Virtual Vacation

"They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever."

(Psalm 112:9)

globeOne way that we please God is to share our gifts, prayers, presence, and service with the poor. While we are to help the poor in our neighborhoods, it is important to realize that even the poorest people in the United States are wealthier than many people living in other countries. Encourage your children to take a virtual vacation by visiting online a country where The United Methodist Church is involved in ministry and mission. Visit the "explore our work" section of the General Board of Global Ministries'website.

Choose a country from the list on this website. You will find three sections for each country (1) quick facts, which includes information such as population, the capital, and the currency; (2) extended information, including a country profile, history, a mission profile, and the General Board of Global Ministries' missionaries who serve the country; and (3) links to other resources about the country. A map of the country is also provided.

As children learn about a country and the mission work, encourage them to think of ways that they could support the missionaries and the country's people. The children could make bookmarks with a map of the country, some basic information about the type of missionary activity in the country, the missionaries' names. The children may distribute the bookmarks in the church or at vacation Bible school. Encourage the children to place the bookmarks in their Bibles and to use them as a reminder to pray for the missionaries and the people. The children might also enjoy preparing a bulletin board. The bulletin board may list information about the country and the mission work being conducted. The children may collect an offering or plan a special fundraiser for the mission work.

Finally, children can learn about several countries this summer. Set a goal of learning about one country each month. Virtual vacation will be an excellent way to help children realize the needs of others and God's blessings in their own lives.


Dear God, please help the people and the missionaries in (insert country name). Help me to remember to pray for them and show me ways that I can support their ministry. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  • What did you learn about your chosen country that you found particularly interesting?
  • In what ways are children in your chosen country like you? In what ways are they different?
  • How do people in your chosen country value money and possessions?
  • What are some of the needs of the people who live in your chosen country?
  • What are some ways that the missionaries minister to the people?
  • How can we support the missionaries and the people of your chosen country?

Janet Zimmerman is an ordained United Methodist deacon, who serves as Christian Education Director at Church of the Lakes in Canton, Ohio.

Posted in 2004.

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