Week in Review: July 30 – August 3

My husband and I spent this last week in Clarkston, GA serving alongside Envision, a ministry of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. It was a wonderful to work alongside them as they seek to minister to refugees. The Lord spoke to us both and we are looking forward to the next opportunity we have there. I’m not posting many pictures for privacy reasons, but here are a few just for fun! 

Even though we are used to serving together in ministry, this was different. We served in different ways and with different roles than our “usual” which was incredibly refreshing. We laughed a lot, along with our other team members, and really just enjoyed one another’s company.
 This is me. I’m the one in pink. I’m whacking at weeds…
 This was not my favorite moment of the week. I had no idea what I was doing with the tool I was given. It was a beautiful reminder that we need to be willing to serve where it is needed, not always where it is the most comfortable. 

The girls spent the week with my parents and while I know they had a great time, we were all very excited to see each other again. We snuggled a lot when we got home!

Gospel Reset: A New Book Review Crew at NLPG review

Have you noticed that our society has changed rapidly? It seems that almost daily something new an different is the trend and it is hard to keep up. One thing that never changes is the truth of God’s Word. Paul talks about reaching others for Christ by determining how to relate to those around him in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Romans 12:2 then guides us to remember to be conformed to God’s will rather than the world’s. The pairing of these two ideas is the theme behind Ken Ham‘s new book from New Leaf Publishing Group, Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant.

Ham does an excellent job of outlining the reason for a change in how we take the gospel to our culture. In all honesty, reaching the lost has become a bit of a cross-cultural experience for those of us who grew up in solidly Christian homes. Where as the generation before me had a basic understanding of and respect for the Bible, my generation generally does not. 

The most insightful moments of how the culture has changed were the percentage graphs broken up by age. One of the reasons this really hit me was that the small congregation my husband pastors is generally older and we are often trying to answer the question why there aren’t more young people in the church. These graphics give a clear, visual understanding as to the shift in culture based on generational breakdowns. 

The conclusion is that we must reset our thinking and presentation of the gospel in order to meet the masses where they are, a place of very little knowledge or understanding of the God of the Bible. I think the greatest benefit of this book is opening the eyes of the generations who continue to lament the overall social change of the American landscape, but still assume the average person has a basic working knowledge of the Bible. This is simply not true. My one disappointment was that there was only one chapter dedicated to how to do this now. The information presented in this chapter was excellent and I agreed 100%, I would just like to have had more. 

I personally think this is an excellent tool for anyone within an aging congregation. The first step to fixing any problem is fully understanding the problem. The significant problem now is not knowing how to effectively share the gospel to a generation who has no working knowledge of the Bible. We need to know the Word of God so we can share it with the world!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the New Book Review Crew at NLPG in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Walking With the Waodani from Home School Adventure Co.: A TOS Review Crew Review

Home School Adventure Company Home School Adventure Co. is one of my go-to companies for solid biblical teaching resources which are affordable. Their unique content is always refreshing and a nice break when we want something different from our usual resources. The opportunity to review Walking with the Waodani was a great one for our family. Although we have not been called to full-time overseas mission work we are passionate about missions and passionate about teaching our children about those who have come before and trail-blazed through unbelievable difficulties, leading the way for what we call modern missions today.  Walking with the WaodaniThis unique study highlights the Waodani people now. I love this perspective because we get to hear about a first-hand account of a young man, Russel Green, and his journey to visit Ecuador and learn where the sacrifice of missionaries who walked the land before had taken this native tribe. While the target audience for this study is middle school, all of my children participated and they all enjoyed it! The girls and I worked alongside each other, but in addition to being an excellent collective-learning family study, I think it would also be appropriate for independent learners to complete on their own. 

We have previously learned about the missionaries martyred in 1956 and a little about their families who then went back to the tribes to tell them about the love of Christ. It had been a while though so we watched an animated retelling of this story. Because of the violent nature of what happened I felt it best to prepare my youngest as gently as possible. She still struggles with nightmares at times and while we do not want to soften the sacrifices made, this was a good way to introduce our learning time. I remember the first time I heard the story of Operation Auca when I was in college. I had just finished reading one of Elizabeth Elliot’s books. I learned what happened to her husband, Jim, and his colleagues, and was deeply moved by the desire of their widows and children to come back to the place where their husband’s were martyred to tell them about Jesus. These examples of faith are exactly who our children need to learn about during their studies as they are young. 

I love that this study shows the Waodani people currently and tells how many have come to find salvation through Christ. This study isn’t only about this people group! We also learned a lot about Ecuador geographically, economically, and socially. The images in this study are absolutely stunning! I printed the work pages for my girls and we used my iPad to look at all the pictures. They are vibrant and enticing. More than once my girls asked if we could visit Ecuador just because the pictures were so beautiful!   

Agriculture, food, and animal life are also taught. I absolutely love how seamlessly all of this information is woven into the story of Operation Auca as well as the eventual salvation and growth of the church there. This is such an incredibly rich study with so much information! The information led my girls to ask more questions about the region and we did even more research on things that peaked their interest. There were a few, “Ew!” moments as they discovered what the indigenous people of the land ate, but it was a wonderful opportunity to talk about respecting other cultures and how missionaries must often sacrifice comforts and desires in order to take the gospel to unreached peoples.  Rose, my oldest daughter has a strong desire to serve overseas as a teacher. When I first told her what we were going to be studying her eyes lit up and she revealed a huge smile! While I know God may shape and even change this dream, we try to encourage her even now by giving her opportunities to learn about missions. This study was an absolute joy for her and she couldn’t have been more eager. If you desire to include missions study in your homeschool this is a great unit study with which to begin!  

You can see a little more about the trip that led to this study here:


 You can read more from my Crewmates below!   

Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

If You Were Me… from Away We Go Media: Review

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Our girls have always loved learning about other places. We frequently have missionaries in our church and what my daughters are most curious when they visit is what the country where they are from is like. They want to know about the food, the people, the music, the clothes…just everything! I’m always on the lookout for resources to encourage their curiosity. 
Carole P. Roman and Away We Go Media has created a wonderful set of resources for children to explore other cultures. They are beautifully illustrated and give children an idea of what life is like for other kids all around the world. So far If You Were Me and Lived in… South Korea, If You Were Me and Lived in… Mexico, If You Were Me and Lived in… France, and If You Were Me and Lived in… Norway (link coming soon!) are included in the series. The first three books in this series are available for purchase on Amazon in two formats: Kindle ($.99 each) and Paperback ($8.99 each). If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway is $1.99 (Kindle) or $10.79 (Paperback). They can also be purchased at Barnes and Noble for $9.99 each with the exception of If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway which can be purchased for $8.63. They are geared toward preschoolers through 8-year-old children. My girls thoroughly enjoyed each of the four and enjoyed taking turns reading them!
AAEach book contains information about the language, customs, heritage, and  lifestyle. I loved the inclusion of various tourist sites as well as what children would do at every age. The girls snuggled up on the couch and took turns reaching through each title in one sitting! 
Something I liked about the cover was that the location of each country was shown on a globe. Many other books on other countries I have seen show the country’s shape or in the context of its neighbors, but I have never seen it shown on a globe. This world-wide view gives them a wonderful big-picture sense of location.
Beth’s favorite was If You Were Me and Lived in South Korea. She really liked learning about the variety of food. She also really liked the picture of the baby, which is why I think she most enjoyed this one! 
Rose and I really liked If You Were Me and Lived in Norway. We have good friends and neighbors who moved their a couple of years ago. It was a lot of fun to think about what our friends might be doing, eating, or seeing! 
I also enjoyed the inclusion of words from other languages. The girls are forever asking me what other words mean in different languages. I’m not very good at knowing those things, but these books gently introduce new languages and give children an opportunity to use context clues to decipher what they mean. 
While I haven’t had a chance to do this yet, I also plan on using the books in this series with our children at church during our missions meetings. We meet once a month and I have the opportunity to teach the children more about missions. I love how easily these will fit into the other activities I already have planned!
Take a minute to watch this preview of If You Were Me and Lived in Mexico!
Check out what my Crewmates had to say!

Seed Sowers: Review

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My husband is a pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. A. B. Simpson did not set out to found a denomination, but rather a movement of God’s people to pray for, financially support, and send out missionaries to further the gospel all around the world. Now, more than 125 years later, our denomination still views its primary purpose as spreading the gospel around the world by equipping its members within our nation at the same time as equipping our international workers abroad. My girls have grown up within this culture and deeply love our times with international workers and hearing about God’s work around the world. 

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We also love to teach them about those who have gone before us in this endeavor. Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures by Gwen Toliver ($13.95) from Seed Sowers is a beautifully written book. It is also available as a hardback ($30.95) and in an Kindle format ($3.99) which we reviewed. Each section focuses on a different missionary who is now retired and some of their adventures focusing around their work with translating the Scriptures into the heart language of the nations. I love Gwen’s perspective as a current translator with Wycliffe. It is clear she has a true passion and love for seeing the Scriptures written in the heart-language (the language they most relate to) of groups all over the world.

We have loved reading this together, especially on Wednesday evenings. Children are welcome in our mid-week service and stay in during my husband’s Bible study. During the prayer time I take any children there to a small room just off the sanctuary to pray with them. If there is time after our prayer time I will have been reading to them from Seed Sowers. This is often just our three girls, but they love it and beg for more! They are disappointed when the adults are finished with their prayer time because it means I’m done reading.

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Her writing drew my girls in and captivated their attention from the first sentence. I have aimed to read aloud more to the girls and this has been a perfect place to start. I have had to, “Read just one more Mommy!” more than once as my eager little sweethearts soak in the spiritual heritage of those who have gone before us. Rose has tried to sneak off with my Kindle to read ahead and Beth has been playing missionary as she pretends. Anything which brings excitement to my girls makes me happy. When it causes them to grow more deeply in their understanding of God and His work, it thrills me.

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I love that these captivating stories were written after the author was able to interview many retired missionaries. They are first-hand accounts and this is invaluable. So many books of missionaries are written from research. This is not necessarily bad, but using primary source material for historically accurate books is vital. As I read I watch as my girls are transported to jungles, islands, and other far-away places. I typically allow them to draw while I read. More often than not they are listening spellbound as the crayons and pencils lay unused on the table and eager faces lean in waiting to hear what comes next.

My favorite response from my girls came from Beth as we prepare for our recent conferences where two married international workers shared about their work in Russia. When I was telling the girls about the services we would be attending each night Beth twirled around the room and said, “I’m just so excited! It will be just like our missionary stories!” To hear my six-year-old proclaim her excitement over hearing about God’s work in other lands brought tears to my eyes and joy to my soul.

I can only hope there is a sequel to this book. I know there are so many more stories of God’s faithfulness as many before us made so many sacrifices to bring God’s Word to then nations.

Read more reviews from my fellow Crewmates!


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