This week on the podcast I am joined by my dear friend, Debbie Smith. She inspires us to look for opportunities to impact our children and others through volunteering. CLICK HERE to listen to episode 101.
Volunteering is an opportunity to Impact those who need help AND impact our kids' heart, character, and life skills. The amount of confidence, flexibility, humility, determination, resilience, compassion, empathy, work ethic, communication skills, and more are all improved when we teach our kids the value of volunteering.
Next week, is part 2 of our series on Being a Blessing. I'll be joined in the studio by Becca Hammond. Her message - even busy mamas with limited time and energy can find some simple ways to give our children a lifestyle of hospitality.
Then in the third week of Being a Blessing, I will will talk about Being a Blessing AMONG SIBLINGS.
Now let's take a look at the following insight that Debbie has pulled together for us intentional moms as we look for opportunities to impact!
Impact Through Opportunities ... a guest post by Debbie Smith, my dear friend and fellow intentional mama. THANK YOU, DEBBIE, FOR PUTTING TOGETHER THE FOLLOWING IDEAS & INSIGHT FOR US!
Our Part as Parents: Provide opportunities through our home
Providing a Christian home that includes praying regularly, Bible times as part of our homeschooling, and plenty of love.
Her Part: Learning to obey and listen.
Our Part: Opportunities to attend VBS and church camps
Taking her to Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) and church camps where she could hear more Bible stories and learn more about Jesus.
Her Part: Listening to the stories, and also observing the counselors, teachers, and adults.
Our Part: Opportunities through volunteering
Teaching her through volunteering that there are others around us in need. She helped deliver meals and a smile once a week for six years through our local Meals on Wheels program. School had to be lighter those days but it was well worth it.
Her Part: Learning to show the love of Jesus by being His hands and feet. Learning not to complain (even in bad weather, if we didn’t take them their meal they may not have anything to eat that day). Making holiday gifts and making friends with the recipients.
Her Part: Seeing a need and wanting to help
When she was 11 years old she heard about a young lady we had never met who was fighting cancer. She wanted to send her money to buy a certain new Christian song that she thought would encourage her. God kept this young lady on my daughter’s heart and eventually my daughter held two dog washes (yes, washing dogs for donations) and raised $2,400 to help with medical expenses for this young lady (they finally met at the first dog wash).
My Part: Being supportive, and helping her determine how she could get the money for the song and a card to this young lady. Promoting the dog wash (it ended up one the local Christian radio station, KXOJ, found out and even did a phone interview and encouraged people to bring out their dogs).
Her Part: Deciding to use her birthdays to help others
Realizing she didn’t need more things and others were in need, she decided to use her birthday party to help. For her 14th birthday she invited friends to bring their “present” money and they teamed up and shopped for Operation Christmas child shoeboxes. It was such a success and so much fun at the end of the day she was already planning her next birthday fundraiser. For her 15th birthday they shopped for baby and new mom items and built goody bags to donate to MEND, a local crisis pregnancy resource center. She wanted to go even bigger for her 16th birthday so she invited even more friends to bring gifts and then they teamed up to visit and deliver gifts (3-4 gifts each) to children in the local children’s hospital.
Our Part: Allowing her to do these fundraisers and helping her to make them happen - even if they were outside my comfort zone. Support and encouragement in reaching out to others.
Our Part: Opportunities over the summer
When she was 13 we signed her up with her best friend to participate in Christian Youth in Action (CYIA), the summer teen program of Child Evangelism Fellowship. She would get to spend a good part of her summer with her best friend and be part of a summer missionary program. Little did we know the impact this would have on her life.
Her Part: To take to heart what she was learning about Jesus, how to share the Gospel message through teaching Five Day Clubs (like a mobile VBS - taught in churches, homes, day cares, and children centers like Salvation Army). Learning that she needed to rely on the Holy Spirit to help her so the children would have their hearts touched. To experience leading children to repentance and salvation in Jesus through teaching these clubs. (How exciting for a 13 year old to see lives changed through the Gospel! - Life-Changing for her as well!) She continued to spend her summers with this ministry for the next four years. When she was 17 she was a junior staff member and also did the team scheduling. She also helped teach a Good News Club, weekly Bible club in a Tulsa public school, for a year and a half.
Our Part: Opportunity in learning
By choosing curriculum that would challenge her faith and help her establish what she believes and to identify worldview in books, literature, and movies by doing Starting Points (by David and Shirley Quine) in her freshman year.
Her Part: Not to just blow it off as another school subject but to learn and grow through using it.
Her Part: Building a relationship with Jesus and a desire to serve Him wholeheartedly. She began to lead worship at church (and learn to worship herself) and write heartfelt songs about her relationship with Him. She began to nurture a desire to see other teens fall in love with Jesus. Learning how to listen to that still small voice to lead and direct her.
Our Part: Be encouragers. Listen, and not responding with any first impulse, but waiting and praying with and for her. God gave us peace that He was leading her to further her Christian education and be part of Children’s Ministry Institute’s three month training program sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Our Part: Support
To pray for her, help her as we can financially, pray with her for financial support, and be there to encourage her.
Her Part: To be dedicated to falling more in love with Jesus, to be stretched to grow more in her relationship with Jesus and ministry. To be present in the “now” for what God wants to do in and through her, but also to “study to show herself approved unto God” to better prepare herself for the future He has for her.
In this next section, Debbie shows some of the different volunteering opportunities she and her children participated in through the years. Her hope is that this may give you some ideas for your family.
Me: Read to a neighbor family as a young teen
Church (youth ministry, secretary/treasurer)
Coordinator - Homeschool book fair /helped in support groups
Meals on Wheels (started for my daughter but continued)
Rebekah, oldest daughter - as a toddler - took her to visit at the nursing home
- 10 years old- volunteer clothing ministry at MEND crisis pregnancy center (now Mend Medical Clinic & Pregnancy Resource Center
- As a teen taking care of an elderly lady from our church
Boys - Mend fundraisers (bowling, walk-a-thon). TV & radio programs to promote the events
- Christmas Carol crew (the big presentation downtown) (Stephen)
-baseball coach to younger boys team. (Andrew)
Jericah - Meals on Wheels - 10 years - 16 years old