Passports for Missions: Just for Fun & Just in Case!

This post is written by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan.

As passionate homemaking women, we love our Lord, our families, and our homes; yet at followers of Jesus, we also need His passion for the world, His kingdom, and the lost.

Have you ever considered traveling internationally, or taking a family mission trip?

When Hudson Taylor was only five years old he said, “When I’m a man, I mean to be a missionary and go to China.” This mission call grew, until as a young adult Hudson Taylor exclaimed, “I feel I cannot go on living unless I do something for China.” Years later, after a lifetime of renowned missionary service throughout Inland China, the veteran spokesman addressed the next generation as he pleaded,“The Great Commission is not an option to consider. It is a command to obey.”

I was eight years old when God called me to missions. As a little girl, the Lord “spoke” to me at a Christian family camp through Jeremiah 1:4-8 about going “to the nations.” At sixteen, I headed to Mexico on my first mission trip; as young newlyweds, my husband and I surrendered everything to go wherever God would call; and for over 22 years, our family has been actively involved, all across the globe, in fulltime international missions. We’ve ministered together as a family, in teams of two or three of us at a time, and as individuals. We’ve tasted strange foods, experienced fascinating cultures, and have seen – with our own eyes – some incredible needs.

We’ve always lived in the United States, but by God’s grace, His call on our lives has taken us, collectively, to nearly 70 nations on all 7 continents. We’ve dreamed some big dreams . . . and little dreams. We’ve rescued hundreds of orphan kids, established village churches, and made friends with our neighbors (and shared the Lord) during local soccer games. To our family, “MISSIONS” is not an extra-curricular subject or an optional supplement to our Christian life; living for God’s Great Commission is the central core of everything we do. Geography is more than a map and a textbook. World News is more than a “take-it-or-leave-it” headline report. Living with a mission perspective has dramatically impacted our our family, our parenting, and our life-purpose.

So as we’re thinking this month about various aspects about TRAVEL, I have a question to each Passionate Homemaking reader. It’s just a quick little question . . . but with BIG implications:

If you and your family want to be a part of God’s Great Commission (Matthew 26:19 and Mark 16:15 – to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”) . . .

DO YOU HAVE YOUR PASSPORTS YET?

Included in this article are instructions to make mission-minded “Passports” – as a fun craft project and learning tool. However, I want to motivate you to go one step further and to apply for “real” passports for each member of your family. In the United States, adult passports last for ten years and child passports last for five years. Even the “process” of applying for passports is a great educational experience . . . and who knows where this simple step could lead you, or what impact this small step could make in the future, and for God’s kingdom?

JUST FOR FUN! – Make a Mission-Minded “Passport”

As you child learns about various areas of the world, a fun idea is to chart this progress on a special Mission-Minded “Passport.”

1. What you need:

A printed copy of the MISSION-MINDED passport pages (here’s a PDF file of these pages), your child’s photo, scissors, glue, colored construction paper, blank white paper, yarn, hole puncher, clear packing tape, and stapler.

2. What to do:

Have your child cut out the passport pages along the dotted lines and glue these pieces to a passport-sized booklet (made from a half-piece of colored construction paper with blank white pages stapled inside). Add your child’s photo to the appropriate box, and for strength and durability cover the entire passport with clear packing tape. Punch a hole in the top left corner, and insert a piece of yarn or cording so your child can wear the passport around his or her neck. For fun, add international stickers or stamps (here are FREE printable country flags and stamps which work well with passports).


3. How to use this passport:

As your child learns about an area of the world, stamp the passport with a culturally appropriate rubber stamp, international flag or globe-oriented sticker, or a foreign postage stamp—all available at most teacher supply stores. This passport can be used to keep track of achievements, such as Bible memory or Bible reading progress, or to record a child’s personal prayer time as he or she “travels” around the world through intercession.

JUST IN CASE! – Apply for Official Current Passports for Your Whole Family

3 Reasons WHY you should get Passports:

1. You’ll be ready to go anywhere in the world, at a moment’s notice.
2. You’ll instill a preliminary attitude of willingness to follow God
– wherever He may lead – into the hearts of each member of your family.
3. You’ll open up a whole world of possibilities, as you pray and learn about different nations (with real passports ready “just in case”). It will change how you pray as you ask God where He may want you to travel someday, or potential mission trips He may want you to take.

3 Steps HOW to get Passports:

1. Print out passport applications (if you are US citizens, here is the US Passport Application site: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html. If you are Canadian citizens, here is the Passport Canada site: http://www.ppt.gc.ca/form/index.aspx).
2. Fill out the applications. Locate documentations and IDs. Get passport photos for each family member.
3. Submit applications at your local post office, with appropriate fees.

Even if your family is never called to fulltime foreign missions, it’s good to be prepared for the “possibility” of a short-term mission trip, an overseas emergency to help a friend or loved one, or even an international vacation. If you are willing to consider a mission adventure for any (or all) of your family within the next several years, I encourage you to quit procrastinating.

Get your passports!

Ann Dunagan is a longtime homeschooling mother of 7 (ages 9 to 23, with 3 graduates), an international speaker with Harvest Ministry, co-founder of two orphanages in East Africa (caring for over 700 children), and author of several books including The Mission-Minded Family. With a passion for the Lord and the lost, Ann motivates families for world missions.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

31 Responses to Passports for Missions: Just for Fun & Just in Case!

  1. Emilee Loeffler February 28, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    I love your post very much. Clap Clap… Hahaha

  2. Ashley September 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    I’m not a mom (I’m not married either!) but I definitely have a heart for missions. I recently returned from my first short term missions trip and it really confirmed God’s calling in my life to reach out to people outside of just the US! I am blessed to be in a relationship that is leading towards marriage, and my boyfriend and I both have discussed ways missions will be regularly integrated into our lives. I will be sure to pass this on to him and others, and should God continue moving us forward, I’m sure these materials will be a huge benefit towards having a family that has a heart for missions! Thanks so much for posting; this was a big encouragement for me when so many other young Christian women in their early 20s are hardly focused on having a family, let alone reaching the world for Christ! Even older women (not *old per se, like my mom’s age!:)) don’t completely understand it, but all I can say is that I wanna go full steam ahead into what God’s called me to do! :)

  3. Christie July 5, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Thanks for this great idea. My husband and I, along with our 18 month old son, are missionaries in Nigeria, and along with the newsletter we send to our family, friends and partners, we publish a children’s newsletter to help get children interested in missions. I would love to share your site and great ideas with them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ann Dunagan July 6, 2010 at 7:59 am #

      How exciting Christie!

      it would be an honor for you to share these mission ideas with your ministry friends, family, & supporters. And what a wonderful heart you have, to not only be ministering in Nigeria, but sharing a heart for missions with families and children!!!

      Blessings to you in all that God is doing in you and through you!!!
      Ann

  4. .ambre. June 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Great idea doing the homemade passport with the kids! I think even our three year old would get into it! Thanks for sharing your family’s story of obedience!
    .ambre’s latest post: And The Little Children Shall Lead Them

    • Ann Dunagan June 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

      Yes, ambre! We’ve made these passport crafts with even little kids. They like to see their picture, and enjoy putting in stickers and stamps!!!

  5. Cassandra Marie June 28, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    I love this post!

    There is a big need to have people step onto the short and long term……a need I am working on filling by moving to Kenya next year. I also believe it is vital for young kids to learn about Christ and how they can take the same Word they believe to the nations. From a great missions class I took there was a question that really hit me…”how will they hear?” After the powerful lesson the speaker asked us to answer the question he posed earlier. My answer just came out, the Holy Spirit used it as time to speak to me. I answered “they will hear because I will GO.”

    So young and old (you are never to old to work for the Kingdom) how would you answer the question…”how will they hear?”

    Thanks for the great post and fun craft idea. I look forward to reading more.

    working for change in kenya,
    Cassandra

    • Ann Dunagan June 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

      Blessings to you, Cassandra!

      I love your encouragement about “How shall they hear?” Sometimes, a heart for world missions and expanding God’s kingdom begins with something as simple as starting to THINK about the need. How shall those remote people hear? How shall my relatives hear? How shall my next door neighbor hear? How shall that little kid down the street hear? . . . may we all respond more by opening up our hearts and our mouths to love and to share.

      Thanks for your beautiful input!!!

  6. Stephanie M. June 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Ann, I am SO happy that God helped me “stumble” across your contributing post. To think I was viewing a YouTube video from PassionateHomemaker on creating your own family binder and found her binder so inspiring (LOVED that she made it “intentional” and “ministry-focused”) that I checked out her blog.

    I used to be a missionary in Asia for three years while I was single. Less than a week ago I told my mom that my husband and I have talked about taking our three children (ages 6, 4, and 2) overseas for missions sometime in the future. Right now I’m more focused on establishing order back into our home (hence, the planner research). I’ll be asking my husband to join me in praying about adding passport purchases to our family budget. Until then, I’ll be adding your book–The Mission-Minded Family–to our budget in the near future! :-) I’m excited about being more intentional about teaching my children about missions–whether it’s to our next-door neighbor, our grocery-store clerk, or a child in Swaziland.

    Thank you for serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

    • Ann Dunagan June 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

      Stephanie,

      i LOVE how you share how you were a missionary in Asia, but how God is currently directing and leading yoju to put order back in your home. He definitely sees the big picture, and He’s looking for us to allow Him to be Lord of every area. I also was very blessed by the Passionate Homemaking family planner youtube post and gleaned quite a bit from it (thanks to Lindsay’s wisdom and heart for our homes!!!).

      I’m delighted that you continued to browse around, and that you stumbled upon even more blessings than you were looking for! God’s so good in leading and guiding our steps and paths as we seek Him.

  7. Jenni @ DrMomEssentials June 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Ann, thank you for this article!

    I have your book, The Mission-Minded Family, and I love it! All your wonderful stories and ideas have inspired me so much and helped me be more confident in preparing my family to do the Lord’s work. We will be singing at a festival in our city next week as a family. All our songs focus on the importance of family and the roles of mother and father. I feel this is one way to share the Spirit of Christ with others.

    My husband is taking a trip in 2 months with our son to Bolivia to do humanitarian work. It’s something he does every year and loves. This is one way he feels he can do unique service for God.

    I appreciate your efforts to share your experience and ideas with others. It opens our minds, widens our visions and helps us see our true potential.

    Keep up your great work!

    • Ann Dunagan July 6, 2010 at 8:03 am #

      Jennie (Dr. Mom) —

      So glad to hear that you and your family have been encouraged by THE MISSION-MINDED FAMILY, and how exciting about the upcoming family mission outreach to Bolivia (along with the local park outreach to share the love of Jesus and God’s hope and plan for happy home life through His example of your marriage and family. AWESOME!!!

  8. Jeni Nadvornik June 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. This has come at such a wonderful time. My husband and I have felt the call of missions recently and are just starting to get our ducks in a row. We don’t know when, where or how, but we want to be ready for whatever God may have for us (even if that means staying put). We are currently getting our little family of 6 passports, and look forward to what lies ahead! Thank you again for your post, and also thank you for your books, website and online materials! My family has benefited greatly from your experience and knowledge.

    • Ann Dunagan July 6, 2010 at 8:05 am #

      Hello Jeni!!!

      You’ve very welcome (and I really appreciate your kind words).

      May the Lord continue to help you to get everything in His order. Much of the time, my “ducks” are a bit off-kilter, but we just keep seeking Him for daily re-alignment!

  9. Sarah Robbins June 25, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I LOVE when you post about missions! I have felt called to Africa as long as I have a believer, and I am so hoping that one day the Lord will present the opportunity.

    We are going to homeschool our children, and I so hope we will be able to do family missions projects together since we will have that flexibility. I love your ideas for incorporating mission-mindedness into schooling.

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

      Sarah,

      May God bless and direct you and your husband in all that He is calling you to do, at home, in Africa, or wherever He may lead you!!! Our family just completed our 19th year of homeschooling (with our 4th high school graduate); and yes, it’s a lot of work, but we’ve definitely found it to be SOOOO worth the effort, especially in instilling a heart for the Lord and His purposes in our children. For more free ideas for teaching your kids with a heart for the world, see our FREE missions resources.

      Ann

  10. Jessica @ Life as I See It June 25, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Love this! We are in the process of getting our boys passports right now :)

    I am taking my two boys boys ages 2 and 3 to West Africa this November for 5 weeks.
    Through a unique set of circumstances – and much, much prayer – the opportunity for my children and I to go arose and so we’ll be going.
    My husband isn’t able to get off work but he is encouraging this trip and I am excited to take my boys to my “third home” – as I spent a year in this place 6 years ago.

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      WOOHOO Jessica!!!

      That’s fabulous that you are going to be taking your two boys to West Africa. Over the years, we’ve found that family mission trips can come in many forms: the whole family together, dad and an older child, dad and mom and a nursing baby, dad and mom, mom and daughter, or a whole slew of combos. God is so infinitely creative, and His GRACE (in each circumstance of His perfect will) is always enough. God bless and protect and anoint you all — as you return to your “home-away-from-home,” as your little boys travel and experience so many new things, and upon your husband as you all are away.

  11. Kelly June 25, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    Excellent post! My first daughter was born in Australia while we were on the mission field. We have been back in Canada since she was a baby, but are itching to get back out there! We really want to be a missions-oriented family! This post is really encouraging.

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

      Kelly,

      I’m so glad that you were encouraged, and that you took the time to comment. Thanks for sharing your heart for missions and your love for the people of Australia, from Canada!!!

      He’s got the whole world in His hands!!!

  12. Kitty Hurdle June 25, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    I love this perspective!! I just posted this on my blog and am sending interested readers your way!!

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

      Kitty,

      Thanks for sharing this with your readers!!! I’m constantly wanting more and more of God’s vantage point and perspective. Blessings to you!

  13. Dayna June 25, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    I really enjoyed reading this post. A few years ago, we finally took the plunge and got real passports for our five children. At the time, we really thought the Lord was opening the opportunity for us to minister in South Africa. Three attempts to go there were thwarted by our great God’s perfect will for us. It was so disappointing, but only temporarily. We know that it is God’s purpose that prevails.

    We have since had the opportunity to live in Moçambique, where my husband has worked with a Christian relief/development organization. We’ve been here for almost a year, and we’ll return to the States in just a few weeks. We are grateful to have had this unique opportunity that has broadened our perspective in many ways. Giving our children passports is a huge privilege, and we long to travel with them more in the future as the Lord allows, and to minister to God’s people, no matter where we are — at home and abroad, short- or long-term.

    I am THA-rilled (!!!) to have found this blog. :-) My daughters and I are having a grand time being encouraged and edified through the faithful ministry of Passionate Homemaking.

    God be glorified!

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

      Dear Dayna,

      Wow!!! How exciting that you and your husband have been able to live in Mozambique, with 5 children, for nearly a year!!! I’m sure that you and your whole family have had plenty of adventures . . . and challenges . . . and I want to HONOR and thank you for all that you’ve done to obey the Lord to share His love with precious people in need.

      It’s also interesting how you shared that you got passports at first because you thought that God was directing you to South Africa, but the Lord in His providence and wisdom said no. But even so, He was preparing your hearts and your family to be ready for when He said YES!!!

      When I was in high school, my parents were praying hard about the possibility of moving to India as missionaries, and they had all of us five kids get passports to be ready. My family (my parents and siblings and I) ended up not going . . . however, all of my siblings and I used those original passports for various mission trips . . . and my parents have been actively involved HUGELY in expanding God’s kingdom through business and entrepreneurial leadership.

      May God protect you, and help your family as you adjust to life back in the U.S., and may the Lord multiply your heart for the nations in the lives of your friends, church family, and relatives!!!

  14. Shannon Hazleton June 25, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    Great post – LOVE it! My husband and I were in full-time missions before God placed us back in the States. As our 3 children are all ages 4 and under now, we stay involved in missions through ministries like Gospel for Asia. We love being able to teach our kids about missions through this fabulous opportunity to support indigenous missionaries and orphan children and the outcasts of Asia.

    Thank you for the post; it’s excellent.

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

      AMEN Shannon!!!

      I heartily recommend GOSPEL FOR ASIA. If you look at their GFA website, they have a free book (Revolution in World Missions), free mission newsletters, opportunities for child and national minister sponsorships, and excellent resources for teaching missions to children. Thanks for sharing!!!

  15. Jeaniene June 25, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    I appreciate this post SO much. My husband and I are currently serving the Lord in Asia. So many of our dear friends and even family are so fearful of the thought of moving or even visiting overseas. We’ve tried to challenge them that it’s not as “scary” or “big” as they think it is. This step of challenge to even get a passport is wonderful and the same thing we’ve told our families so many times. Just get your passport and be WILLING to go overseas if that is what God calls you to do! Thank you for your encouraging thoughts. I love the kids passport as well and am going to pass it on to my sisters!! Thank you!

    • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

      You’re welcome, Jeaniene!!!

      I agree that world missions, and traveling (short term) or living overseas (long term) doesn’t have to be nearly as “scary” or “big” as most people think. And yes, the little step of getting a passport (or even starting by making a FREE fun craft passport) is vital to opening our heart to God’s potential purposes.

      • Jessica in Europe June 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

        I was going to say almost exactly what Jeaniene said. I will admit prior to moving overseas 18 months ago, I was pretty terrified of traveling with my little ones and now a year and a half later, it seems like no big deal. We’ve been to 9 foreign countries for meetings with our now 4 yr old and 2 yr old in tow and international travel is just part of life. And because we’re here I think their world is bigger than the average American preschooler. I love when my 4 yr. old asks how to say things in the language of a country we’re discussing or asks about things he notices about culture that are different than how we do it.
        We have friends coming to spend a week with us in August and I know it was pretty scary for them just to get their kids’ passports but I am so humbled that they want to come across the world to minister to us and see our lives in Eastern Europe.

        • Ann Dunagan June 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

          GOD BLESS YOU JESSICA!!!

          Just last night, I had a long heart-to-heart talk with our young adult daughter, who is in the process of trying to see ahead to the different seasons of life. She loves missions, and can see traveling all over with one or two little ones, but she also wants to have a larger family, and realizes that with quite a few kids, especially with numerous little ones, there will likely be a “season” (for what she thinks will be probably in her 30′s) of what she calls, “hard core motherhood.” I wish someone would have given me that perspective. In my 20′s Jon & I were traveling all over the world with one, then two, then three little ones . . . but then the Lord began to focus the ministry to more dangerous evangelism in war-torn areas. For a while, God wanted me at home. Now, with our kids getting older, I’m going more.

          God wants us to trust Him for each season.
          And for His faith and love and perspective . . . to combat fear.

          Blessings to you, Jessica, and to your family and ministry in Europe!

          • Jessica in Europe June 26, 2010 at 9:12 am #

            I appreciate that thought Ann. We’re in former communist Europe and while it is one of the poorest areas in Eastern Europe, it is probably also one of the easiest to have a family in that it is a safe place in many regards for kids. We don’t deal with diseases, parasites, crime, etc. that are a reality in many parts of the world.
            We’re here for another 18 months and then it looks like we’ll be back in the states indefinitely. But I so want to continue being involved with ministries around the world. We would love to be able to financially take a trip every two or three years to spend a week or so with a missionary family ministering to them and having our kids be American playmates to their kids for a short time but if we are unable to take our family of 5 (or more!) I hope to be faithful to give financially to help other people who can go love on missionaries!