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
Click here to watch the story of a girl who was changed for eternity.
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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One of the older boys on my small group asked me this question the first two weeks at Bible club. Those are not easy words for a small group leader to hear.
My partner and I were doing the best we could, trying to make our time with these five boys both fun and meaningful. We prayed, asking God to give us lessons that would be just right for them. I also prayed that more boys would join us, if it was God’s will. My biggest prayer and desire has been that they would understand how real God is, and that each of their lives will be changed for eternity. But how could this happen if they don’t even want to be there?
When my teaching partner and I got together to plan for the third week, I was excited and encouraged. God had showed me that He was more than big enough to work in the hearts of these boys. I just needed to keep my trust in Him.
Our planning session went well, and we were looking forward to our next club meeting. But three of the boys didn’t make it that day, and one of the two who did was the boy who asked to join the other team. We started into our lesson with them and both were engaged. We talked about staying away from evil things that could hurt us and keep us from following Jesus. To demonstrate, we had the boys help us come up with ideas of things we should stay away from. Both of the boys had really good input and it was neat to see them think it through. We wrote their ideas on stickers we had brought. When we were done we went outside and played tag with the stickers. Afterwards we talked about how we should stay away from evil with the same amount of energy we used to get away from the stickers, and continued with our lesson.
The boy never asked to switch teams again. God knew what He was doing when He had only two boys come. I am thankful for the way God works all things out for good, and I pray that the seeds we were able to plant will bear much fruit. Darcie Isitt
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Thanks to your prayers and financial support, the Summer Challenge reached $18,310.00! Thank you for standing with us! Because of your generous giving, many children and young adults will be further equipped, inspired, and mobilized to make an impact. Please watch this brief video message and join me in celebrating the great work God is doing.
You are a great blessing! Thank you again for standing with us!
Executive Director and Founder
IN THE GAP