[Ministry Spotlight] Merry Christmas in August

As the new school year begins, Woman’s Missionary Union invites you to participate in a simple and easy project that allows your association, church, or missions group to support North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries with “gifts” for their specific ministries.  Christmas can never come too early for our NAMB missionaries!   

Be creative and decorate the fellowship hall or a hallway in your church with a Christmas tree and lights.  Plan a time for items for the missionaries to be brought to the church for packing.  Celebrate together with Christmas cookies and hot chocolate (even if it’s 100 degrees outside) and pray for the NAMB missionaries who will be receiving the items.  In addition to sending boxes to the missionaries, encourage everyone to pray about giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering that helps support our NAMB partners.  Prayer is the fuel for spiritually sustaining missionaries in places where the gospel is greatly needed, but often opposed.  (The official date of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is the first Sunday in March through the second Sunday). 

Each year WMU® and the North American Mission Board partner together to create a list of missionaries to participate in Christmas in August.  Each missionary provides a list of items they need for their ministry, and individuals collect items and send them back to the missionaries. 

In many circumstances, our NAMB partners are working in inner-city areas where there are children with great needs.  Often, the children and their families are dealing with the reality of poverty. 

To help missionaries meet the needs of their communities, consider these suggestions as you put together your Christmas in August care package. Find the list of Christmas in August missionaries at www.wmu.com/christmasinaugust.   

Make this project a missions-learning experience for your church.  Research information about the culture and location in which the NAMB missionaries serve in the United States or Canada.  Brainstorm with your church members how the items the missionary requested could be used effectively in ministry based on your knowledge of their work and location. 

Every item you send to a NAMB missionary will be used to meet a physical need that may also open the door to meet a spiritual need.  Once you have collected items to donate, pray over the items for the Holy Spirit to open the door to a spiritual discussion.  Include a letter of encouragement to the missionary in your package that is signed by your children or youth. 

Over the past few years, NAMB missionaries who received Christmas in August gift boxes reported that their ministries were greatly enhanced by the contributions.  But more, their hearts were greatly touched by the generosity and prayer support from Southern Baptists. 

Pastor Tom Anderson in McAlester, Oklahoma, received gifts that were used among five Indian associations in eastern Oklahoma. 

John Ashworth, associational missionary in Savannah, Georgia, said, “We received enough soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toiletries to supply a small army.  When you add crackers, cookies, snacks and prizes, we found ourselves prepared to touch the people of the Savannah Baptist Association with the love of Jesus.”  Savannah ministries include a seafarer’s outreach, a multi-housing ministry, camp ministry and seven language mission churches. 

Missionaries always need our prayers and support to continue their important Kingdom work.  Help spread the word about Christmas in August so NAMB missionaries can receive the supplies and items they need to continue their ministry work and serve the people in their communities.  Grow the missions IQ of your church by leading preschoolers, children, youth and adults to learn about, pray for, and give to support our North American missionaries. 

Adapted from national WMU® website www.wmu.com.   

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