Halloween started as a Christian celebration and many Christians are taking it back and using it as an opportunity for evangelism.
Some of the ways Christians are reaching their community through evangelism during Halloween are by handing out Gospel tracts to children and through Trunk-or-Treat events.
Gospel Tracts for Halloween
Handing out tracts to children along with candy is an easy way to put the Gospel into kid’s hands. Some people prefer to hand out the Gospel of John which is available on Amazon for under $2.00 per book while others prefer Gospel tracts with a Halloween theme. Both can be an effective way to present the Gospel to children and invite parents to visit their local church.
Presenting the Gospel through Trunk or Treat
The history of Trunk or Treat is sketchy but it started in the 1990s. Wikipedia says it was started by either churches or schools looking for a alternative to going door to door trick or treating but whatever the origins churches have clearly embraced the celebration with thousands hosting a Trunk or Treat on the church grounds. Many have gone far beyond parking some cars in the church parking lot and handing out candy out of the back. You can now find live music, games, bounce houses, food and even movies. For many churches it has become an event where hundreds or even thousands of kids come from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Churches benefit because many kids and parents attend that do not come to church. The event opens up opportunities to let visitors know what other things are going on at the church and invite them to come back. Kids and parents benefit from a fun, safe Halloween event where kids can get candy and enjoy the other activities that have been prepared.
Between handing out Gospel tracts during trick or treat and Trunk or Treat millions of children are exposed to the Gospel each year, which in the writers opinion is a pretty cool thing. Lest you think Christians should stay away from all Halloween activities either because they are of the devil or you don’t want Christians messing with a Satanic celebration Halloween is actually one of the pure Christian events. Yes it has been modified by people looking for the darker side but that happens with every Christian event.
Wikipedia has this to say about Halloween
Halloween or Hallowe’en also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It initiates the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. Within Allhallowtide, the traditional focus of All Hallows’ Eve revolves around the theme of using “humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.”
So this Halloween celebrate life! Jesus has come, died and was raised from the dead. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
This year join in and let children know that Jesus has a plan for their life not only for this life but for the life that is eternal. Olaf in Frozen says: “Let’s go bring back summer!” With the same enthusiasm let us say let’s go make disciples!
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There are a lot of pieces involved in putting on a successful Trunk or Treat. First there are all the details involved in setting up a Trunk or Treat: getting the church members involved, decorating cars, food, music, games, bounce houses. Then there is promotion and publicity. After all if you don’t get the word out then no children from outside your church will show up. The list can seem endless.
All of these activities are necessary but from my experience most churches do a pretty good job managing these various tasks. Promotion probably could use the most help from the list above but the item I am thinking of is not even on that list.
The missing piece:
What? you may be thinking. How can that possibly be the most important? It is the most important thing that churches do not do and I’m going to show you why this one overlooked task is the most important task that is not done.
How are you going to stay in touch?
If you don’t collect email address how will you stay in touch with the visitors who attended your Trunk or Treat? The answer is you probably can’t but with email you suddenly have the ability to reach out after Halloween is over. There is a variety of information that you should be sending them: other children’s events (children’s choir, Christmas dramas and events, Thanksgiving events). Then there is information that might appeal to the parents. Each church is different but maybe an email about Sunday School classes for parents of elementary school, social opportunities, the pastors sermons, invitation to attend church. You don’t want to overwhelm them but one or two emails a week will begin to take them from an attendee at your Trunk-or-Treat to an active church member and follower of Jesus.
The good news is it does not take that long to put all of this information together. A good email service like MailChimp can make automating your emails easy. There are tutorials on their site so I won’t go into all the details but first you will set up an email list. Call it something like Trunk-or-treat kids. Now add the emails you collected. First name and email address is all you are going to need to collect.
Next set up your emails that you want to send out. On MailChimp it is called Automation. Others may call it something else, but they all do the same thing. You’ll decide when you want to send the email out. I recommend sending out a thank you for attending our Trunk or Treat within a couple days of the event. The others should be about upcoming events or programs at church both for parents and children. If your church is organized you may have enough information to write emails that cover all the way to January. Most churches though find creating emails for the next month work well. Just remember that you need to write the next set of emails the beginning of December. Make a commitment to stay in touch with them for one year. Set aside a couple hours every month to write the emails. If you keep a list of what you want to send them you’ll be able to cut the actual writing down to less than an hour.
By doing this you have turned a one time event into a outreach ministry that will have results. MailChimp is free until you get 2,000 subscribers or 12,000 emails per month so your cost is going to be your time. Once you start this outreach you’ll find other events where it makes sense to collect email addresses and start another outreach list. Don’t add them to the same list because they’ll receive the outdated emails.
If you found this helpful let me know and we’ll expand on it in other posts. You also might want to check out our post on how to promote Trunk or Treat in 2015.
Moses plays a very prominent part in the Old Testament both as a leader of the Israelites and as a writer of the books of the Bible, but what about his faith? God’s hand was on Moses from birth, helping him escape death by the Egyptians and in raising him as a son of Pharaoh where he was educated under the best instructors of the time. God prepared Moses for the work he would call him to later in life.
Moses was also one of the privileged few who have actually heard God’s voice and experienced his glory. I am writing this post because I’ll be teaching 5th graders about the faith of Moses and I find writing helps me clarify my own thoughts. This is not meant to be a Sunday School lesson but I’ll provide some of the resources I’m using at the end. It seems to me that with everything Moses experienced he would have been a very forceful leader for God, but on several occasions that did not happen.
He first met God through the burning bush where God actually talked to him. The story is found in Exodus 3 and 4. When God spoke to Abraham he listened and moved. When God spoke to Moses he tried his best to get God to change his mind. Even after he finally went Pharaoh would not listen to him and Moses complained to God. After he had seen God’s glory when God gave him the 10 Commandments he listened to the leaders of Israel and did not go into the territory that would become Israel. I would have expected that he would have told the people that God had brought them out of Egypt, promised them their own country and that he was going in with our without the people of Israel.
Moses and faith – How you can live a life of passionately following Jesus
Least I judge Moses to hard what have we been given and how do we respond? God has given us the Bible so we can read the many stories of people living (or not living) out their life as God wanted. Since Jesus came, died and sent the Holy Spirit each believer has also had God living in them, an experience that radically changed the Apostles, members of the early church and many people around the world today.
God gave Moses what seemed like a huge task: Free 1 million people from Pharaoh and move them back into the land that God gave Abraham. It was a task that should have taken three months but that ended up taking him the rest of his life. God has given us a task that is even bigger. Everyone who becomes a Christian is instructed to go make other disciples. What is known as the Great Commission is found in every Gospel. I’ve quoted from Matthew 28 in God’s Word translation: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.
What will your story look like at the end of your life? Are you focused on serving Him or serving yourself? Where are you storing up treasures? Living a life of faith, trusting in Jesus is not always hard. Yes many people I know have sold what they owned and left to be a missionary in another country, but God needs people who serve him right here. Sometimes it is as simple as paying for someone’s meal. In the video below you’ll see how one very simple act changed the lives of many. That is probably something we all can do.
Try saying a prayer something like this one: Lord Jesus I know you want people who love you with all of their heart, soul and mind. People who are willing to listen and follow you. Help me to be one of those people. Every morning let me wake up and live my life serving you.
Sunday School Resources on Moses
Back to our Sunday School class. We’re spending four weeks studying Moses through various ways: art, music, Scripture and media. This week is media so I’m going to use these videos to help our kids understand Moses, his faith and how God calls us to live a life of obedience to him.
Story of Moses. This animated video does a good job telling about the history God’s people during the time of Moses.
How do you put faith in action?
Recommended books and resources
These resources are mix between helping you grow in your faith and helping children develop their faith.
- Crazy Love by Francis Chan – God is love. Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love. Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not, we all know something’s wrong.
- Awakening by Matt Brown -We keep hearing about weakening faith in our country, but God is alive and well in America. He is working right here and now in people of faith. This book will awaken your heart and soul to his presence and to the power of Christianity today, which will in turn ignite your faith and change your world. Christians in America are inundated with negative stories and statistics about the decline of the faith. Awakening is a very encouraging counter balance of astounding stories of God at work all around the world, and it will inspire you to take part.
- Teaching children about the birth of Moses – Craft card by Memory Cross
- Moses and the burning bush – Craft card by Memory Cross that helps children remember this story.
- Moses parting the Red Sea – craft card by Memory Cross
- Sunday School lessons about Moses – Ministry to Children – free resources.
If you are on Facebook check out the page: Faith and Action Today – Leaving ordinary behind. On this page we continue the conversation about growing in our relationship with Christ through Scripture, inspirational videos and personal thoughts.
To download any of the videos, click on watch on YouTube and the put the letters “ss” in front of YouTube. Example: If the link was YouTube.com/abcdef… you would put ssYouTube.com/abcdef… It works on most video sharing sites.
“A Change of Heart”
By: Floranilla Rosquita-Aragones
Last January 11, 2015; the day after we celebrated the 2nd birthday of our son Mel Florenz, we discover that God blessed us with another gift of life. My husband and I were overjoyed. We got so ecstatic with the idea of becoming parents for the second time around. We were hoping that this time it will be a baby girl. Our excitement was heightened when our families and friends knew the news and were excited for us as well.
But as the days passed, my excitement started to fade out. I experienced difficulties with my pregnancy that I never had experienced with our first child. I got physically weak and I got so dizzy most of the time that I just stayed in the bed almost the whole day. I didn’t want to eat because everything smelled foul. My morning sickness was worst. I vomited most of the time. I became frustrated that I couldn’t do the things that I used to do. Being an active person who usually loves to multi-tasks, I started to become frustrated that I can’t follow my daily schedules and tasks-on-hand anymore. My husband got really worried and his worries made me even more frustrated. He prayed for me every night. I also prayed every day, asking God to lift me from these burdens; to change my situation. But days turns to weeks and weeks to months still there’s no changes. It seems God was so far away or He may not be listening to me at all that I started asking Him a lot of “Whys?”
One day, during my personal devotional time, these words hit me straight to my heart: “Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He is trying to change your heart.” And at that moment I was opened to a realization that maybe, I was in this course of life because there is something that God wanted me to learn. And as I tried to accept the fact that my situation is normal, like any pregnant moms and that this kind of journey is essential for me to fully experience the life of a mother, my frustrations started to wane out and my excitement started to find its light back in my heart.
I believe that in every trial that comes our way, God has a purpose for it. He is our greatest mentor and the ultimate designer of our life. He perfectly designs every lesson that will communicate to our individual hearts. We all seem to have the chance to acquire the same lessons in our life but through different ways and situations.
Maybe God is not allowing the situations in our life to change because He is trying to change the course of our heart. Because those situations are necessary for us to go through in order for God to really work His ways through us.
So, whatever situation you are in right now, may it be difficulties at work, at school, at relationships or you’re in situation like I was in, TRUST GOD. TRUST HIS PLAN. TRUST HIS HEART. And consider this: how can you grow from the situation that you are in?
Let God work on your heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
So, were you in the same situation? How did you allow God to work with you? We would love to hear your experiences.
P.S. Last August 28, 2015, after 38weeks, I gave birth to a baby girl named Mia Eliana; simply means – God answers our prayers in a beautiful way.
Another page to check out is our Facebook page “Jesus and Faith today – leaving behind average” where we share stories, scriptures and thoughts on living the life that Jesus calls you to live. Not a comfortable life but one where we radically decide to follow Jesus.
If your church is having a Trunk or treat or a fall festival and want to invite the community we’ve put together some of the best ways to promote it in 2015. Traditional methods have not changed much but the internet and Facebook in particular has changed a lot since 2014. At the bottom I’ll provide links to articles we wrote in 2013 and 2014. They are short and still have a lot of relevant information.
How to promote a Trunk or Treat or Fall Festival in 2015
Facebook is the most effective way for most churches to reach people for any event including Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats. Around 70% of the entire U.S. population is on Facebook and the percentage is higher among young families, which is the group you are most likely trying to reach. Facebook has changed in the past year and posting an announcement without promoting it will no longer be effective but by paying to promote the announcement you can reach the exact people who are most likely to attend. We’re already created a post on how to create a Facebook ad which you can find here. The post was written to help churches reach new movers but the information is the same. You just need to change the demographics which I’ve listed below.
Under the section who do you want to reach, select the city or zip codes, age group and whether they have kids and the ages. Facebook will show you how many people they have that match your demographics. I made a screen shot as a visual reference. Everything else in our post on advertising on Facebook will be the same.
Plan to run your ad 10-15 days before the event and set it to expire the day of the event. Set the amount you want to spend each day and you’ll see approximately how many people Facebook will show your ad to each day. One of the nice things about online advertising is you get to set how much you want to pay each day.
I recommend that you create a Facebook post with a link to your website and promote the post. Ask church members to like and share the post. That will tell Facebook that this event is important and they will not only show it organically (for free!!) but will charge you less for clicks that you do receive.
Promote your trunk or treat on your website and blog
This is a good free way to let people know about your event. List the date, time and address of the event with city and state along with details and pictures from last year’s event. Link to it from your Facebook page post, the one you created above. Now go to Pingler and ping the two pages. To do that click on the announcement on your webpage and copy the URL at the top of your browser. That is what you’ll copy into Pingler. Make the keyword “Fall Festival city state” or “Trunk or treat city state”. In the category select “news”. Pingler will then send out your pages to a number of search engines, and news feeds that will help rank the page and make it more visible on the web.
Craig’s List and other local event listing sites that can be used to promote your Trunk or Treat
Craig’s list allows you to post your event for free and you’ll be amazed at how many people visit this site looking for things to do. Craig’s list is not one site but hundreds so Google Craig’s list or go to www.craigslist.org and you should arrive at your local Craig’s List. Click posts to classified and then event/class (last one on the list) and then I’m advertising an event other than the above (last one). You’ll then be taken to a listing page where you can put the information about the event. I believe that you can list a link to your blog post or site that has more information (http://www.your-church.com). There are also a number of other free listings available in your area but since each city has different ones Google “free places to list events, city state” or “places to list events, city, state” if you don’t mind paying a small fee.
Promoting Trunk or Treat or fall festivals using videos
The internet is moving toward video and you can take advantage of this by creating a video about your Fall Festival/Trunk or Treat and posting it on YouTube, Facebook and GodTube. For Facebook upload the video and write a description, in this case about your Fall Festival. Encourage members to like and share the video. You can also spend more to promote it. The cost to promote it is low and you can put a link for more information at the end of the video. The video will get more views if you keep it around 3 minutes.
For YouTube and GodTube follow these instructions when uploading. They will vary some so I wrote the instructions for YouTube since it gets much more traffic. You can use the same video.
- When you upload the video keep it unlisted until you are have the information that follows completed.
- First your church should have a YouTube channel. If you don’t check out this video.
- Next you’ll want to put the following information in the description: Title of video (in this case Trunk or Tread, name of church city and state). Right underneath that put the link to the page on your website that has more information. Now put a brief description of the event and include the city, state, and date of the event. Encourage people to leave a comment by posting: leave your comment below. Then you can post a link to another video or encourage them to subscribe to your channel and finally put the link to your church website. Now put keywords in the tags section. (fall festival, trunk or treat, Halloween, etc.)
- You now want to click on the button that says “cards”. That will allow you to create a link that goes to your website.
- You are ready to make it public and here is where you need the help from your church because the video needs to have some views to rank, especially in the first 24 hours. It is a great idea if you have a group of people who agree to help with church outreach by watching videos that are put up. If you have an email program create a list and add everyone who agrees to that list. Then email them the link once the video is up and live. If you don’t yet have this list post the video on Your churches Facebook page and ask people to watch the video.
- Hopefully it will start ranking now only in YouTube but also on Google.
- You can also advertise the video on YouTube. You’ll need a Adwords account but the link will walk you through that. If you want to know more about how to get views on YouTube take a look at the video below. I have taken several of James Wedmore’s courses and he gives practical information that has value.
Advertise on Google
Finally you can advertise on Google. It is the reverse of Facebook advertising. Using Facebook you find people who match your demographic and then show ads to them. With Google you put your ad in front of people who are searching for specific keywords. I’m not going into a lot of details here because I think there are better ways to reach people for Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats but if you have the budget (you get to set it) and want to try advertising here is a quick guideline.
- Find the keywords that people are looking for. You’ll need an Adwords account and when you log in click Keyword planner tool on the top right hand side. You can then search for keywords and see how many searches are done nationally. Keywords that you’ll probably want to target will be: Alternative Halloween, Halloween events, Trick or Treat events, Trunk or Treat, What’s happening in city. Make sure when you create an ad that you tell it to only show up in your area. You don’t want to pay for ads that are showing up thousands of miles away.
Other articles you might want to check out
- How to use Facebook to grow a church
- Ideas to promote Trunk or Treat (2014 still lots of good ideas and we updated it for 2015)
- 7 top ideas for creating a Trunk or Treat that reaches children with the Gospel
- Ideas for setting up a successful Trunk or Treat
If you have ideas or suggestions, write a comment. We’d like to know what other churches are doing to reach others with the Gospel during the Fall and check out some of the amazing tracts that are available from Memory Cross.
Memory Cross has a number of Gospel Tracts for Halloween available. Check out the video, visit our site or if you prefer you can buy on Amazon.
We have a new card we would like to ask your opinion about before we go to press in a couple weeks. This card is designed to teach children ages 4 to 10 John 3:16. It will be available in NIV, KJV, Spanish and maybe Haitian if we get enough requests. It can also be translate it into any language with an order of 250 cards and at least 3 weeks notice.
Today were asking for your opinion on symbols, which will remain the same between the translations. I’ve had a few people write about why we ask for input. We talk to people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who give us input which we never thought about. We don’t guarantee we’ll make the changes but we do read and discuss every suggestion.
The question that we want to know is do the symbols make sense and are they the best ones to use or are there others that we did not think about? Our hope is that adults will not only help children learn the verse but teach the meaning of the symbols which will reinforce this verse.
The potential use for this John 3:16 card are many: mission trips, VBS, teaching children John 3:16 during Sunday School, Children’s Church or used in a children’s worship bag. It could also be used as a goodie for Trick or Treat and children in the Awanna program learn John 3:16 as the first verse.
Here are the four panels and if you prefer you can click here to download a PDF of each panel.
Thanks for leaving your comments in the section below.
I’m departing from my normal writing to tell you about a new product we have developed around the Memory Cross design. They are wedding coasters and favors which are unique among all the coasters and favors available for weddings today.
We used the unique Memory Cross origami design, printed it on coaster paper, known as beverage board or blotter paper, and added four images which are personalized for each couple. Here is a picture of one of the cards we’ve developed.
Wedding Coasters Video
We also put together a video that showcases these unique wedding coasters.
Delivery will take a couple weeks and we’re planning to make them available on the Memory Cross website, Amazon, WeddingWire, Ebay and we may also list it on Etsy. Free samples are also available by clicking on this link. We’re excited at this new creative use for Memory Cross cards. People all across the world are constantly finding new ways to use this unique design. We’ve also created a few wedding invitations using the 4 x 4 coaster size or the larger 6 x 6.
Creating this coaster is simple. Just visit the site and upload the four images that you wan to use. Within a couple days a proof will be sent to you electronically. If you are looking for a wedding favor that your friends and family will remember order a free sample so you can evaluate this coaster for yourself.
Let us know what you think?
Things to bring on a mission trip
Going on a international mission trip can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life, but preparation can make the difference between a great experience and a nightmare. Every country is different and the situation within a country will also vary significantly. If the mission trip you are going on is sponsored by an agency that operates multiple mission trips during the year they should have a specific list of items you will want to bring as well as what you need to do to prepare for the trip. Here is my general list of the 30 most important things to bring or prepare before going on a mission trip.
- Passport – Okay I thought I’d start with the obvious but you would be surprised how many people get ready for a mission trip out of the United States and don’t think about a passport. One thing people don’t realize is how long it takes to get a passport. Normal service is 4-6 weeks and expedited, which costs $60 more takes 3 weeks. You can also drive or fly to Washington DC and get one in 24 hours. I know of one person who totally forgot about her passport and ended up taking this route. Here is the link to more information on getting a passport. Even if you have one, check and see that you know where it is and that it is still valid at least 6 weeks ahead of time. You don’t want any last minute surprises with your passport.
- Clothes – Make sure they are appropriate for what you will be doing, for the temperature and for modesty. Find out if you are going to be attending a church service because you will want to dress up for the service. Contemporary casual is not nearly as popular in most other countries.
- Shoes – I recommend sneakers or other shoes that cover your entire foot. Don’t bring new ones, especially if you are going to be standing or walking most of the day. Something that is comfortable will be very important.
- Vaccinations – You’ll want to make sure you are properly vaccinated for any diseases or infections in the country you are traveling in. Luckily the CDC provides a quick easy way for you to make sure you are getting the right vaccinations. Just click here and enter your country and that you are going on a mission trip. It will provide you with a list that you can take to your doctor. Don’t wait to the last minute. Some shots take time before they are effective.
- Bring something for diarrhea. Contaminated food and water are the two biggest threats to your trip. First be careful what you eat and drink. Even bottled water can be contaminated in some countries. Over the counter prescriptions include: Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, and Kaopectate.
- Personal items including shampoo, soap, tooth paste, tooth brush, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Females should bring feminine hygiene products since what is available varies from country to country. Buy TSA approved sizes, put them in a plastic bag and put it toward the top so you can get it out easily if requested.
- Personal medications. Keep them in original bottles and check with the country you are going to about any restrictions. You don’t want to spend the night in the local jail for drug dealing!
- Sunscreen preferably in a spray bottle.
- Bug spray with Deet or Mosquito Repellant Wipes.
- Benadryl or a good antihistamine
- When you are at the doctors ask for a prescription of Cipro. Friends who are doctors and go on mission trips say they would not leave home without it.
- Money belt that you can wear underneath your cloths that can also carry your credit card and passport. Unfortunately some people love to see tourists loaded down with purses, cell phones, iPads and cameras. Best to keep your most important documents as safe as possible.
- Cash – new and in $5, 10 and 20. Most places I’ve been to accept MC or Visa in the markets and you can usually exchange dollars at the airport, which probably has the best (fairest) exchange rate.
- Copy of your passport that is kept either with another person traveling with you, in another location besides where the original is or even online if you will have internet access. Dropbox or Evernote are both free services where you can keep all your important documents. Even if you won’t have internet access it is likely that you could find it someplace.
- Medicine for motion sickness. There are many. Here is a link to WebMD.
- Camera/Video recorder. It depends where you are going as to what I recommend. If you have a smart phone that will probably work okay. If you are going to be taking pictures of kids who will want to see the photos I probably recommend bringing something different. Something small that does not cost a lot and that has a memory card that you can change out daily. I was in the DR one time and a kid took my camera. It happened in a second and he was gone. Luckily justice is swift in the DR. The police and our off duty police officer found who stole it, put a couple assault rifles to his head and asked that he return the camera. He was told the camera or your life! I’m glad he decided wisely. In 30 minutes I had it back but he did manage to erase all the pictures I had taken for the day. Luckily I had been swapping out memory cards so I only lost one day.
- Bathing suit – I know it goes with clothes but it is very possible you’ll find some place to swim.
- Shower shoes. I know women are pretty good about this but if you are not staying in a hotel room even you men who are reading this list should consider bringing along a pair of flip flops.
- Adapter for your power accessories. Not all countries have the same plugs that we have and it will be easier to find the right adapter in the United States than when you are on your mission trip. If you don’t know what type of power adapter to take here is a complete list by country.
- Neck pillow for plan or bus. Not necessary but you know you want to bring one. If you have a long trip makes for better sleeping.
- Antibiotic cream in case you get a cut.
- Basic first aid kit. If you are going as a group either create one central first aid kit or have 10 people bring a few of the basic items. The American Red Cross has a list of items that they recommend that can be found on their website.
- Travel insurance – Check with your health provider to see if you are covered in the country you are serving in. Travel insurance also has several other benefits. We’ve included a link if you would like to learn more.
- Language translator. If you have time learn basic words in the country’s native language. If you have a smart phone translation apps like Google translate are available and can be downloaded locally onto your phone which is handy since you probably will not have high speed internet connection. (But you never know. I’ve been out in the country surrounded by fields and houses with no power and come across a internet cafe run by generators!)
- Water bottle which you can use on the trip and while you are there. Please make sure you have found safe drinking water.
- Earplugs or headphones depending on your power situation. Different beds and noises may make sleeping difficult or you might be so tired you could sleep through anything!
- Zip-lock bags. Pack a extra 4-5. You’ll probably find uses for them and they take up no space in your luggage.
- Bible. Actually if you have a smart phone I recommend the Bible App. It is 100% free, can be downloaded to your phone or tablet and probably is available in the language of the country you are traveling to.
- Gospel tracts or some way to share the Gospel, especially if you are working with kids. I’m biased since I am partners at Memory Cross so if you have other suggestions write them in the comment box. This is why I like Memory Cross. They have an origami design that catches kid’s attention and are in black and white so bring along pencils or crayons and let the kids color them in. They present the Gospel in Spanish/English or Haitian Creole/English on the same card so kids not only hear the Gospel in their native language but they can also learn English. Order a free sample and see for yourself. Just click this link. I gave you this link even though you might not work full time for the church but we’ll pick up the freight using this link.
- Prayer/Attitude. Pray before you go, pray while you are there. Don’t be upset because your careful plans don’t go the way you thought. God is working through your efforts to reach others with His love. Look for God working. Open your heart. Realize that many countries do not operate on “American Time”. Things will get done. Be patient, love others.
Short term mission trips can change the lives of the kids you meet as well as your own life. Memory Cross supports a Medical center outside of Barahona Dominican Republic and a orphanage in Barahona all because of my first short term mission trip to the region. We’re helping to set up a support network that will allow more homeless children to have a safe place to live and know of God’s love with a goal of housing 100 kids. Presently there are 40 kids.
Before my first mission trip out of the country I looked at it as an inefficient use of funds. After all we could pay someone who is already down there to reach others. After my first trip my opinion was totally changed. If you are in doubt, go. If your heart and mind are open I think you will find it life changing.
I put together this list of 30 things to bring on a mission trip with the help of advice of friends who have been on a number of mission trips. If we missed anything please let us know. I put together some of my favorite photos from a few of our trips to the DR.
If would like to check out Mission trip Gospel tracts by Memory Cross click this link. The video below shows how all of our tracts work.
If you found this list of 30 things to bring on mission trip useful let others who are going on a mission trip know and if we missed something add it to the comment box. Copy the address at the top of your URL or click the share button.
Jesus said: “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” – John 4:35 NLV.
How to Share your Faith
When the early Christians came to know Jesus they did not go to Evangelism class or get their divinity degree. They did not have to. They were excited about the change God had made in their lives. They were excited because the Holy Spirit had come into their heart and given them a new life and it was something they had to share. We get excited also. How many vacation pictures on Facebook have I seen this summer, all sharing the excitement of a chance to get away, or pictures of kids or grandchildren, of baseball games and music festivals?
We still want to share our life with people who we have a relationship with. Jesus said look around, the fields are already ripe for harvest. Of all the good news and fabulous vacation photos, the best news we can share is that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. Share what God is doing in your life, that is how to share your faith. It does not need to be anything polished and don’t worry about what your friends or family might say. If God has changed your life and you believe he can change your friend’s lives then share your faith.
It has never been easier. It might be harder in person, but online has opened up opportunities to reach thousands of people. I did a quick search on YouTube of “my testimony” and “how God has changed my life” and found lots of videos, some from people who had large followings but others who just wanted to share their faith. The video below has had 1,230 views. That is 1,230 times she has been able to share her faith.
If you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera can you write something on your Facebook page or can you upload a image to Instagram or post something on Twitter? You don’t know who is listening or who is searching but God knows. We are responsible for planting seeds.
Pray to God and ask Him what He wants you to do and then follow it. You never know where your efforts will take you. It is easy to reach people in the real offline world also. Do you go out to eat where a server waits on you? Can you leave a Gospel tract along with your tip? Do you have people standing on the street corners begging for food or money? You can make up a care bag that includes a Gospel tract. Can you give up a meal a month and send the money toward missions, either directly or through your church? You become partners in telling the Gospel.
The opportunities are truly endless if we just open up our eyes. Everything we do and spend our money on that is for ourselves will turn to dust but those things that we do for God? They’ll become rewards in Heaven. Rick Warren said we won’t be in Heaven 5 minutes before we wish we’d spent more time and money serving God and less on ourselves.
You don’t need a degree, you can start today. Read your Bible and share a verse that means something special to you and pray that God will lead you in other ways to share your faith. Comments, questions and resources are always welcome.
What does it mean to be a Christian and share your faith? Watch the video and find out.
Even the best Sunday School lessons can be made more exciting by adding videos. Kids today are immersed in multimedia: TV, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix… In order to keep their attention during Sunday School why not add a video or two?
In this Internet age it is easy to add a few videos to your Sunday School lesson for free and today I’ll show you how. I have always tried to reach kids using media. In the past I’ve used songs and videos on VHS tapes and cassette tapes, if you remember what they were. The problem back then it was hard to find resources that were not supplied with the lesson. There was no internet or Google. Now everything has changed.
The internet and YouTube in particular have opened up almost an endless supply of videos that are available instantly on almost any topic. For example this week I’m teaching on Exodus 1:1-2:0, which FaithweaverNow has titled God Protects Moses. The passage talks about Joseph’s family coming to Egypt and how they greatly increased in numbers over 400 years. Chapter 2 talks about the birth of Moses. Group Publishing has done a great job giving us a lot of ideas for this Sunday School lesson, but I wanted to add a couple videos.
I did a quick search on YouTube for “Exodus 1” and found number of videos that I could use. Here is one example.
I then searched for “Exodus 1 Kids” which yielded another set of videos. Here is one of the results
You’ll find videos for younger and older children, youth and even adults. Here is one for older children. It is 3 hours so you would want to only show the first part of the video.
The Sunday School lesson in Faithweaver is mostly about the birth of Moses so I also did a search for birth of Moses, which yielded more results. Here are a few.
There were many more than I listed here, but as you can tell there are a number of videos available to help children learn about the birth of Moses.
TIP: When searching for videos think about various terms since some yield better results than others. Try searching for the Bible verse as well as any subject the verses might be covering. Also try adding children or kids to the search if you are getting results that are to mature for your Sunday School class.
Other potential videos for Sunday School
You can also find videos that share personal testimonies of the topic. In the example of God watching over Moses I might use a video that talks about God watching of you. A quick search on YouTube gives me several videos that might work, one of which I included below.
The point of this Sunday School lesson on the birth of Moses is that God will protect us. Faithweaver says: “But trying to understand how God protects us is kind of like trying to understand an entire scenario by looking at only one small part. We can draw pictures and explain what we see happening right now, but it’s hard to predict what God is going to do in the next frame of our lives, especially when we’re facing difficult or even dangerous circumstances. All we can be sure of is that God is able to protect us and we can trust God no matter what we face.”
A video can be a good way to make the connection between a Biblical story and the practical application for our life.
There are two personal testimony channels on YouTube that I use a fair amount. They are Ransom TeeVee and I am Second. The video below is one from Ransom TeeVee. I wanted to tie God protecting Moses to God protecting us and the video by Jamie Grace will help me do that. She is a Christian artist who faced challenges growing up (like Moses) and she talks about how God worked in her life.
One other person I want to mention is David Bowden. He has a number of very creative YouTube videos that you might find useful in sharing the Gospel with kids in a unique way.
So you found a couple videos to use, now what?
If you have a laptop and the church has internet connection (something still rare among most churches) you are set to go. If you have laptop but not internet connection you can download any YouTube video to your hard drive. At the top of your browser you’ll see the URL of the video that will look something like this:
To download the video put “ss” in front of youtube. Your browser will look like this: https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=45UluS20Y. You might get a warning about security issues but it is safe. Here is the page you’ll be taken to. The video will change depending on what video you are downloading.
Once you download it you can click on the video and watch it whether or not you have a internet connection. Once it is on your computer most computers allow you to burn a DVD. If you have a DVD player in your classroom, check it out ahead of time because not all DVD players read DVDs created by a computer.
Showing a video on a iPad
If you have a small group and an iPad you can use it to show videos even if you don’t have internet connection. The first thing you’ll want to do is download an app called Document 5 (shown below). Open up Documents and click on the browser on the left hand side. Go to You-Tube and search for the video you want to use, then add the “ss” in front of Youtube.
It will bring up the savefrom.net and allow you to download the video to your iPad. It should default to Documents/Downloads, select that then when you are done click on the documents link which is located on the top left and you will see the video that you downloaded. Click it and it will play on your iPad.
TIP: if you have small kids and are going on a trip and plan to use your iPad to entertain them, you can download their favorite videos. If your iPad has wireless it will still save your data plus make it play better and you won’t have to worry about no cell service.
If you have any comments or suggestions let us know in the comment box. Finally Memory Cross has a number of origami coloring cards that help children remember Bible stories including the birth of Moses. If you don’t know how Memory Cross works I’ve included the video below.
If you would like a free sample, click this link and if you’d like to see the card about the birth of Moses, click here. On this blog we write about sharing our faith and reaching out to others along with practical ideas on making Sunday School more exciting and ideas to grow your church. If that is something that is of interest to you, subscribe by entering your email address in the box to the right or left.