My kids were 1, 3, and 5 years old when I went on my first mission trip with Sweet Sleep in 2009. Since then, my entire family has grown as a result. My children learned that by being a “big boy or girl” while I was gone, they were being obedient to God’s calling for our family. And as my faith has grown and matured through years of working in a ministry, I’ve watched my husband grow as the spiritual head of our household.
If you’re not in the VBS teaching circuit, you may not know that a very significant part of our time and resources are invested in children in the United States, through fun educational programs for children, designed to teach about missions and giving. Consistently, we hear that Sweet Sleep was the church’s most successful missions offering ever. Beds are a tangible, non-threatening way to introduce missions, and subsequently, some pretty big concepts like poverty, disease, and injustice. We have amazing resources for churches, schools, and home use on our website that guide children through what the Bible says about caring for the orphan, and what kids can do to get involved.
When I travel, I often write little updates to my children. They’re educational and informative in an age-appropriate way, and they’re something I think a lot of our friends may like! In addition to the updates and content we share on our blog, I will be posting updates like these that would be great to share with your children.
I’m so hopeful that the work of Sweet Sleep can be a door God uses to introduce your family to the incredible blessing of missions!
My first Sweet Sleep Kids blog:
Greetings from Uganda! We are having a marvelous time ministering to sweet little children this week! Yesterday we gave beds to 225 vulnerable children. “Vulnerable” means these are children who have a handicap or other disability, or who are sick. The beds show them how very special and loved they are. Also, in the villages here, people don’t always understand the physical differences some people have. So when we give these vulnerable children something as wonderful as a bed, Bible, and a mosquito net, it teaches the community that everyone is wonderfully and very intentionally made by God (Psalm 139:14). And it shows the community that these children are of great, great value and worth! Also, for sick children or children who might have to spend their days lying down because of a physical problem, the bed protects them from malaria and other diseases that would be especially dangerous for them.
Today we gave another 300 beds to school children. As you can imagine, a bed is extremely important to school children! When they have a comfy place to sleep, they get good rest. And when they get good rest, they perform better in school! Also, children who are not protected by mosquito nets miss a lot of school because of malaria. Sometimes they get malaria every two weeks! All those absences make it hard to make good grades. Most of the kids who have received a net can go more than a year without getting sick with malaria again!
One of my favorite things to tell the children in Uganda is that kids in the US provided many of the beds they are receiving! I tell them how the US kids collect coins they find under cushions, or the allowance they get for doing chores, and excitedly give in order to provide the beds. Oh, they get so happy to hear this! It’s so special to these kids to know that children in the United States are the ones responsible for these gifts! These beds show them how treasured they are by those kids, and especially by Father God!