For years, Patty Blanton has brought missions to life for children in her church — Kiokee Baptist in Appling, Georgia — and three other churches too. She’s planned for weeks, enlisted volunteers and made elaborate sets to help the kids experience the country featured in the annual International Mission Study put together by national Woman’s Missionary Union.
“When we did Ivory Coast, we had this big outdoor market set up that the kids could go through and make crafts and have food,” Blanton said. “When we did Russia, we had a ballet dancer come, and we had a fireworks display.”
Sometimes she does it at her church, but most years she does it at her farm. But this year, because of COVID-19, she said that wasn’t going to be a good option.
“We felt like, all things considered, no one would be able to come,” she said.
But around the time that they decided to call it off, Blanton began to think of a nearby school that might enjoy the experience — Bettis Preparatory Leadership Academy, a charter school in Trenton, South Carolina. The school has around 80 students in first through seventh grades.
So on Jan. 21, Blanton took Mexico City to Bettis. A friend made a video for her to show the kids to teach them a little bit about the city — its culture, its people and its need for the gospel. Blanton brought in lunch from a local Mexican restaurant for the kids to enjoy. Another friend of hers came with her and coordinated the colors of a piñata with specific ways the children could pray for Mexico City.
And then, of course, they got to hit a piñata too.
“It was really, really good, and they appreciated it so much,” Blanton said, noting that even if they can hold the IMS study back at the farm next year, she’d still love to take it to Bettis too. “They were thrilled, and we thought it was one of the best ones we’ve done.”