An E-newsletter is sent out every month or so to all the woman on staff with Athletes in Action as a way of keeping everyone connected. Well, about two weeks or so ago I got an email from one of the communication writers on staff with AIA stating that a friend of mine who is a Direct Ministry team leader for the Leadership Development and Human Resources department wanted her to write a story on the Missionary Mommy page I started a few months ago for the next E-newsletter. I was actually a bit surprised, but encouraged that someone took notice enough of those pages to want to share them. Pretty neat! Anyway, I thought it would be fun share the article with all of you who have been praying for our ministry... as being a full-time mom is my biggest ministry.
"From the outside, space shuttle footprints, balloon rockets and coloring marshmallows may not seem like ministry. But to Natalie McLaughlin, who serves Athletes in Action with husband John in Mexico, those are crucial parts of her current ministry role: mom.
The McLaughlins have two preschool sons and a toddler daughter, and Natalie has chosen to homeschool the boys. While the days of using her athletic training degree to build relationships with athletes and share the gospel may be on the back burner, Natalie is relishing her current role as the person responsible for nurturing a new generation of Christ followers, namely the three in her care.
Partly to keep herself sane and organized, Natalie started researching ideas for crafts, creative learning projects and homeschool lessons to keep her children entertained. From that, she decided to start a side page off the family's ministry website to help other moms like her who might need similar resources. Launched just three months ago, her "Missionary Mommy" site is rich with content: She includes some blog thoughts, some resources on spiritual health for moms, tips on homeschooling and links to favorite sites for homeschool resources, a compilation of creative crafts for kids (along with adorable photos of her young'uns engaged in creating said crafts), recipes and even ideas for creative disciplining.
"I labeled this particular page as 'Missionary Mommy' because the reality is that if you are a mom, you ARE a missionary," Natalie says in her blog. "You are seeking to train, encourage, disciple, love, and build-up your little ones in hopes that as they get older, they will do the same for the glory of God."
Natalie says she has already gotten some great feedback from moms outside the AIA family who have found encouragement and ideas on her site. As someone who loves to research, Natalie says the process of digging around the Internet for resources is actually fun and relaxing to her, while some moms may think it is one more stressful part of stay-at-home mommyhood.
Though traditional schools don't begin until pre-kindergarten, Natalie said she decided to begin homeschooling her sons now in order to be more intentional about their day's schedule and to encourage learning and creativity early. She chooses alphabet letters or a book to focus activities around to give the day structure.
"Finding fun things to do with the kids and seeing how rewarding it is for both of us has been fun," she says. "The kids ask questions and request crafts, so I see the fruit of spending quality time with them every day. There's no better way to be intentional than to get on the floor and play with them and teach them."
Natalie really sees the website as paying forward others who have encouraged her since she had her first child.
"I was encouraged by so many other moms who did the same thing as I did, so I want to hopefully do that for other moms," she says. "It doesn't take much for me to do that."
If you haven't already checked it out, click 'Missionary Mommy' to your left. If you have already and would like to be part of the mailing list (this is a separate mailing than from this blog) to anyone who wants to know when I add something new to it, please email me or click here to send me your email address.