Coming This March

Here’s a quick look ahead to what we’ll be learning in Heroes Gate over the next few weeks:

March 2nd – Toddlers through 4th grade will be amazed as they hear how Jesus healed 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19). The lesson’s take-home point will be: “Tell others what God has done.” Club 56 kids will discuss the question: “What’s the Bible say about music?” – Understanding how the things we listen to can increase how temptation and sin sneak into our lives.

March 9th – Toddlers through 4th grade will learn the importance of “planting your roots in good soil” with the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:1-15). The lesson’s take-home point will be: “Do what God says is right.” Club 56 kids will talk about the question: “Would Jesus surf the net or play video games?” – Understanding how video games and the internet can provide ways for temptation and sin to creep into our lives.

March 16th – Toddlers through 4th grade will listen to the parable of the lost lamb and discover the unending love of God (Luke 15:1-7). The lesson’s take-home point will be: “God’s love is unstoppable.” Club 56 kids will look into “Should I be following or leading?” – Understanding how friends can influence us into temptation or sin and how we can influence them to make good choices.

March 23rd – Toddler through 4th grade will step into the famous parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The lesson’s take-home point will be: “You can love and forgive like Jesus.” Club 56 kids will discuss “How do I resist when my radar warns me?” – Understanding what influences in our lives will help us discern the sources of temptation and sin from all the influences in our lives.

March 30th – Toddlers through 4th grade will hear the cautionary tale of the rich fool and the importance of sharing what God gives us (Luke 12:13-21). The lesson’s take-home point is: “Be kind and give to others.” Club 56 kids will discuss the question: “Why doesn’t everyone go to Heaven?” – Understanding that sin separates us from God.

Connecting with Global Missionaries

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By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Did you know that Woodland Hills supports many missionaries who are spreading God’s love all over the world? It was, honestly, a little surprising to me to see how many missionaries Woodland Hills actually supports. I recently met with our Missions Department to find out a little more about our missionaries, and this is what I found out:

We at Woodland Hills support 25 missionaries on a regular basis: Twenty five families, individuals and teams who are spreading God’s love to those who might not otherwise get a chance to hear about Jesus! In addition to the 25 missionaries we support on a regular basis, WHC sends out short term mission teams to spread God’s love. Most recently, WHC sent a medical mission team to Cambodia this past January. This team saw patients and gave them need medical care while also leading some VBS activities to share Jesus with children in the area. On February 28, another team will be leaving to minister in Haiti!

What can your family do to support the missionaries from Woodland Hills Church?
1. Pray – Adopt a team or two to pray for on a consistent basis as a family
2. Write a letter – Send encouragement and let them know your family is praying for them
3. Financial support – Pray and, if God leads your family to adopt a missionary from WHC, support them financially

A list of our missionaries can be found on the Woodland Hills Church website. For more information or to find out how to contact or support a missionary, contact Laurie at lpreston@whchurch.org.

Teaching Kids to be Global-Faith Participants

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By Teresa Sayles, Children’s Curriculum Specialist

Woodland Hills Church

Our world is one that is connected as never before.  The click of a button or the tap of a screen allows us to relate to people across the globe in ways our ancestors couldn’t have imagined.  It’s never been easier to find out what’s happening in other parts of the world or to discover who or what situations could use prayer or help right now, and it’s never been easier to help your child realize the global impact their faith and actions can have in the lives of others thousands of miles away.  God calls each of us, no matter how young or old, to look for opportunities to share His love and good news with others.  Even at a young age, kids can become global-faith participants, sharing their faith and God’s love with others around the world as well as at home.

The first thing to do is to help your child develop an understanding of the broader world around them.  A child’s world starts out very small and, without meaning to be, self-centered, but as a child grows, it’s important to help him/her understand how words and actions can impact others, both positively and negatively.  And while it’s vital to teach children how to relate with, serve, and help those they interact with on a regular basis, it’s also important to expand their understanding of the greater world around them so they see how God is moving and working even thousands of miles from where you live.  Doing so helps them to think outside of themselves, recognize and search out the needs of others, and learn to give and live in a self-sacrificial way, just as Christ taught and lived.

Here are a few ideas to assist you in thinking and ministering globally as a family:

  • Pull out a map or jump on the Internet and find some maps or images to look at.  (Google Earth has free desktop software you can download that gives you access to some pretty incredible images from around the world as well as the greater universe.)  Talk about the different cultures and places people live in and what struggles and joys they might have.
  • Head to an ethnic restaurant and sample food you’ve never tried or make a visit to Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis (or a global-style market near you) and get a taste of what people and cultures are like around the world.
  •  Sit down as a family and watch a family-friendly movie or documentary that highlights or takes place in a different culture.
  • If you have an older child, do some research together on the Internet or at the library about a particular country or culture.  Take time to talk as a family about the similarities and differences found between your own culture and those you’re learning about.
  • Look for a way to donate to or volunteer with an organization that impacts those in need around the world, such as Feed My Starving Children or our current Love Makes Cents initiative at Heroes Gate.
  • Make a list of countries from around the world with some key facts about its people and each day or week, choose one to pray for as a family.
  • If you have any family or friends who grew up elsewhere, ask if they would be willing to spend some time with your family and talk about what it was like growing up in a different place and culture.

Kids have generous hearts, and when they begin to realize they can make a difference in the world around them, both at home and around the world, amazing things can happen.

Love Makes Cents 2014

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By Teresa Sayles, Children’s Curriculum Specialist

Woodland Hills Church

For several years now, Heroes Gate has taken the month of February to partner with our kids and families to raise funds for children thousands of miles away through our Love Makes Cents initiative.  In previous years, we focused on helping the Woodland Hills Partner Ministry of COFHED, serving in Lougou, Haiti, with various school and community projects aimed at enhancing lives, health, and education.  It has been amazing to see our children empty their piggy banks or do extra chores around the home or neighborhood in order to help kids they’ve never met have better, brighter lives.

This year, we’re thrilled to expand Love Makes Cents across the Atlantic to work with Nibakure Children’s Village, another Partner Ministry of Woodland Hills near Nyamata, Rwanda.  Founded by Woodland Hills attendee and Rwandan native, Floriane Blown, Nibakure Children’s Village opened in 2011with a desire to partner with widows to provide orphaned children in Rwanda with safe housing, a foster family, healthcare, education, career training, and, most importantly, hope.  It is their mission to create a self-sustaining model for caring for orphans and vulnerable children in rural sub-Saharan Africa.  Nibakure Children’s Village currently houses 19 orphaned or vulnerable children while also supporting the educations of an additional 11 local children.  Nibakure staff also work with the broader community by empowering local women in their work and assisting with trauma resources for a nearby high school.  Because of their rural location, they are off the local electrical grid, and, yet, they want to give their children the opportunity to use technology and computers to advance their educations as well as expand this training to adults in the future.  That’s where Love Makes Cents comes in!

This year, all donations to Love Makes Cents will go toward the purchase of solar panels for the children’s village.  With a full solar panel-powered electrical system, Nibakure Children’s Village will have its own self-sustaining (and green) power supply, enabling them to provide consistent technology resources for the children and staff at low cost.

How can your family help?  We will be handing out bank boxes on Sunday, February 2nd, in Elementary (Preschoolers can pick them up at a special table in the EC hallway) which the kids can use to store their donations.  More banks will be available this coming Sunday for children who were gone last weekend.  Children are encouraged to think of creative and helpful ways in which they can fill up the banks, such as offering to help with an extra chore or two around the house, talking to family and friends about Nibakure and how they want to help, selling (with parents’ permission) unwanted books to a local book-buyer, etc.  Donations are accepted all of February with our last day being Sunday, February 23rd (although donations will continue to be accepted through the first two Sundays in March).

We’re excited about this new partnership with Nibakure Children’s Village and can’t wait to see how the children and families of Heroes Gate show the generous love of Christ to others an ocean away!  For more information about Love Makes Cents, contact Teresa at tsayles@whchurch.org.  For more information about Nibakure Children’s Village, visit www.nibakure.org.