Countless refugees around the world often cope with adverse weather conditions and inadequate shelter as they navigate hostile environments or endure crowded refugee camps.
Inclement weather during Kiokee Baptist Church’s recent International Mission Study (IMS) gave dozens of children an impromptu lesson as they splashed from tent to tent amid a steady downpour.
The wet, rainy Saturday morning failed to dampen the impact of the refugee missions study attended by almost 100 children and leaders from seven area churches.
As they gathered at Pine Knoll Farms in Appling, Georgia, the children learned that refugees generally need such basic necessities as food, shelter, blankets, shoes and medicine as well as the gospel of Christ.
Providing area youngsters a hands-on glimpse of missions has been a key focus for event organizer Patty Blanton for years.
Blanton, who taught Girls in Action (GA) at Kiokee Baptist Church when her own children were young, has continued to coordinate the church’s annual IMS.
Each year Blanton and other volunteers spend weeks planning and transforming her farm into the featured country or people group being studied.
“I just really love doing it,” Blanton said. “I want to make it an experience and not just going to a study and learning about a country. I want them to kind of feel some of it.”
Planned hot air balloon rides for the children were scuttled because of the weather, but the rest of the morning went on as planned. Organizers even moved the rented balloon’s gondola into Magnolia Barn for the children to climb into and pose for photos. They also received paper hot air balloons to take home that had adorned the barn for the study.
Affirming the impact on the children who participate in the missions study, volunteer Susan DeFoor said, “I think it’s really, really important for them to get it at an early age and to understand about missions and missionaries and not just what they do, but how they themselves can be a missionary. We talk about that. We try to make it personal. We try to talk about it in a way that makes it so that they can apply it to their lives.”