Once again, I find myself in a humble place when God works and He uses me to help. I woke up and had my shower and was eating breakfast by 7:15. I am thoroughly convinced that God sustains people and literally gives them the strength to do what He asks of them.
At little kids time, we had amazing time loving on the kids. By then time the pre-teens rolled in, Jordan talked to 3 or 4 of them, each time it ending with tears and a big hug. I'm so glad to see God being able to work in major ways through Jordan! Carlyn and talked about the disciples and how they followed Jesus. It was amazing how quickly the 12 dropped their entire lives: their family, job, friends, and former life... all to follow Christ.
We then took the pre-teens to the basketball court and played 1 on 1 (kids vs. lakewood players) and 3 on 3 (Nate, Jo, and I vs. 3 kids) and we won pretty easily. Unfortunately, we mishandled the ball or missed a shot and the kids ended up winning a few times (sorry Coach). We then passed out the candy as their prize and prayed. It's so cool to see the enthusiasm to pray in these pre-teens. They all grasp the concept of prayer in its most basic and beautiful form: Talking to God.
I then got the opportunity to speak at night. I wasn't prepared, but Jordan gave me a few ideas of what this community needed to hear. One of the things she said, which I saw a need for as well, was forgiveness. Fortunately, God blessed me with some experiences that helped me prepare (Jacob Rose's lesson on forgiveness and the week after that when I taught about the Good Samaritan).
Anyways, after lunch we got time with the teenagers. We got to tell the kids what we enjoyed about our time here and what we learned. I taught the lesson about Saul/Paul again. I also confronted the kids on them never wanting to pray. Every day, we'd ask "Who wants to pray?" and no one would raise their hands... So I confronted the problem. They said that they were afraid of what people would say and that people would distract them during prayer. So when we prayed, I made sure they realized that it's one thing to disrespect us, but another thing entirely to disrespect God. We then messed around with basketball for a while. Then came soccer time. I took soccer time to prepare for the lesson. It's amazing how God gives people the words to say.
Following a delicious hot dog dinner, we went over to Groupo CEO. After some good worship time, I spoke. I used the kids to act out the parable of the unmerciful servant and the good samaritan. I truly believe God worked through me during that time, and much more than even before! For the first time, I believe I spoke God's Word more boldly than ever before. After the message, everyone hugged each other, and I mean everyone! Erica and I got to talk about missions and her life. It was a blessing to hear about how God was working in her life.
I'm really going to miss these kids, miss this place that I've fallen in love with, but this time I realize what I didn't last time: the need for God is different, but still present here AND at home. Also, God works at home JUST AS MUCH as He does here. Please pray for these kids, that as we leave that they will continue to stay strong in their faith, and that when trouble comes, they will stand firm in God's love for them.
Until next time,