Archive | October, 2011

Reformation Day FUN!

21 Oct

In honor of Reformation Day (that’s October 31st to all of you who don’t know — also known as Halloween, but WAAAYYY more worth celebrating), I’m going to post up some activities I had hoped to do this year. I’ve been working for several months trying to put something together, scouring the internet for interesting things to do to help teach children (our son in particular) about Reformation Day and heroes of church history in a fun, interactive, engaging way. Can I just say, I was sorely disappointed in the lack of creativity out there for celebrating Reformation Day, AND the lack of activities that would enable teachable moments.

So, since there doesn’t seem to be much out there, I’m going share my ideas. Feel free to take them and tweek them to fit your family and/or church. We will use some of these this year, but I had hoped to put on a mini-fair in our yard and invite several other families over to get a better idea of what it will take to put something together for our church as a whole next year. However, tight finances have ruled that option out for this year. So here’s my Halloween alternative.

Reformation Day Celebration: Featured Hero- Martin Luther

Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed The World

Station 1: As guests arrive, move them in to a room or area, set up with a desk and candle light and books to look like a “study”, where they will meet “Martin Luther” (some creative adult willing to dress up and play the part of Luther), and hear a book/story about his life. (I like Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed The World  by Paul L. Maier — you can find this on amazon.com. The pictures are good quality and beautiful, and the story is engaging. You can easily take the information and make it understandable for even very young children, if the actual book part is too long for them.)

Before sending everyone out to the rest of the “Luther” stations, introduce the children to Operation Christmas Child (we like to do the shoebox gifting every year), and explain to them that Luther did what he did, so that people everywhere could know who Jesus was. Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are special gifts for children all over the world that help Christians go and share the story of Jesus with them, too. Each family at the celebration will get a shoebox to fill with the prizes the children win as they go around the “Luther” stations. When they are finished with each station, they get to pick out a special “goody bag” of their own to take home, as well as the shoeboxes to finish packing for a special child.

You can order “Party Packs” from samaritanspurse.org with brochures to give everyone on how to put together a shoebox and ideas how to have a “shoebox party”. We choose to incorporate our shoebox party into the Reformation Day celebration, one because shoeboxes have to be dropped off early in November, and two, because this is a great chance to encourage children to do something for the sake of someone else (go around, win prizes to give away).

Make sure each station you set up is well stocked with a supply of OCC shoebox appropriate prizes that are gender neutral (oriental.com – Oriental Trading has a lot of gender neutral, OCC appropriate toy and prize items that you can buy in bulk at low cost, or try your local dollar stores). That way, when the families go home, they can choose to designate the box for a boy or girl and fill it up the rest of the way with appropriate gifts of their own selection.

Also, before sending the children out, you can use the “story time” to introduce them to a Bible verse that covers the theme of your celebration. We chose for this year “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23. At each station, they can repeat this to the adult supervising before they get their turn. You may want to give them an extra prize each time they remember it correctly. By the end of the evening, they should be pros at having the verse you select memorized.

Station 2: Bobbing for Solas OR Fishing for Solas.

For this activity, you can choose to do a traditional apple bob (if your kids are at the right age to handle this), or set up a little fish pond with water and hooks or magnets on poles. A small kiddy pool works great for either of these. At this station, children learn about the 5 Solas of the Reformation — Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Christus (Christ Alone), Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone). I’ll leave it up to you how creative you are with sharing the truths these phrases represent. For the bobbing or fishing part, come up with a symbol (like a Bible, cross, fish, crown, etc.) to represent each “sola” and draw it on the bottom of 5 apples, or fish, or ducks or small floaty toys, whatever you use in the kiddy pool. Each child should get several tries to get an apple or other item to keep, but if they snag one with a “sola” symbol on it, they get a special prize in addition to what they “bobbed up” or “caught”.

Station 3: Pin the Theses on the Door

This is a variation of “pin the tail on the donkey”. You will need a large piece of cardboard tagged up somewhere and decorated like a castle door (I like to paint, so mine would be painted, complete with faux brick and wood grain). You will also need pieces of paper with “95 Theses” printed on them (see  http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/95theses.htm for a printable list)– you don’t need to list all of them, just a few to give the idea. The children will have heard about this famous act of Luther and the significance of it during story time. Now it’s their turn to reenact Luther’s famous protest. Don’t forget the blindfolds! Mark a spot on the “door” for a target (I’d like to paint a nail head on it), and send the blindfolded, dizzy kiddos on their way to “pinning” up their “theses”. The closest and second closest ones win a special prize to put in OCC shoeboxes.

Station 4: Printing Press Potatoes/Stamps/Sponges

This will be a little messy. Recap with the children the significance of the invention of the printing press to the Reformation (especially the distribution of Luther’s “95 Theses”). Then let them use precut potatoes/sponges and paint or designed stamps and ink pads (alphabets, fall leaves, pumpkins, whatever shapes you can think of to be creative with) to make “printed” pictures. They might even want to print a special note or design a special picture to include in the OCC shoebox. You may want to have “smocks” made up of old t-shirts, and water with towels/sponges on hand to help with clean-up and messy spills.

Station 5: Luther Rose Bowling

Luther had a special seal called the “Luther Rose” designed for him, representing key aspects of his theology and faith. The black cross in the middle stands for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The red heart around it shows that though the cross mortifies the flesh, it does not kill but brings life to the believer. The white rose stands for faith, love, joy, comfort and peace that grow in the human heart from believing in Christ’s work on the cross. The blue background stands for the Christian’s hope and delight in the coming joys of heaven. The gold ring around the seal symbolizes that the blessings of heaven last forever. http://cyberbrethren.com/2010/11/07/the-story-of-the-luther-seal-or-luther-rose/

Print off a copy of Luther’s Rose  and tape it to one of the bowling pins you plan to use — 2 liter soda bottles work well, or if you have a kid’s set of plastic pins like we do, use those. If you don’t have bowling pins, you can be creative and make this a can toss pyramid game instead. Let the kids have 2 or three tries each, to knock over the pin or can with the Luther seal on it. For each time they knock it over, they get another prize to add to their OCC shoebox.

Station 6: Hammer Hand Craft

Inspirational Hammer Craft Kit 

http://www.orientaltrading.com/inspirational-hammer-craft-kit-a2-48_9352-12-1.fltr?Ntt=hammer

You can order these as a foam craft from Oriental Trading, or make your own. If you want to supply plastic hammers for this, go ahead, otherwise you can cut a hammer shape from contruction paper. Make it big enough to fit an actual kid size hand, because you will be tracing each child’s hand and gluing it over the hammer. Add a cut-out of the verse “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Col. 3:23. Remind the children that Luther used what he had, pen, paper, and a hammer and nail for the glory of God, and it changed the course of history when he nailed up his “95 Theses” outlining the truth of scripture for the life of every Christian. They may be young, and they may not have much to use, but what they have, like Luther, can be used mightily by God for His glory.

Station 7: Mighty Fortress Cake Walk

 

Have each family bring one baked “goody” or something of the sort for the cake walk. Set this up as you would a regular cake walk, and use a recording of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Luther. Play the game until all the goodies are won. Each time someone wins, they are eliminated from the game. Adults and children alike can participate. The goodies are the prizes, so they won’t go in the OCC shoeboxes.

Wrap-up:

OCC_PackABox_Header

Have everyone bring their shoeboxes together, and collect all the leftover prizes from the activity stations. Let the kids pick any they would like to add to their shoebox gifts. Then ask each child to recite the memory verse they worked on all through the celebration, and if they are old enough, name one thing they learned about Luther that they found interesting. Then they get to pick a pre-made goody bag (few small toys/prizes and/or candy) as their special prize to keep as their own. Pray together for each family, and for the child who will receive their OCC shoebox this year. You’re done and hopefully, you had a fun and successful party celebrating Reformation Day! 🙂

Additional Idea:

If you have a way to set it up, you can offer a “family night” viewing sometime around Reformation Day, or even after the party, if kids are not too young, to watch the movie “Luther” together at your home or church. If you are going to do it in a larger setting, like a church-wide showing, check on copyright laws and make sure you have the proper approval to do so.

©2011 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved

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Persevering Prayer

20 Oct

A million thoughts were chasing themselves around my head this evening, but one stuck out in particular and I thought I would record it here. As I was putting laundry away in my husband’s drawers, a card on top of his dresser caught my eye. It was a birthday card from the senior ministry at our church. Just a nice little thoughtful gesture that he was being thought of and prayed for during this month, his birthday month. Something small, something simple. Something so profound.

It reminded me of cards we used to get several times a year on the mission field from a group of ladies who called themselves “The Richard Bartels Roundtable Prayer Group”. This group of ladies was from a church where my parents had worshipped and served prior to being called to the mission field, quite a few years prior actually. But when the call of God sent my parents overseas to Africa and several places beyond, a group of ladies gathered themselves together and covenanted to meet together to pray weekly for my parents and our family. Remarkably, they did this faithfully for the 26+ years my parents served in missions. 26+ years. That’s a lot of weeks. That’s a lot of prayers. I only had the privilege of twice meeting this remarkable group of women, but some of them assured me they had prayed for me long before I was born, and prayed for me daily since. Most of these dear saints are with the Lord now, but the few that remain still pray faithfully for us. You see, it became a habitual joy, one that after 26 years they aren’t willing to give up. You can’t tell me that those faithful prayers didn’t have a huge impact on my parents’ ministry or on my own life over the years, and still do. I wonder how many disasters were averted, how much the path of my life has been covered by peace rather than turmoil because some obscure, unknown lovers of God took it upon themselves to petition the Throne of Grace on my behalf.

Most of these women did not have the call to go serve overseas. Many of them did not have the means. But they had the hearts to serve and they gave of themselves faithfully, in the way they were best able to. Only eternity will reveal what kind of impact their lives had upon the Gospel across the world. I have a feeling, when it comes time to call everyone to account, these simple, faithful ladies will find themselves standing in a place of high honor at the table of the Bridegroom. Well done, good and faithful servants. You were faithful in little, I will put you in charge of great things. Come, share in the joy of Your Lord. May we so love Him, that we will be faithful in the seemingly insignificant things. Who knows what great Gospel work may be accomplished because of the prayers of just a handful of quiet, persevering servants who commit to be faithful for the long-haul. ~ Matthew 25:14-23.

©2011 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved

Waiting for Baby

15 Oct

Many of you probably know this already, but if you don’t, here’s our latest news. We are waiting Wellman Baby #2’s arrival in a month or so. Baby stuff is washed, James’ room is set up for a little brother to join him, and so in two weeks time we’ll have our doctor’s prediction of when she thinks it will be best to kick things into gear for Caedmon Harper Wellman to make his appearance. We are going to do our best to try for a VBAC this time, to avoid the need for future c-sections.

Next week is a small baby shower to commemorate the expected addition, and I’m happy to say, the registry lists at walmart.com, babiesrus. com, and cottonbabies.com are much smaller this time around! We still have to figure out carseat options, as we have one small car to share between us all, including Michael’s mom who has moved in with us. It will be tricky to fit us all in.

Other than that, we are hoping the baby’s arrival won’t interfere with Michael finishing off this semester of school, or my scheduled teaching for a women’s conference breakout session at our church the first weekend of November. Ha. Life is always interesting.

©2011 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved