Monday, June 20, 2016

A Guide for Growing Your Family's Heart for the World & a Giveaway

Before I was five years old I had the opportunity to sail down the Yangtze River in China, wander through the countryside of Spain, climb the dikes of Holland, and stroll through the old streets of Paris, thus setting me up for a love of this amazing world God created and the people in it.

Of course, if you actually know me, you also know that I wasn't born into a wealthy, traveling family, my father wasn't an international businessman, and we weren't missionaries either.
I traveled each of these places on my mother's lap as she filled my insatiable story appetite with books like The Story about Ping, The Story of Ferdinand, The Hole in the Dike, and Madeline.

These stories became a part of me. They connected me to peoples and places that I'd never actually been to and filled me with a curiosity and a wonder that left me thirsting for more.
They allowed me to learn from a young age that people the world over are just that: people.
Though everybody might not look exactly like me or dress like I did, they had families, and feelings, and hopes, and dreams, and stories just begging to be told.
Being introduced to those unlike me at a young age removed the fear that often comes with the unknown and uncommon, and replaced it with a respect for those folks I'd never met.

Fast forward a few years to the birth of our first baby.....
Carey was born in Ghana, West Africa. We didn't live in the capital city, but that was where the hospital was located where I would give birth. Two weeks before my due date we headed down to the capital to await her arrival. We had almost nothing for our new baby, so we'd saved our money and scoured the tourist guide book for places to purchase things. High on the list of baby needs was books. I couldn't imagine a home without any books in it for the new baby, so off we went to scour the few used book stores we had heard about. We found almost nothing. As we impatiently awaited our baby's arrival, we checked every little hole-in-the-wall book shop we could find. Nothing.
Then Carey was born, and the dear friend we were staying with came to meet our new baby.
In her hands was a small package, with the perfect gift for our firstborn child ~ books!
These weren't just any books, though. These were books about Africa, our newly adopted continent.
They were interesting, beautiful, funny, and poignant, in turn, and I was thrilled that this was the beginning of my children's library.

Since that day, we've made it one of our missions to collect as many books about our adopted home and her people as we can. In some parts of the world that might be simple to do, but it has taken a lot of commitment for us to do that here. Illiteracy is high in our country, and extra income for things like books is extremely limited in most families, so there aren't many books available. We keep hunting for and buying books about both Ghana and the larger Africa when we find them.
This continent is my children's home, and I want them to know and appreciate it through the stories of children like them.

Our book collection hasn't stopped with African stories, though.
I've sought to follow my mom's wise example, and I too have taken my children to China, Spain, Holland, and France. I've tried to open the wide world to them with atlases and maps and globes and books like Children Just Like Me, Hungry Planet, and Material World.
And I've realized that every time we share these stories and study these pictures and look for a spot on the globe, I'm opening my children's hearts to this world God created, and the boys and girls just like them that need to hear about Jesus.
I'm encouraging their little hearts towards missions.

I believe many of us desire for our families to want to reach out to others with the gospel, but I also think many people aren't really sure where to start. It seems too big, too complicated. It really isn't.
Start with what children love best: stories. With a bit of watering and some good sunshine, those book-shaped seeds will grow roots down deep into their souls.

Would you like to take a step down the path of sharing the world with your children through stories?The first guide I want to share with you this summer is a brand-new book called Give Your Child the World. Maybe you weren't blessed to have an amazing mama like mine who knew all the right stories to read. That's okay.
This book will do the work for you. It is packed full of stories for you and your kiddos to enjoy with one thing in common: the world! Jamie took five years to put together this excellent collection of children's books featuring stories from around the world. She has a chapter about each continent {her African suggestions are spot on!}, and includes suggestions for picture books for the littlest ones all the way up to meatier books for your older kids. She also includes several helpful indexes to help you make the best use of this book.

She is also hosting a summer book club based on this book. It's really easy to be a part, and she is offering a lot of really cool prizes.

So today I'm giving away one copy of this book! Anyone is welcome to enter this drawing, but if you want a physical copy of the book, you must have a US postal address. If you live outside of the US, I will happily send you a Kindle version. Just leave a comment here or on facebook, and I'll pick one happy winner on Thursday!

*The African books pictured above include The Coming of Night, Fly, Eagle, Fly, The Fortune-TellersKathy Knowles' collection, Atinuke's books, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, Jamela's Dress, Juma and the Honey Guide, and Anansi the Spider. 


  1. What a blessing it would have to share with my grandchildren! Thank you for your kindness!! What a great way to share the 'world' with your own children.

  2. I love reading your blog, and I think you should gather your "For the Days When..." posts into a devotional/missionary mama experiences book!

    Jael Campbell

  3. How fun! I love your collection of books! We brought 55 boxes when we moved here, 10 were boxes of books. 😀

  4. My parents introduced us to books as children, and through those books, they introduced us to the world. I had just miscarried again when we left for Botswana, but in our luggage was a few children's books, just in case God gives us a child while we're here. Because I too cannot imagine a childhood without books.

  5. Our family loves books too. Your collection looks great! We are especially fond of all the international stories. We use Sonlight curriculum, and they have lots of international and missionary stories. They are the best!!

  6. Please don't enter me for the giveaway as I am able to provide my own, but what a marvelous post this is! When we travel our grandkids "follow" us on the map everyday & these sound like wonderful resources to provide them with as they grow. Thank you for the information & God bless :)

  7. My husband and I are on deputation, and our family will soon be on the field in Central America. God gave us a heart for reaching the lost around the world, but we are still helping our 3 young children develop that desire. It does seem like a hard task - but this book sounds like an excellent starting point!

  8. We shipped books in a container when we moved to Africa. I must say though, I haven't considered adding African books to our collection. That is a good idea. Love your idea for a book give-away. ☺

  9. Hi. I would love to hear all about your Ghana books. Our family loves Ghana with all of our hearts. :)