He was just sitting there. He had a slight smile on his face. Something inside me told me to go talk to him. But I was at Walmart! I was there to shop, not witness.
Eliza teaching a character lesson to her kindergarten class at school
He was an employee, in charge of checking receipts. His name tag said “Doug.” I walked toward him, so nervous and afraid. What would I say? Then a question came to mind. “So what has God been doing in your life lately?” He looked up at me, and started to talk. He said that he was getting frustrated with people who try to steal. He had caught over four thousand dollars worth of merchandise being stolen.
“People do that because they don’t know the Lord,” I said.
He looked around, then back at me. He told me that he grew up in church, but that he now has a gambling problem. I told him I would pray for him, and then I realized it was time to go. I shook his hand, and told him it was nice talking with him. As I walked away, I called back, “I will be praying for you!” He looked at me and smiled again.
I got into the van, so thankful for this opportunity. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again, but I know one thing: I will never forget the elderly man I got to witness to at Walmart. Eliza Nelson, Level 1 Intern
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Ricardo with some of his students at Bible Club
At one of our Bible clubs we have seventeen little boys on our small group. That’s crazy! Every week we get more children. The kids are awesome, but one of the boys would not behave. Every week we had to give him disciplinary checks, and my teaching partner and I began praying for him. I wondered, “What is wrong with this kid?”
Then one week at the beginning of Bible club he began misbehaving again. God spoke to my heart and told me to praise him. I thought, “What in the world? This kid is not behaving—and now I’m going to praise him for it?” But I decided I would do it. I told the little boy, “Hey, today you are my new assistant.”
He said, “Really?”
I told him I was serious, and so now he was going to be my helper at Bible club.
He was so excited. And he behaved really well. “Wow,” I thought. “Praise really works!” Ricardo Verboonen, Level 2 Intern
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When I agreed to tutor several third grade girls for an hour at school I had no idea what I was getting myself into. During our time together they had a terrible time listening to instructions, and there was an undercurrent of anger in the words that they spoke to one another. The girls went back and forth between snapping at each other and breaking down in tears.
I glanced at my teaching partner sitting at the other table with a group of boys, all listening and sitting up. What on earth? Why can’t these girls just act like them?
As incidents arose between the girls, I began to pull each one aside to talk to them one-on-one. I didn’t feel I was very good at character-based correction (addressing inward attitudes rather than just surface actions), but I knew it was what these girls needed.
The girls all acknowledged that they had not been demonstrating good character when I talked to them, and each agreed to apologize to the others for what she had said or done. But as they began to say “sorry” to each other it became evident that some of their apologies were not sincere. I explained to them that saying “sorry” by itself isn’t enough. We need to be willing to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. The girls agreed, and each of them took turns asking the others for forgiveness.
I couldn’t contain the smile on my face. I know from personal experience that asking forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do. But they did it and I was so proud of them! Even though I felt I had no idea what I was doing in my conversation with these girls, God did, and He worked it all together for good. Joy Copu
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It was our toughest class at this school. Even though the lesson started off well, I could sense tension in the room, like we were just barely holding their attention. Suddenly, without any warning, one of the kids sprang to his feet in a panic attack and bolted across the room to his teacher, screaming in fear. In a split second the entire class was on their feet laughing, pointing and imitating the boy’s movements.
My heart broke. The children refused to apologize to their classmate. “It was funny!” they said. Eventually, the class calmed down some and the teacher took the young boy out of the room.
My teaching partner and I started talking to the children again, trying to make an emotional connection with them. You could see a couple of the children’s eyes drop to the floor as we explained the pain they had caused by mocking and what kind of character they had exemplified. But several of the kids held their heads up in defiance saying, “Why should I have to apologize? It was hilarious.”
Later we realized what a blessing it was that we got to be there when the whole incident occurred. We’d only been with this class for about three weeks, and have already seen some fruit in the children’s behavior. However, a lot of what we said was just a bunch of rules to them. That day we had the divine opportunity to show the children where the rubber meets the road—what good character looks like in a given situation, and how to make things right when we fail. We got to show the children what good character looks like in real life. Hannah Keller
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