Around the World

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Right now there are more than 7 billion people living on earth. And do you know what? God loves each and every one of them just as much as he loves you. Every person in Africa, Asia, Antarctica (where most people are scientists or tourists), Europe, Australia, and North and South America is special to God. How do we know? Because God made us all. And because John 3:16 says, “For God so loved THE WORLD that he gave his one and only Son.”

How Many Is 7 Billion?

It’s really hard to imagine a million of something, isn’t it? A billion is the same as a thousand millions, so that’s almost impossible to imagine! And then try to imagine 7 billion people in our world! Can you do it? Here are a few ways to try:

  • 7 billion ants, at an average weight of 3 milligrams each, would weigh at least 23 tons (46,297 pounds or 21,000 kg). Yikes!
  • 7 billion seconds ago, the year was 1789. That was the year George Washington was inaugurated as the first U.S. president and Congress met for the very first time.
  • If you took 7 billion steps along the earth’s equator at 2 feet per step, you could walk around the world at least 106 times.

—statistics from an article by Kyle Almond, cnn.com, October 31, 2011

A World with 100 People

Let’s imagine that there are only 100 people in the world. If that were true, here are some facts about what those 100 people would be like:

  • Fifty would be male and 50 would be female.
  • Twenty-six would be children and 74 would be adults.
  • Sixty people would be from Asia, 15 would be from Africa, 14 would be from North or South America, and 11 people would be from Europe.
  • Thirty-three people would be Christian, 22 would be Muslim, 14 would be Hindu, and seven would be Buddhist. Twelve people would practice other religions, and 12 would practice no religion.
  • Chinese would be the first language of 12 people. Five would speak Spanish, five would speak English, three would speak Arabic, and 75 would speak other languages.
  • Eighty-three people would be able to read and write and 17 would not.
  • Seven people would have a college degree and 93 would not.
  • Seventy-seven people would have shelter and 23 would not.
  • One person would be dying of starvation, 15 would not have enough to eat, and 21 would be overweight.
  • Eighty-seven people would have safe drinking water and 13 would not.

Where do you fit into this picture? Talk about it with your family. To get an even better picture, count out 100 coins or beans or stones and use them to make the different groups listed above.

—statistics from www.100people.org. Updated in 2012.

Scrambled Breakfast

All over the world, people wake up hungry and ready to eat. What do you usually have for breakfast? Corn flakes? Eggs? Toast? If you live in North America, those are common breakfast foods. But if you lived somewhere else in the world, your breakfast plate or bowl might look very different. Try to match these breakfast foods to the country where people eat them. Then check your answers at the bottom of the page. Which foods would you like to try?

  • Miso soup
  • Idli (steamed rice-flour cakes)
  • Congee (rice porridge)
  • Cheese and olives

The Other Side of the World

Pretend you’re standing on the middle of the border between the United States and Canada. If you followed that line to the other side of the world, you’d end up in Kazakhstan. That’s a country surrounded by Russia, China, and some smaller countries. Check a globe or a world map to find it.

Christine and Andy Wicker are missionaries to Kazakhstan. They work for Christian Reformed World Missions to help tell people about Jesus. Christine teaches fifth grade and is the elementary vice principal at Tien Shan International School. Andy works with people who have problems with alcohol and drugs. We talked with Christine to find out what life is like on the other side of the world. Here’s what she said.

Q. What do kids in Kazakhstan eat for breakfast?

A. Kids in Kazakhstan often each kasha (which is what they call porridge) for breakfast. It can be made from rice, oatmeal, or wheat. Or they will eat bread with kolbasa (sausage) or cheese and some vegetables. They also will drink chai (tea) with milk.

Q. What do they do for fun?

A. Kids here love to go to the mall, eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken, and play at “Happylon,” an amusement park with rides and video games. They like going skating in the mall or on outdoor rinks in the winter. Our neighbor kids also love to play rugby or soccer in our yard.

Q. What do you love about Kazakhstan?

A. I love my students! Because I teach at an international school, my students come from many different countries, such as South Korea, the United States, Canada, Norway, and India. I asked them what they like about Kazakhstan. They said they love our school, and they also love the mountains and going skiing and sledding. The things they don’t like about Kazakhstan are that there is garbage and litter everywhere and the air is polluted. They also feel very sorry for the many stray dogs on the streets.

Q. What do the kids in your class miss the most about their home countries?

A. Their favorite candy, their grandparents and cousins, and doing things like going four-wheeling.

Answers to Scrambled Breakfast above: Turkey = cheese and olives; Japan = miso soup; China = congee; India = idli

About the Author

Sandy Swartzentruber serves as the resource coordinator for Faith Formation Ministries and is a member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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