LIVING IN A PASTOR’S FAMILY MEANS that you often move around and live in different cities and towns. Sometimes this can be fun because you can explore all kinds of new places and make new friends. Sometimes it can be tough because you have to leave your home, your school, and your friends and start all over again as a new kid in town. The wonderful thing is that God is with us wherever we go. He cares about us, He understands when we feel sad about leaving our friends and starting over again, and He never stops loving us. In Deuteronomy 31:8 it says, “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
Lots of people moved in the Bible. Here are just a few of the people who moved away from home. Can you find out where they went?
Terah, Abram and Sarai, and Lot moved from _____ to _____ (Genesis 11:31).
Rebekah moved from ___________ to ____________ (Genesis 24).
Jacob moved from ______________ to ______________ (Genesis 28:10).
Joseph (Jacob’s son) moved from ___________ to __________ (Genesis 37).
Ruth and Naomi moved from _________ to _________ (Ruth 1:22).
Daniel and his friends moved from _________ to ___________ (Daniel 1).
Esther moved from _____________ to ______________ (Esther 2:7, 8).
Mary and Joseph moved from _____________ to ____________ and later to ______________ (Matthew 2).
Praying For Your Home
What would you like to pray about for your next home? Your new friends? Your next church? Even if your family isn’t planning a move, you can still pray about the next place that God is preparing for your family. Talk about your hopes and dreams for your next move and write a prayer together. Fold a sheet of paper in half like a greeting card. Cut the top of the card into a roof shape so it looks like a house. Write your prayer inside the house and keep it safe. Take out your prayer occasionally and pray together with your family about your next move.
Wherever we live, there are special people to love, places that are fun to visit, people who need to know God’s love, and all kinds of great things to make life happy! Take a sheet of paper for each place where you have lived. Write the name of the town or city at the top of the paper or draw a picture of your home. Then think of all the wonderful people you knew, what you enjoyed about going to church, some of the fun memories you made in that place, and anything else you want to thank God for. Do this for each place you’ve lived, even if you’ve stayed in only one town. Wherever we live, God surrounds us with amazing gifts to discover and enjoy. I wonder what amazing surprises He’s preparing for you in the next place you’ll live!
JESUS: HOME BUILDER
Read John 14:1-3. Right now, Jesus is in heaven making new homes for His friends. I imagine that He knows all of our favorite things, and He’s busy creating thousands of unique rooms to fit each one of us. Heaven is going to be so wonderful that we can’t begin to imagine it! But we can still wonder what our personalized heavenly home might be like. One of my friends loves bears, and she imagines that Jesus will put a real cuddly bear in her room to snuggle whenever she wants a hug. Another friend loves his treehouse, and he imagines his heavenly home might be up a tree. Share some of your creative ideas together. Pray, thanking Jesus for making a special place for us that is far beyond anything we can imagine on earth!
WORDS ON THE STREET
Cut out lots of paper houses in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Lay them out in a long row. Write the words of John 14:1-3 on different houses. Then shuffle up the shapes and see how quickly you can arrange them in the correct order of the Bible passage. When you’ve learned the verses, decorate the houses and use them to create a garland for your home.
Cut a sheet of card stock into the shape of a house. Write the words of Deuteronomy 31:8 on the house. Decorate the shape in any way you like. Punch a hole in the top and tie yarn or ribbon to make a hanging loop. Display your house to remind you that God is with you wherever you go.
Do you know someone who’s moving? Make a moving gift for them. Find an attractive box or bag and include some of these: a photo of you with an encouraging message on the back; something small for their new room; a large card or notebook filled with positive messages from their friends; something to remind them of a good time with you, such as a treat you both enjoyed or a small game you played together; some welcome balloons for them to blow up when they arrive; a packet of tissues (just in case); a copy of Deuteronomy 31:8 decorated by you and put into a frame or made into a house hanger like the one described under the title “God’s Promise”; a jar of earth from their garden so they will have a little piece of your town in their new place; a guidebook filled with great things for kids to do in their new area, city, or state (or write to the tourist office in their new location and request some brochures); a voucher for their family to have a meal out in their new location; and anything else they might like. Ask your parents to help you write a prayer for your friend’s family. Pray that they will soon settle and find peace, happiness, and friendship in their new place. Pop this prayer into the gift bag. Invite them over for a meal before they leave, have a special time of prayer for them, and give them the gift bag.
Moving away from home can cause all kinds of feelings. But Jesus cares about all of our emotions, and He understands when we feel sad, afraid, excited, or stressed. Read Matthew 11:28, 29. Take a large sheet of paper. In the middle of the paper draw a big heart, and then divide the heart into four quarters. In each quarter write one of the following: “I am feeling sad about moving because . . .”; “I am feeling excited about moving because . . .”; I am afraid or worried about moving because . . .”; and “I am feeling stressed about moving because . . .” Write down some of your ideas and share them with your parents. Tell them how they can help you when you feel sad, worried, afraid, or stressed by everything you have to do. Also, tell them what you’re excited about and how they can help you enjoy moving to a new place. When we understand each other’s feelings, we can comfort, encourage, and help one another. And that’s good for everybody in the family.
One of my friends lived in a country troubled by war. Sometimes her family had to move very quickly to a new town to stay safe. She told me that all you can really own in the world is whatever you can carry in two grocery sacks, because that was all she could take with her. Give every person in your family two grocery sacks and ask them to choose what they would carry with them to a new place if that was all they could take. Set a timer for 30 minutes and get packing! When the time is up, look at what each person has packed. Tell each
other why you chose the things in your bag. What would be good about owning only a few things? What would be difficult? Thank God that, at the moment, you can usually take everything you need and want with you when you move.