Recently, a global worker couple, ministering in a sensitive RAN (restricted access nation) region shared of the incredible work that is happening with outreach to children. Here's their testimony:
Last week, we had two young ladies from our neighboring country come to stay at our home. They came with the purpose to learn more about children, and especially how to minister more appropriately and effectively to them. God has been pressing on them the need to minister to children. This is something not accepted so much in their land, and they come up against quite a bit of opposition and belittling because of the call on their hearts.
However, through perseverance, one of the ladies has been conducting Sunday classes for children in her group for some time now, and God has been moving her heart to do even more. The other lady has begun serving here in this country right now as a global worker, and God has been moving her heart to work with those children who are having a particularly difficult time in life and need a loving hand to help them. We are standing with her to see where God leads.
Over a six day span, I taught them everything I knew, using my own personal experience working with children, my training as an Early Childhood Educator, and my own study of the value of children according to the Word. The program consisted of a classroom session (where they all had to bring themselves to the level of a child in order to participate), coupled with 6 hours of teaching a day. It went surprisingly well, considering it was my first-time teaching adults and I was quite nervous.
My husband had his own very important part to play as well. He was ready with meals, snacks, and conversation each time we had a break, and washed all the dishes in-between. If you ask him, he doesn’t want to see a dish for a long time to come. But truly, without him, we would have been very hungry, overwhelmed, and not have been able to focus on the lessons as well as we did. We were all so well-fed and taken care of because of his hard work!
The week was quite a task, quite honestly. But I was pleasantly surprised to see their hunger to learn, to hear their own personal stories of work with children, as well as their own childhood experiences. (Studying children brings people back to their own childhoods and can actually help them heal as they understand and name it, which I evidenced this week also). What really touched my hearts was how they were applying it to their own work, dreaming of how they could use what they have learned, and making plans for the future.
An example of this: one of the ladies explained to me some of her dealings with parents. She tended to push herself into the parent’s homes, insisting that the children are hers too, and they should listen to her “admonishments”. In recent weeks, she has had parents pulling their children out of her classes. A pity, since she truly has a deep heart and love for children. However, when she left here, she had a new understanding of her role as a teacher, as someone with a unique opportunity to influence the lives of children, but only with the permission and blessing of the parents. We are believing that she will now apply what she has learned and that parents will see the change in her and bring their children back to her classes.
As we searched the word, we saw that children are important to the Father, and also that throughout the Old Testament and the New, children were a part of worship, praise, prayer, repentance, and even the giving of sacrifices. They did not shield their children from God. Not so, in the neighboring land. They have a habit of shooing their children away so the adults can focus on God without distraction, and also, as they claim, to protect them.
I shared with them the statistics regarding the age of faith decision making for children. They learned that by 13 years old, 50% of people have made their faith decision. A shocking realization for them. (Studies show that individuals are the most open and receptive to making a personal commitment to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14 and that those who do so at this early stage of life are most likely to continue in their faith commitment). They had been taught they had to be adult-like in order to meet God. I am believing that this will change their outlook, that they will share that with parents and the leaders of the house groups, so we can see a lasting change, so children can have the opportunity to learn about God long before they are 18. Please join us in prayer for this matter.
We have not yet had a chance to start developing the 52 week Sunday class curriculum for the house groups of the neighboring land. However, we are committed to that, and it is our intention to start that very soon. One of the ladies that was here will be translating this curriculum for us, and we will then be working to put it on a secure site so that those in the neighboring land can access it safely in-country (where the government tracks their internet browsing closely).
We are excited about this opportunity, to empower more people to follow God's leading on their lives and work with children for His purposes. With the right tools and support, we believe they can thrive and discover the gifts God has given them for the work! We ask God to bless this work so that the children of that land can hear about Him and make their own decisions to follow Him even at a young age. Or even if they don’t make their decisions at a young age, as the bible promises, what we teach them at a young age will never leave them. It will always be there for when they are ready to respond to Jesus!
- Pray for global workers that minister to children- especially in sensitive/restricted access nations
- Pray for wisdom and discernment in how to teacher and equip others in how to minister to children and their families
- Pray for receptivity among children and their families as they hear the good news of God's love
- Pray for the safety and health of our global workers and their families