The world seems to be getting smaller. With the ease of travel and the availability of communication across many miles, experiencing a variety of cultures is easier than ever before. Create cultural experiences for the women in your church and community though an “Around the World” event. This is also a great way to raise awareness of mission opportunities—consider partnering with your church’s missions team as you plan this event.
Spread the word about your event by making simple “passports” with information about the gathering. The message might read “Get ready to take a whirlwind trip around the world! Discover the joys of traveling—without leaving our town!” Or you might sell tickets that look like airline or train tickets or travel itineraries.
Since you’ll be featuring experiences from several different countries, keep the decorations focused on travel itself. Use luggage, travel posters (ask your local travel agent or buy inexpensive ones online), maps, and other travel items to suggest the travel theme.
We’ve suggested several different countries that women can “visit” during your event. For each country, you’ll find a variety of experiences or flavors that will help women feel like they’ve taken a short excursion into that part of the world.
- Learn the waltz. Invite a dance instructor to give a simple lesson.
- Challenge friends to “ski through the Alps” with downhill skiing video games.
- Enjoy Viennese hot chocolate.
- Take a hike; then soak your feet. New Zealand offers easily accessible mountains for hiking and beaches for soaking up fun in the sun. Experience both by planning a short “hike” around the neighborhood and then offering tubs of warm water to soak those tired toes in.
- Have a barbie. It’s not a doll! To New Zealanders, a barbie is a barbeque. Ask a small team of men to fire up the grill for a delicious treat.
- Go green. New Zealanders are especially environmentally sensitive. Invite someone from a local recycling center to give women practical tips for conserving resources.
- Speak like a kiwi (a nickname for people from New Zealand). Make a game of using New Zealand slang. Give women a list of words and several wrapped chocolates. Each time someone uses New Zealand slang, the person to whom she’s speaking will give her a piece of chocolate. At the end of the event, everybody keeps the chocolate they’ve collected.
- Welcome women with music. Search online for “South African tribal welcome chant” to access many video options to play as women arrive. You can also find South African music to play in the background throughout your event.
- Be colorful. Celebrate the diversity of South Africa as well as the bold colors seen in the flag and many native clothes. Encourage women to dress in bright colors. The greater the variety, the better!
- Talk about issues. HIV is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 29.4 percent of people are said to be living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Invite someone to share facts about HIV and AIDS around the world. Challenge women to identify their misconceptions and take action to inform and help others.
- Play a new old game! Mancala is an old game yet unfamiliar to many. Purchase several sets or create your own Mancala game, and challenge women to learn something new!
- Tell stories. Search online for Ta-in and Ta-na, a folk story from Thailand. Invite women to discuss the lessons taught through the folk story. Ask them to share what life lessons they’ve learn through stories.
- Share expressions of freedom. Thailand was called Siam until 1939. It’s full name is actually the Kingdom of Thailand (Prathet Thai), which means “Land of the Free.” Challenge teams of women to express what they believe about freedom. Give a time limit in which to create a drawing, practice a short skit, compose a song, or write a poem together—then share these with the entire group.
- It’s Thai time! Savor the flavors of Thailand, and get a variety of women involved at the same time. Invite women to bring a favorite Thai recipe or one they want to try. Encourage them to serve small samples so the women who attend the event can try a variety of recipes.