By Jenny Stephenson
I’m excited to continue “Homeschooling Around the World” with you and your family. Last month we took some time to focus on missions at home in the United States. We are going to continue specifically looking at ways to have a mission-minded family. This month we are going to stay on the same continent and head south of the border to Mexico.
Let’s start by learning a little bit about Mexico. I would like to recommend purchasing a book calledOperation World. It’s a great book to have as your family starts to become more mission minded. Each country in the world is listed within this book with brief discussion topics, such as: key facts, religion, economy, ways God has been moving in the country, and current prayer requests for each country.
A few fun facts that I’ve learned from the book are: Mexico is Latin America’s third largest country; Spanish is the national language; Mexico has had a history of Catholic monopoly, however there has been a steady growth of evangelicals since the 1960s; and 60% of the population struggles with poverty. This is a small amount of information about Mexico, so it may be fun to head to the library to learn more as a family!
I’ve got a few ideas for your family this month to help you learn more about the work God has done and continues to do in Mexico to keep your hearts focused on this country in prayer throughout the month. I live in Texas and delicious Mexican food is everywhere, so one fun idea is to take your family to an authentic Mexican restaurant this month!
We also have a routine of eating the same meals a few days in a week. Sunday night is pancake night, Saturday night is pizza night, and Tuesdays are tacos. I’m suggesting that this month you join my family in making Taco Tuesday a tradition in your home, and make Tuesdays your day to focus on Mexico. It doesn’t have to be tacos every week; you could also include burritos or quesadillas. You get the idea. And just to get you in the mood for some yummy Mexican food, I’m sharing my Mango Salsa recipe with you.
Mango Salsa Recipe
• 1 large mango (or 2 small mangoes) skinned and diced small
• 1 can of black beans, washed and drained
• 1 cup of corn (can be canned or frozen, just drain the juice if it is canned)
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped small
• 1/2 purple onion, chopped small
• 1 bundle of cilantro, chopped small
• 1 tsp. lime juice (or more to your liking)
• 1 tsp. garlic salt (or more to your liking)
• Chop and prep everything. Then mix it all together.
• Devour with tortilla chips or eat with tacos
Another inexpensive and cute idea to get your family thinking about Mexico is to make tissue paper picado flags (see the picture above).You can make a large string banner of these and hang them up on Taco Tuesday above your dinner table. To make these, simply take colored tissue paper, cut to an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. Fold like an accordion horizontally and let your children round or zigzag the edges. Use hole punches or other fun punches, or treat it like a snowflake craft and use scissors to cut out small shapes. After cutting is done and tissue paper scraps are all over your floor and table, string up your picado flags.
My family also loves reading books together, and YWAM publishing has some great missionary books. These books come in all forms: easy readers, e-book, audio book, paperback, and they even have a Unit Study Guide with the book so homeschool moms can work this reading right into the school day. My family enjoyed reading Cameron Townsend, Christian Heroes Then and Now by Janet and Geoff Benge. Cameron Townsend spent much of his ministry in Mexico and other countries in Central America. Don’t worry, next month we will still be in Central America so take a couple of months to read this book if your family needs the time!
There is a great ministry called “Nana’s House” in Mexico. Nana’s House rescues orphaned children in Mexico, sends them to school, involves them in church, and teaches them a trade.
In 2008, the adventure began when Mary Jo Hansen started an orphanage to rescue hurting and abandoned children in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. There is an epidemic in Mexico of abandoned children. A child on the street is vulnerable to every kind of abuse imaginable. In addition, these children have never gone to school and a child without an education has no future.
Many of these kids are hurt beyond what we can even comprehend. For some of these children it takes years to see healing, but the staff has seen God transform shattered lives. They have also seen God’s healing power and unconditional love toward them. God writes an amazing love story with a destiny and future, full of hope and life, and surrounds these children with love who were once hopeless, hurt, and without a future.
Check out their website, like them on Facebook, and pray about whether this is a ministry your family could support.
Spend some time this month praying specifically for Mexico. Pray for the missionaries who are working to spread the Good News of our Savior in Mexico, pray for the people of Mexico to turn their hearts to God, and pray for Nana’s House. Pray especially that the Lord lead you.
With a few simple ideas your family is on its way to having a global outlook on what God is doing around the world. Get creative and add in more fun foods, crafts, and learning experiences for your family this month.
One final resource to share with you is a book called The Scarlet Cord, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus by Jon and Ann Dunagan. I love this book and I love the Dunagans. It’s a great read that clearly explains why missions work isn’t just for the missionary, but His call is for all. And the best part? Ann Dunagan is graciously offering the book for free to all of you. Use discount code: GOODFRIDAY to receive a FREE e-book edition of The Scarlet Cord: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus. The more we are aware of the world around us and the work that God is doing—not just here in America, but globally—the more we discover what a great God we serve!
Jenny Stephenson is married to Ben and currently the mother of three children. They are awaiting the arrival of two more through adoption later this year. She and her husband have a heart for connecting the stories of people in Third World countries with people here in the United States. Jenny also homeschools her children in Austin, TX. To learn more about Jenny visit her blog: www.vintageburlapbarn.blogspot.com.