May 18 2013

A.C.T.S.– A Call to Serve with Adventures in Odyssey!

{I wrote this post partnering with Adventures in Odyssey and Tyndale. I received Adventures in Odyssey Our Favorites in exchange for sharing their A.C.T.S.– A Call to Serve Summer Program and Contest as part of a Blog Tour. This is not a sponsored review and all views and opinions are of my own and were not influenced in anyway.}


Summer is almost here! Can you believe it?

We homeschool year round so our 2012-2013 school year doesn’t end until the middle of June and we will start back up at the beginning of August. Even so, I do tend to approach the summer months of May, June and July as a time to do things a little differently. One of the things that Will and I began doing when we got married was to find opportunities for our family to serve God together throughout the year and continuing that very special legacy has been one of the most rewarding things we have done this year.

Josh and Michael have been excitedly coming up with ways to raise money to help the missions our church supports. Josh came up with the idea of having a yard sale and lemonade stand and donating the money to the mission funds at our church.  When he mentioned this to his Bible Club teachers they got excited about it and asked if the Kids for Christ Bible Club could get involved and help us. We were thrilled to have them join in, the more stuff and the more helpers that day the easier it will be…and I am always excited about working with other families to serve the Lord through serving others together.

My step-daughter, Annie, is getting ready to start collecting hygiene items for Generation Next again in June and our family is totally on board with finding ways to do that.

Josh packing our Operation Christmas Child shoebox for this past Christmas.

Josh packing our Operation Christmas Child shoebox for this past Christmas.

And don’t forget it is a lot easier to shop for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes during the back to school sales than in the rush of Christmas preparations!

One of the things that I have noticed with our family is that the more we find ways to serve the Lord through serving others the more we want to serve! And each time we serve together it bonds our family closer together and closer to the Lord. What better way to really teach our children about how much the Lord loves us and how He calls each one of us to serve others in our families, communities and around the world?

Jesus calls us to put hands and feet to our faith not just talk about it. In today’s world we are inundated with opportunities to indulge ourselves and focus on our own wants throughout the year but especially in the summer time. I know as a parent one of my greatest desires is that our children grow up to be men and a woman who are passionate about their relationship with the Lord and who are confident about how to live for Christ in their daily lives. From experience with my children and with the children and teens in the youth/children’s ministries I used to lead, I have found that working with and helping people and children who are less fortunate than we are makes a bigger impact on them than just talking about the importance of helping those in need. And I am amazed at how much of an impact summer service projects, big or small, have had on our own children and the children/youth I have met through ministry groups.

In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with them into adulthood…and that is the greatest gift we as parents can give on our children.

So when I received an e-mail from Tyndale Blog Network asking me if Unwrapping His Grace would consider participating in the Adventures in Odyssey Blog Tour for A.C.T.S.– A Call to Serve this summer I was immediately interested! Talk about an answer to prayer!

When I told Josh and Michael about it they were bouncing with excitement!

ACTS webcast image(1)

I hope you will join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!


Adventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos, and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.


This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve, everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas, kids will discover that serving can be a blast! I know mine can’t wait!

The A.C.T.S. blog tour has three themes…

Today’s Theme: Discover how much fun service can be with Adventures in Odyssey’s A.C.T.S. challenge and contest!

The week of June 17th Theme: Imagine creative and fun ways to serve using your unique gifts!

The week of July 22nd Theme: Grow in your walk with God every day. With summer on the downswing, we gear up for school and re-establish routines that get lost during summer.

Each A.C.T.S. Blog tour post will include wonderful encouragement, free resources and gifts, and the next two posts will include great giveaways just for Unwrapping His Grace readers from Adventures in Odyssey!!!


How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:


Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at whitsend.org. At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.


A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners (one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to another country with a parent! The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at whitsend.org/acts. You don’t want to miss it! Talk about exciting!

If you need some great service ideas for your family…AIO is providing this wonderful “Serve. Share. Win. Weekly Service Ideas PDF” to get you started!

And I am thrilled to announce that AIO is offering a special free MP-3 download of an episode as a FREE GIFT to our Unwrapping His Grace readers to show some ways the wonderful characters in Odyssey find to serve!

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started serving!  And remember to join the live podcast May 22nd to find out more details and hear the announcement of the out-of-country mission destination!

Don’t miss a single post! Take a moment to sign up for the free updates through your E-Reader or in your email.  And be sure to join the Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Community where you will find daily updates, Scripture, encouragement and opportunities to share prayer requests or follow us on Twitter.

What are some of your family’s favorite ways to serve others? Please tell us about them in the comments below.

Serving other with His Grace,

Mary Joy





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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

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