If you haven’t had a second grader yet, you may not be familiar with Flat Stanley. Based on a children’s book by the same name, Flat Stanley is normally a project to introduce young children to new places in a fun way. This time though, we are going to send Flat Stanley on an extended mission trip.
As you can see, I am not an artist and Flat Stanley doesn’t have to be beautiful. The official website even has templates you can borrow (no Bibles that I saw though!). Draw your Flat Stanley on card stock. He should be large enough to be seen in a photograph clearly, but not so large that he takes up too much room in a suitcase.
The next time your church sends a person or a team on a mission trip, have Flat Stanley join them. Ask them to take pictures of Flat Stanley as he sees the sites, meets the people and participates in the mission activities of the trip. The great thing about our modern world is that these pictures can be uploaded almost instantly to a designated website or Facebook page. They can also be emailed or brought home with the group.
That is often where the project ends. I encourage you to get a little daring. Ask your group to leave him in the mission field with instructions for the next mission group or person to pick up. The new group or person is encouraged to “adopt” Flat Stanley temporarily. The group can add another picture from that location if they wish, but then they bring Flat Stanley back with them to where they live. They can send the children pictures of how Flat Stanley is helping the church that adopted him until the next mission trip.
Many churches and schools send teams to multiple locations each year. In your instructions, ask the mission team that adopts Flat Stanley to send him to another mission field as soon as they can. It can be with another team from their church or by way of a visiting missionary. The instructions should accompany Flat Stanley. Make sure your instructions include an email address where you would like the pictures to be sent.
See how many places Flat Stanley can take God’s word in a year. Put a map of the world up in your room and place pushpins and photos from Flat Stanley’s adventures on it. More importantly, share with your students how God’s Word is being spread around the world. Share with them the joys and challenges of mission work.
Post a comment or email me and let me know how far your Flat Stanley went on a mission trip, how many places he went and how long it took. Let’s see how many children Flat Stanley can get excited about going on their own mission trips!