beyond their backyard, giving them an age-appropriate awareness of the needs happening in other countries. Especially the need for Jesus.
How can we do that?
Have you heard of the 10/40 window? I first learned about it several years ago. It’s an area of the world between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude that is home to almost 5 billion people, almost 62% of whom are completely unreached with the Gospel of Jesus.
Of all the world’s megacities whose people need to hear about Jesus, the top 50 are all in the 10/40 window. Of the world’s poorest people groups, 8 out of 10 of them live in the 10/40 window. 1 Of the 50 countries where Open Doors says it is the most dangerous to be a Christian right now, 44 of them are inside the 10/40 window.
So how can we teach children about the needs of people who live in cities and villages with names that are hard to pronounce, who feel so far away from the life most of us know?
Learn About Animals
One of the most natural ways to get kids excited about faraway places and the people who live there is to talk about the animals you might see if you were to visit. Introduce them to creatures such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, the saltwater crocodile, the Asian elephant, the proboscis monkey, and the oryx.
Another way is to learn about some of the towns and cities in these countries. Imagine what life is like for the children living there. What do they see, touch, smell, and taste every day? You don’t have to know everything there is to know about a location—start with what you can find in an encyclopedia or online.
Another key way to share with your children is by connecting them to what they have in common with children in these lands. You may not be able to share detailed stories of persecution, but virtually all children understand what it’s like to be cold, hungry, scared, or sick. Build on these connections and explain to your children how children in other countries sometimes face these things because of their love for Jesus.
Websites like www.KidsofCourage.com and www.Compassion.com have free resources that are designed to share these stories of children in sensitive and age-appropriate ways. WriteBonnieRose.com shares about other countries, including traveling All Around India, through the eyes of a boy named Jake. Some sites such as SchoolhouseTeachers.com offer courses designed to teach elementary children about Asia and the needs of the persecuted Church in various countries.
An important step that can’t be overlooked is finding ways to help your children act on what they’ve learned. Children with sensitive spirits can feel overwhelmed if they begin to develop a burden for others but have no way to feel as though they can help. Show them how they can share what they’ve learned with a Sunday School class or co-op. If they are able, help them conduct a fundraiser for a country or need that is important to them. Help them create prayer reminders for themselves and loved ones.
Pray for Them
One simple craft that can be done is to create a silhouette prayer card they can hang on the wall or use as a bookmarker. To create one, all you need to do is trace the child’s picture on a piece of black construction paper, cut it out, and affix it to a picture of the flag of a nation your child has been learning about.
Develop in your children both a global awareness and a heart for the lost by sharing these stories with them and encouraging them to do what they can to make a difference. Pray for God to show your children the special role He has designed for them to play in bringing His light and love to every corner of the world, and prepare to be amazed at what God can do when a child with a tender heart asks Him to heal the world.
Get The Hidden Village for Your Bookshelves
[A note from Tauna] I love Bonnie’s ideas here and use them with my own children! It’s such an important thing to teach them, I think, and is made easier by a fantastic resource I want to tell you about.
The Hidden Village is a wonderful book written by Bonnie that has earned a place in our family library. It’s the story of a boy named Manju from Bengal, India, and how he discovers a hidden village where the people are forgotten and impoverished. Against great obstacles and general disbelief from his family and neighbors, he takes action to help the people in the village.
My kids and I read this book together and really enjoyed it. They would not let me stop reading it! Each chapter really hooked us into the next. My little readers also enjoyed picking it up on their own and the short chapters, easy style, and beautiful illustrations kept them captivated. They loved that a child was leading the way on this adventure and could make a big impact for God’s kingdom.
A few reasons why I’m glad this book is on our shelves:
- Very gospel-centered, encouraging children to be mission minded and have a heart for telling people about Jesus.
- Easy but engaging reading, which fit or multiple-age homeschool perfectly.
- Can easily be made into a unit study on the country, the people groups, praying for modern Bengal and unreached peoples, etc.
- Cultivates a love for faraway people and places, nurturing compassion in our home for each other and for the world beyond our backyard. ❤️
Bonnie Rose Hudson’s heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She works as the Director of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®. She would love for you to explore the wonderful curriculum available there and to stop by her author’s blog WriteBonnieRose.com for resources to help teach your children about missions and the persecuted Church, free history and writing printables, discover how you can write for the homeschool market, and check out her newest release from JourneyForth, The Hidden Village, an early reader sent in India.