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Summer Challenge 2014

By Chad Christiansen | Published September 5th, 2014

Thank You!!

 

Dear friends,

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!

Gratefully,
Chad Christiansen
Executive Director and Founder
IN THE GAP

Proud to Humble

By lwaller | Published April 8th, 2014

By Nathan Collins

I’ve got this. I’ve been teaching Bible lessons for over three years. I’m good at this kind of teaching. If I had to, I could get up and give it right now with no practice and would probably do amazing.Nathan_blog3

That was my attitude about my Bible lesson evaluation. We had over a week to prepare for evaluations, with different assignments to help get us ready, but I didn’t take any of them very seriously.

The day before I was supposed to get evaluated, I practiced my Bible lesson on my roommate. After about ten minutes, I stopped, frustrated and humiliated. “What is wrong with me!” I said. For some reason, I was extremely confused and stumbled all over my points and links. God showed me how prideful I had been the whole time I was preparing Nathan_blog2for my lesson. I confessed my heart of pride to God and asked Him to teach me to rely on Him fully. Then I emailed my parents and asked them to pray for my Bible lesson.

When I got up to give my Bible lesson the next day at Bible club, I prayed that God would direct every word, and that it would not be about me. God answered that prayer in an amazing way! My Bible lesson went better than I could have ever hoped. Everything was very clear. God gave me some great examples on the spot that I had not even prepared. It was such an encouragement. That’s what God can do through me if I rely solely on Him, and get rid of the I’ve got this—I’ve done this before attitude.

Nathan_blog4If I had tried to do it in my own strength, I might have passed my practicum, but because I was willing to rely on God I was able to see His hand at work through me. This is far greater than seeking my own glory and trying to do things in my own strength. My prayer is that I will continue to rely on God for all that I do. I know it’s easier said than done, but that is my sincere prayer.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” Psalm 118:8-9

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An Unexpected Outcome

By lwaller | Published March 27th, 2014

By Jonan Kiang

The sound of desks screeching across the floor, chairs scraping, pencils flying around and clicking to the ground. You’ve got to be kidding me. Again? Last fall, I failed almost every singleJonan_edited time to maintain discipline in this class. Why do they make so much noise? I dreaded that class. It was our second to last week of teaching and I did not expect anything to change. I glanced at my teaching partner, anticipating the coming onslaught of decibels. I took a deep breath and dove into the class.

Something did not sound right. For some reason, it was silent in the usual noisy classroom. I thought that was weird—just weird. I stared into the eyes of the many students. I shuffled to the front of the classroom, still fearful of what was to come. My teaching partner decided to make the first move and started the class. IMGP2982_editedI thought it was the calm before the storm. But the storm never came. I could not believe the change that had come over them. I honestly thought God had given up on helping us with that class.

Six out of seven classes were simply chaotic and yet God proved his faithfulness in the end! It reminded me of the verse, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

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“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” Helen Keller

“They will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Next Generation

By lwaller | Published March 21st, 2014

By Ezra Lanctot

We hold an opportunity to serve and love these children. Dear little souls that are trapped in a world filled with turmoil, hate, and rejection. Here at In The Gap we fight every day to speak God’s truth into their lives,Ezra the truth that they are worth something, they are loved, and that there is hope.

When I look back over the last few weeks, it’s not the classes that get it that I see, it’s the ones that didn’t. The ones that are so trapped with lies that the walls of bitterness and hopelessness have made them humanly unreachable. It’s for these children that I pray almost daily, and ask that you would as well. It’s for these little ones that I feel called to be here, and it is for these that I wish to return.

This is the next generation, and frankly, they aren’t doing so hot. The truth of the matter is that if God is not speaking through us, then we had better just pack our bags and go home. Without prayer, we’re like medics without equipment or Ezra_edited3sfwmedicine—we may be able to do some CPR, but talking at kids who are dying isn’t going to do much.

I am excited! So excited with what the Lord is doing through us and with us. But I want to challenge those of you who have been putting off praying for us to pray. Good is the enemy of great. We are doing good things with these kids, but I know that God wants to do great things.

 

“Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.”

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185 Things to be Grateful About

By lwaller | Published March 11th, 2014

Now Go Tell Others

By Grace Benson

“Miss Grace, I wanted to thank you for your class!” Aliyah tugged on my sleeve as my partner and I were leaving the classroom. “If you had never told me about the importance of forgiving, Now-God-Tell-Others_GraceI never could have been free from holding grudges and make friends again!” Her bright smile beamed up at me.

“You know, Aliyah, I never would have known about the importance of forgiveness and the freedom it brings if someone hadn’t told me first. Now that you have learned about it, you can go share the message with others!” I told her.

“Oh!” She exclaimed, wonder and excitement written all over her face. How precious to see yet another soul inspired to give as she has received!

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2 

185 Things to be Grateful About

By Grace Benson

Twenty five pairs of eyes strained to see what was happening. Sand spilled everywhere and the entire class of third graders gasped. Our prayers for connecting with the class were answered.185-Thing-to-be-Grateful-About

We challenged the students to write a list of all the things they were grateful for. It was everyone for himself to see who could write the longest list. The race was on!

Stopping by the classroom later on to meet with the teacher, a touching sight met my eyes. All over the room, the students were diligently recording notes on various forms of paper.

“Look, Miss Grace!” one girl called. “I already have 25 things!”

One week later, I had the joy of rewarding one of the students in that class for her list of 185 things she was grateful for.

Praise the Lord for His blessing on the class and all the gifts He gives us every day!

What are You Grateful For? Leave a Comment Below to let Us Know!

Trust God to Do the Impossible

By lwaller | Published March 4th, 2014

By Nathan Collins

Everything had been going well all day, and there were only two more classes remaining. My personal story had worked for every single class. For the younger grades, we had an amazing skit prepared. Without a doubt, Nathanwe were definitely ready for this kindergarten class. Until something very strange happened. Due to a scheduling mix up, my teaching partner and I were forced to solo in separate classes with no warning or time to prepare.

As I walked into the room with all the props for the skit, I realized that I had basically nothing else prepared for them. I couldn’t do the skit all alone. My personal story was very deep and would be extremely difficult to explain to a class of kindergartners. There was no turning back; I had to teach this class. I said in my heart, “God, I have nothing.” Praying the whole time for the Lord to help me, I went over the review from last week and the definition of gratefulness withNathan2_edited the kids.

At that moment, God gave me an amazing story to teach the children. By the end of the class, I was drained physically, but it didn’t matter. I was so extremely grateful to God for showing Himself strong in this situation. My God never fails, and I won’t either if I am relying on Him. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:10). One of the greatest things I have learned here at In The Gap is fully relying on God. He does all things well. He is all powerful. You and I can trust Him to do the impossible!

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” Matthew 19:26

“The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked. Now here’s the good news: If you do pray, all bets are off. You can live with holy anticipation because you never know how or when  or where God is going to answer, but I promise you this: He will answer. And His answers are not limited by your requests. We pray out of our ignorance, but God answers out of His omniscience. We pray out of our impotence, but God answers out of His omnipotence. God has the ability to answer the prayers we should have prayed but lacked the knowledge or ability to even ask.” Mark Batterson

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Unexpected Opportunities

By lwaller | Published February 26th, 2014

By Adam Wentworth

Only one? My Bible club group was small enough, just three kids, but to have only one show up? I could barely hide my disappointment. I wanted to do more for God this week, pictures-53_editedespecially at this club, but what could I do having only one show up? I had to swallow my disappointment.

God is in charge of all things and He must have a purpose for this. So I dove into my lesson, asking questions and trying to get as much as I could out of the precious one-on-one time with this young man.

Unfortunately, it didn’t seem that he really cared. He tried to avoid in-depth discussions about Jesus and sin; he only seemed to want to have fun. Finally, towards the end, I thought for sure my teaching partner and I would be able to make a breakthrough, when who should show up but his mom! We signed him out and said goodbye, and began to clean up our area. What could God be doing? Today’s Bible club didn’t seem very productive at all. Did I say enough? Could I have done more? I finished sweeping the cafeteria where we have Bible club, when I noticed my brother, Jeren, and another team member talking to two young boys.

These boys went to that school, but they didn’t go to Bible club. The guys were inviting them to come to Bible club. We gave them permission slips to give to their parents and naturally, the conversation turned to the Gospel. pictures-45_editdAs the guys were talking to them, I remembered the tracts I kept in my bag. I ran back inside to grab them, and when I came back outside the boys were asking why Jesus had come in the first place. Handing them the tracts, I was able to get into the Gospel and explain why Jesus came to earth.

One of the boys said that at his church if they confessed their sins to a church leader and then repeat a prayer for God to forgive them then they would be forgiven. Would that work? Would saying I’m sorry fix the problem of sin? No. We must become children of God and put our trust in what Jesus has done for us on the cross. When I explained this to them, I was happy to see that they received it well.

Whether they will trust in Jesus as their Savior or come to Bible club to learn more, I don’t know. That’s up to God. But I do know that if it wasn’t for God choosing to only allow one child to come to our small group, I would never have had the opportunity to witness to these boys.

 

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Hold Me Accountable

By vmedina | Published February 17th, 2014

By Hope Ellison

Sixth grade. Forgiveness. I felt intimidated. The lesson we had prepared to teach these kids was way below their level. Many of them had been held back several times and were not much younger than I was. It seemed like everything—the skits, the object lessons, the illustrations—were all too childish for them. pictures-21It was like they had built a wall in their hearts, and were determined not to learn because they had been hurt before.

As my teaching partners and I taught, I could tell they understood the concept of what forgiveness was, but that they were choosing not to respond. Then God gave me a thought– these sixth graders desperately want to be treated as adults and would rather have a relational teacher than one who just preaches at them. Right there the Lord gave me an insight on how to be a relational teacher and connect with them on their level.

Just after my teaching partner finished giving the class the challenge to quickly forgive someone who has hurt them and to do something nice for them, I jumped in with what the Lord had told me to say. I told the class that next week, when we ask them if they had shown forgiveness, they could ask me if I had forgiven someone who has hurt me and done something nice for them. I saw each one of those sixth graderspictures-31_edited sit up a little straighter in their seats and turn wide-eyed expressions toward me. I told them I knew from personal experience that it’s hard to show forgiveness, and that a lot of times other people have hurt me as well. From their expressions I could tell that they were surprised; here I was the teacher, and I had just asked them to hold me accountable to show forgiveness to someone in my own life.

I knew I had just connected with them on a personal level, and thanked God for giving me the words to say that would reach them. I’m so excited now to continue incorporating more relational teaching in this sixth grade class in the weeks ahead, instead of feeling intimidated or incapable of teaching them.

 

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Saying Goodbye To Grudges

By vmedina | Published February 7th, 2014

By Grace Benson

“I have lots of friends; it won’t matter if I don’t forgive just one person.” He was a 6th grade boy in my special education class, and had no trouble voicing his opinion. “pictures-16Alright, then let’s say you drop this person over here and go find another friend.” I had a picture with two friends on it, and tore the paper in half so that only one friend was left. “What about the grudge from your last friendship? Does it suddenly disappear, or do you still carry it with you?”  Silence fell across the room.
Then without warning, the classroom door crashed open and slammed again, causing the room to vibrate. “You can’t make me go anywhere with him! He punched me for no reason!” A girl clenched her fists tightly together, tears coursing down her face, and glared at another boy who ran past me to the back of the classroom. She started saying mean things about him and his brother, who had been listening attentively to my class until now. The tension in the room was rising; I prayed for wisdom.
Using the example of the quarrel we had just witnessed, I explained how important it is to forgive before it’s too late. Bitterness and anger are like drinking poison and hoping the offender will die; it ultimately ruins you. I told them that only forgiveness can set you free to reach your goals, and challenged the class to forgive quickly by going back to those who offended them and choosing to forgive. 3.07.08 047_squareBoth the girl who interrupted the class, and the boy who thought he didn’t need to forgive his friend, raised their hands to take the challenge.
Later on, when I was on the playground with some of the children, I heard someone call my name. “Miss Grace!” I spun around and saw the same girl and some of her friends. “I forgave her, but I still have a long way to go!” She pointed to one of the girls with her, who smiled shyly. “I still have to forgive him, and her, and that kid over there,” she continued, motioning to several others around the playground. I praised her for her boldness and character in doing the right thing. The Lord took what seemed to be an unwelcome situation in class, and used it to turn the girl’s heart back to the truth that will set her free.  Praise be to God, Who alone gives us the strength to say goodbye to grudges.

Inspire. Empower. Impact.

By Chad Christiansen | Published December 30th, 2013

At In The Gap we are working to inspire and empower young people to change the world!

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