by Linnea, Children at Risk DTS staff
Most of the seventy kids who have been coming to our Vacation Bible Study are from very poor and broken homes. A lot of them don’t know how to behave, or act out to get attention from us.
I just wanted to hold each of their faces to mine and somehow download into their hearts the love God has for them. I tried my best to love them, hold them, play with them, hug them, and teach them.
This whole week, we’ve shared with them truths from the Bible, using stories like David and Goliath or Daniel in the lion’s den. We shared skits, made crafts, played games, and led discussions with the kids. Today, our last day, we felt like God told us to share the gospel and invite the kids to make a commitment to Him.
I had no idea what to expect—and it seemed like the kids were more excitable and chaotic than usual. At the end of our session, when the children had settled down a little, I asked if any of them wanted to choose to live their lives for Jesus.
Ten boys raised their hands and then crowded close around where I sat on the floor. They scrunched their eyes closed and prayed with me, asking God to forgive their sins and to help them be like Jesus. As I prayed for each of the kids and put my hand on their heads, my heart went out to them. It’s like I could feel God’s heart for them individually. I felt so strongly that God wanted to be there with these boys through the hard times, to walk with them, to never leave them.
“This isn’t just something you decide just today,” I told the boys, looking them each in the eyes. “Choosing to follow Jesus means you make a choice every day to follow God instead of just doing what you want to do. Or doing what everyone else around you is doing.”
They held eye contact with me and I could see sincerity in their faces. I know God was pleased with their hearts.
I imagine what their lives will be like in ten or fifteen years. Right now, they’re just children with tender hearts, eager to learn and talk about God. But in ten years, what will happen? Will their circumstances harden them, woo them to drugs, gangs, violence, and sex to ease the pain in their hearts? To find a place to belong? Will the wounds of abandonment and abuse turn their hearts from God?
For some of them, the answer is probably yes. But I know that even if only one of the kids applies the truths we taught them this week, it will have been worth it. This week, we’ve scattered a lot of “seeds” in their hearts. I know that some of these have fallen on fertile soil and will bear fruit.
I pray that more people will come and build on what we’ve begun. I pray that they will continue to hear the truth that God loves them and has planned good things for their lives. I pray that many of the kids we met this week will escape the cycle that their families are trapped in, and that these children will be world changers!