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Giving Kids a Hands-On
LHM gives children the chance to “travel” the world, experience other cultures, and learn how the Gospel spreads around the world, from the comfort and safety of their classroom or home. Outreach Experience

In 2012, Lutheran Hour Ministries started a program called Online Mission Trips (OMT). This program began as a way to share LHM's ministry work around the world, as well as provide an opportunity to teach students about different cultures.

Beginning in 2019, LHM evolved from OMT to a new program called Gospel Adventures. In partnership with Group Publishing, a leader in creating innovative children’s ministry resources, LHM gives children the chance to “travel” the world, experience other cultures, and learn how the Gospel spreads around the world, from the comfort and safety of their classroom or home.

Gospel Adventures gives preschool through middle school kids—and even some adults— associated with Christian schools, churches, and homeschools an inside look into the day-to-day lives of people like them around the world through music, videos, and fun characters.

“It was amazing to see God’s hand at work around the globe, and to ‘meet’ people in faraway places,” says Kristin Schmidt in Athens, Georgia. “Gospel Adventures helped our students connect and realize that kids in other countries are not much different from them.” They can see through the engaging videos, that children around the world share the same faith. Not only do participants get to see how people live and work in other countries, but also they get to see God’s work in action with examples of how they can share the Gospel through prayer and designated chapel offerings.

“With high-quality videos and engaging activities, the curriculum helps kids learn about life and culture from kids like them—but who live in another part of the world,” says Ashley Bayless, curriculum development manager at LHM. “Kids are constantly surprised by how life isn’t that different in other places around the world. Kids go to school, they help with chores, they play soccer with their friends, and yet life can still look very different: new foods, different transportation, and another language. One of the greatest similarities, though, is God’s love for all His children, no matter where they live in the world,” Ashley adds.

Depending on the child’s age, the program features two curriculum styles. There is an interactive curriculum for grade school-aged children and an online experience for middle school-aged children. The grade school curriculum is set up to be teacher-led and allows for interactions between the teacher and students.

Since the curriculum is so flexible, schools can decide if they want to implement the program in individual classes or if they want to gather all the students to participate in a school-wide activity together.The middle school option gives older kids a chance to dive into the culture at their own pace on the interactive Gospel Adventures website. Since the curriculum is so flexible, schools can decide if they want to implement the program in individual classes or if they want to gather all the students to participate in a school-wide activity together. Although many schools participate in the program during National Lutheran Schools Week, participants can download Gospel Adventures and use it any time.

Anyone can register their home, school, or church for the program at gospeladventures.org. The teacher or parent registrant will receive access to the teacher curriculum as well as access to the interactive webpage. Pre-recorded videos allow the instructor to determine the flow of activities based on the child’s learning schedule.

“My grandkids, ages 8 and 10, were visiting and we were limited on where to go during this pandemic,” shares Leigh Dalton from Clinton, Missouri. “I had seen ads for Gospel Adventures in the past and thought it was mainly for classrooms, but we decided to give it a try. I’m so glad we did! The videos engaged the children, and the teachers’ notes and activities brought it all together. My grandkids were very interested. It’s a great at-home resource!”

Over the last three years, Lutheran Hour Ministries took children on two Gospel Adventures, with the third adventure beginning in January 2021. In 2019, Gospel Adventures: Passport to Peru explored the South American country inhabited by 32 million people. Children took a virtual tour of Peru and met Peruvian children who shared facts and stories about Peruvian culture. 

Tuya the golden eagle led students on the 2020 adventure through Mongolia, demonstrating God’s vast love for us. Learning about gers and traditional Mongolian cuisine, Gospel Adventures: Go Mongolia gave students a glimpse of Mongolia from the comfort of their classroom or home.

For 2021, Gospel Adventures is heading on a Thailand Trek with the country’s national symbol, an elephant. Just like Passport to Peru and Go MongoliaGospel Adventures: Thailand Trek is a free resource available to Christian schools, churches, homeschools, and individuals across the United States.

As a way to support children’s ministry around the world, schools and churches can choose to collect donations from the children through chapel offerings or change drives. As a way to support children’s ministry around the world, schools and churches can choose to collect donations from the children through chapel offerings or change drives for LHM’s Global Kids Fund, which supports ministries similar to the one they saw during the Gospel Adventures program. 

Students at First Immanuel Lutheran School in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, participated in Gospel Adventures: Go Mongolia during Lutheran Schools Week in January 2020. In addition to participating in the educational aspects provided by Gospel Adventures, the students and congregation members raised more than $2,000 for LHM’s Global Kids Fund. Students raised money through coin crusades and competitions in various activities against other grades or classrooms. 

ThaiTrek elephant characterSince OMT began in 2012, children have donated over $200,000 to LHM’s Global Kids Fund. Gifts given to the Global Kids Fund during Thailand Trek will go directly toward LHM’s ministry work in Thailand. Every year for holidays including Christmas, National Children’s Day, and Valentine’s Day, LHM—Thailand conducts school outreach programs that reach between 3,000 and 5,000 children in schools throughout Thailand. During these events, LHM—Thailand staff shares the Good News with students and teachers who have not yet heard the saving Gospel message. In addition, each student who attends the event receives a gift package filled with LHM children’s bilingual booklets, a Bible story coloring book with a crayon or colored pencil, LHM mementos, and a sweet treat or cookie. A gift of $5.00 will provide a special gift package to one child. Donations can be made online at lhm.org/give or mailed to the LHM office in St. Louis, Mo.

ThaiTrek logoInterested in using Gospel Adventures in your church or school? Visit gospeladventures.org to register or to download the sample containing the first day’s curriculum to see what this program is all about. We look forward to going on a Thailand Trek with you in 2021!

Megan McDaniel is a communications specialist at Lutheran Hour Ministries. She reports on the impact of LHM’s ministry work around the world.

Photos courtesy of the author.