Today was a wonderful day in our mission. Unsure what to expect in attendance today – because we had to cancel yesterday for the storm – God really showed up. Again, we had over 120 children in Petion ville… and 12 church leaders, and 10 pastors came, even though they were unsure if we would be there. Everyone in attendance today was there for the right reason. They were hungry for the Word of God. And because of that, God took center stage.
The children learned about the responsibilities of being a child of the King. God expects that we honor Him with our lives and serve others to His glory. They loved the crafts and games again. It is so humbling to watch them color. Debbie, Lisa, Amie, and Christina always say how meticulous they are about taking their time and making their pictures beautiful. I think they would sit there all day and just color if we let them. Can’t wait to see their faces when each of them gets a pack of crayons in their own backpack tomorrow.
One cannot ignore the living conditions these children go home to every day. They arrive at the camp in trucks overflowing… Children hanging off the sides and singing loudly, songs of praise to God. And when they leave – either on foot or in those same vehicles – the houses waiting for them are make-shift shelters we would be ashamed to have as dog houses. Every day when we leave we pass “tent cities” where hundreds of people live, digging through the trash and sleeping on broken concrete or dirt… But the children smile and wave. And men and women go about life as if they know nothing else at all. “Poverty” does not even scratch the surface of what these children call home. But they and their families are so very beautiful to our God. And when you catch a glimpse of them through the eyes of that living, loving Creator, your heart bleeds for them.
Pastor Mitchell taught the church leaders about youth ministry today. They spent a lot of time on the issue of sexual responsibility and how to lead their youth into honoring God with their bodies. They also had a great discussion about youth serving in the church and learning to support the church and its pastor. In spite of the cultural differences, today’s youth ministry training was very successful. Dad taught the pastors how to discern, study, and preach the Gospels. They loved his method of preparation and delivery, and learned much from his instruction. These pastors are so grateful for our time and investment in them. What an honor it is to serve along side my own father in teaching them how to develop and sharpen their giftedness and calling from the Lord. They will all hold a very special place in our hearts as long as we live.
The greatest news of the day is that 3 children (ages 9-12) placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ today for the very first time! They have become children of the King! 1 John 1:12. The angels in heaven rejoice tonight for these three beautiful children coming to faith in Christ Jesus. We will be connecting them with local churches in their areas tomorrow for follow up and discipleship.
Something that sticks out to me tonight as I reflect is the commitment from volunteers. Some WALK 1-2 hours one way EVERY DAY to come help. Their love for The Lord is contagious and their service to Christ is a model for us to follow. What an honor to work with these young men and women for the glory of our Lord.
Tomorrow is a big day. We will finish our VBS at Petion ville and hand out backpacks of school supplies to all the children who attended. We will wrap up the weeks’s activities in Petion ville with a celebration and evangelistic service. There will be a certificate ceremony for the pastors and church leaders, a live band, and I will be preaching Matthew 6:33. I am praying that more souls will be saved and that Christians (including ourselves) will commit to being Kingdom Seekers, for the glory of God! Will you pray with me?!
We are so grateful for the prayers of many which are being lifted up to God on our behalf. You are a part of this ministry, and your prayerful support is felt daily as we minister here. Thank you for being partners in the ministry of this team. May God receive all the glory!
Grace and Peace,