I must admit to experiencing some frustration over the fact that our dining room/living room floor has consisted only of sub-flooring for a number of years now. Living in a large fixer-upper, projects are completed based on priority. While I dream of lovely flooring (well, any flooring, really!), there always seems to be a more pressing need when money is available. However, after returning from Mexico, to my extremely large home complete with heat, refrigeration, and running water, I wouldn’t dream of complaining about my lack of flooring.

Service increases our desire for outreach and vision for missions

For years, our family has helped provide education and nutrition for children: one child through World Vision and another through Compassion International. While I appreciated the necessity for these children to receive an education, my level of understanding was greatly increased by working in the volunteer preschool at Casa Hogar. Attendance at the public schools entails costs of $300–$400 a year for books, uniforms, and supplies. Most of the children I worked with will likely be unable to attend school, since their parents make only about $10/day. When there are several children in the household, it is impossible for parents to send them to school; thus, their options in life are greatly limited.

The missionaries at Casa Hogar (www.welcomehomeoutreach.org) are in the process of setting up a sponsorship program to insure that their preschoolers can continue their education. In response, I feel compelled to visit churches and share their story, in hopes of finding sponsors or groups that are willing to support these children. As I picture the faces of the children I worked with, I am filled with a desire to do more than simply send a check. Each member of our group was touched by different experiences and different needs, but I’m sure we all came home wanting to be a more active part of the solution.

Service provides life-changing experiences for our families

Prior to making this trip, I was largely unaware of the ample opportunity for family missions, having heard only of excursions by either adults or youth groups. I was delighted, therefore, to realize that places like Casa Hogar are open to anyone wishing to serve, whether individuals, families, or groups. In fact, when interviewing our hosts for this article (see sidebar) they mentioned that they felt homeschooling families were especially well suited to serve in their program and had been praying about how to make themselves known to the homeschooling community. I anticipate returning to Casa Hogar in a few years, this time with my husband and three youngest children. I can’t think of a better homeschool vacation than sharing such a meaningful, potentially life-altering experience together!

Christ has called us to serve one another as an expression of our love for Him, and travel is not a requirement. Spend time serving alongside your children. Serve in your church, serve in a homeless shelter, serve in a nursing home, or serve in your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter where—just serve, and serve together.

Dena Wood (who, since this writing, has an actual floor in her home!) is a mother of five and homeschools with her husband, John, in eastern Washington state. Dena is a partner in Trigger Memory Systems, creators of Times Tales and the Clean N’ Flip. You can visit their website at http://www.TriggerMemorySystem.com, or email Dena at triggermemory@charter.net.

Copyright 2008 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLc
www. thehomeschoolmagazine.com
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC
Reprinted with permission from the publisher