When we came off the field I prayed that those experiences would stay with my kids even with their young ages and as time has gone by we continue to look for ways to serve as a family. Whether it is giving of our time or our talent to our local church, we encourage the kids to find ways to serve others. Feeding the homeless, praying for our city, saving up to give to missions, every opportunity counts. Each of our children needs to see life through the lens of someone else's situation and perspective.
Ways we are trying to cultivate gratitude in our home:
- A Bible is a luxury for some people. Every morning my husband does devotions with the kids and we pray for an unreached people group. They discuss if the people has a Bible in their own language and how many Christians if any are present within the group. Our youngest son, in his own prayer time took it heart and when praying even for our family members always asks if they have a Bible...the concept is reaching home.
- Christmas is for giving. At Christmas time, our small group gathered items for deployed soldiers and packed them into stockings to be distributed by another ministry. The children made cards thanking the soldiers for their sacrifices to keep us free. My son's class also collected and packed items for children in a village in the Dominican Republic that burned. For a countdown to Christmas we always make a paper chain with the names of people we want to pray for over the season. Each night we remove one link of the chain and pray for a family member, teacher, pastor, friend, the President, whoever's name we have written on the link.
- Make a change. I purchased a vintage metal globe bank similar to the one we used when I was a little girl in Sunday School. As we find change lying around the house, or in the car, we all put it in the bank and once a month our church does a collection and gives the proceeds to missions. Over the years our church has raised the funds to build numerous churches in Thailand.
If you want some really great encouragement on how to cultivate gratitude in your own home, check out Kristen Welch's new book here.