When I Grow Up

In The Gap“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked the class. Several children raised their hands.

“A judge,” said one.

“A teacher,” said another.

The third said, “A basketball player!”

I called on one last boy: “I want to be a preacher,” he said with a striking boldness in his voice.

“So do you think you can wake up suddenly one day and become a teacher or a professional basketball player?” I asked them.

“No,” they all said.

“What steps would you have to take to get there? What will you have to do if you want to be a preacher?” I said, addressing my little preacher friend.

“I have to read my Bible,” he said.

In The Gap-2I was shocked. Even though I am not allowed to initiate conversations about God in school, I still got to talk about Him because of a little boy who wants to become a preacher. Carolyn Hills

Click here to learn more about our character education program.

The Name of Jesus In Class

“Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” The little girl’s words were a direct answer to prayer.

The day before God had burdened my heart to pray that the name of Jesus would be spoken in class at school. I realized that throughout the session we actually got to talk a lot about God at school in response to the children’s questions, more than I ever expected. For example, we asked them who made the light bulb, and they called out in unison “God!”

“God created the light, you’re right! But who made the light bulb?”

Little opportunities like that came up at least a couple times each week, but I’d never gotten to say the name of Jesus at school.

That morning I was talking to God about it, and He gave me the verse, “O LORD, our God, other lords beside thee have had Amy-1dominion over us: but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name” (Isaiah 26:13). God put it on my heart to pray that, even though we aren’t allowed to mention the name of Jesus at school, one of the kids would say His name in class.

The next day my teaching partner and I went to class and we were talking about authorities, and none of the kids even mentioned God or Jesus. Just before our last class I prayed, “God, I know it’s Your will for Your name to be spoken at school, so please put it on one of the kids’ hearts to mention the name of Jesus.”

We went to our last class of the day and asked them if they knew who some of our authorities are. A little girl sitting in front raised her hand. When I called on her she pointed her finger up and said “Jesus!” I was so excited!

“Yes! Very good!”

She smiled and said again and again, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

Wow! What God can do when we simply ask in faith. Amy Schwartz


Click here to find out more about our internship program!

Find out about our Operation Impact outreach, and how you can be involved this summer!

You Know My Name?

One of my classes on Wednesday was particularly challenging—a class full of hyper second-graders who needed a lot of hands-on activities to stay engaged. Four of the boys acted especially crazy, and if the teacher walked out while we were teaching, they went berzerk. They would talk and do their own thing during every character class we taught. We were at a loss for how to keep their attention.

How can I reach them? How can I teach them, and show them In The Gapthat I really care? I asked God for His wisdom, and He put it on my heart to learn our students’ names. That was going to be a challenge, because we have at least six classes on Wednesdays and a lot more throughout the week. But I decided I would do it. And we finally got the names of the kids in our second grade class.

That week when we walked into the school and saw our second grade students in the hall, they asked me if I could remember their names. I went down the list, one name at a time. They were all shocked. When it was time to teach their character class they were all so excited to see what we had to show them. They behaved very well, and listened attentively to what  we taught them!

I thank God that He showed us the key to reaching these children. We all want to be special and valued as individuals. I thank God that He knows me by my name! Clarissa Chavez

Click here to join us in making a difference in the next generation!

Find out more about how we invest in children’s lives!

What His Mom Never Taught Him

It was time to teach our big one—the class of 44 kindergarteners. (Yes, all in one class.) Just then we heard it—a loud, high pitched wailing coming from a group of children returning from recess to their classroom down the hallway.

My first thought when I teachers' lounge-1heard the crying was, “Bless those teachers’ hearts.” Before long, though, I realized that the noise was coming from our class of 44 kindergarteners. Now I was thinking, “Bless our hearts!” and dreading what was to come.

The teachers told the crying boy to stay in the hallway while the other kids filed past him into their classroom. Once he could calm down and listen, he would be allowed to go in and sit down. I sensed God wanted me to stop and talk to him, so my teaching partner went in to start the lesson while I talked to my new friend Bryson.

I asked him if he knew why he was in trouble. He told me it was because he didn’t listen to his teacher.

“Why didn’t you listen?”

small group-1With tears streaming down his face he explained, “ I don’t know how to listen. My mom never taught me how.”

That broke my heart. I remembered the listening game we play at Bible club: touch your head, touch your ears, touch your knees. I decided to try it with Bryson, and then we talked some more. When he was ready to go back to class, I asked him what he was going to work on this week. Without a word, he touched his eyes, then his ears, then his nose.

Huh?  What kind of response was that? Then it dawned on me, he was doing our listening game! He knew he needed to work on listening.

For the rest of the class he was super attentive while we taught. It’s amazing what God can do through just one conversation with a child. Brenna Rawson


Click here to learn more about our public school character education program.

Join us in making a difference by investing in the work that is taking place! Click here!

Why She Acts the Way She Does

The girl rushed past us in the hall. We had just finished a character lessonDebora, Jordan and Joy in her class moments before, so I wondered why she was so upset.  Then I recalled an incident during the lesson when she had started to say something and didn’t get to finish. Could that have had anything to do with it?

A few minutes later I found her in the school office, with arms crossed and face clenched in a tough scowl. Pain and defeat filled her eyes. I decided to approach her.

“What was it you were going to say in class earlier?” I inquired.  Then I asked her why she doesn’t listen in class. I wanted her to tell me the real reason.

She welled up with frustration and anger. “I always get corrected!  I can never do anything right!” she said.

“So you don’t even try, right?”

She hung her head. We talked for a few minutes, and the Lord gave me the words to comfort and encourage her. I also challenged her to apologize to her teacher for her bad attitude.

Later, when we went back to her class to get some students who needed tutoring, she was one of the children selected for us to help. Just before we left the room, I saw her tugging on her teacher’s shirt and asking, “Can I tell you something?”

classroomHer teacher looked unamused, but as the girl whispered something into her ear, the teacher’s eyes began to light up. I couldn’t tell what she whispered, but I do know that the time we spent tutoring the girl went incredibly well.

Later I passed the same teacher in the hall, and she asked me how tutoring went. I told her what a good job her student did, and then I broached the topic of behavior.

“I think I may know why she acts the way she does.” I took a deep breath. “She really wants to please you and her peers, but she doesn’t feel she can do anything right. So I think she acts up just to impress.”

The teacher seemed surprised that this girl had actually opened up so much to me. We talked for over half an hour about ways to reach the students in her classroom and topics we could cover in the character lesson the next week.

I’m excited about making a difference in these students’ lives. They used to dislike having us there, but now they give us hugs as we leave. And the Lord has allowed us to reach out to their teacher, too!  God is at work, and I believe that if they’ll apply the things we’ve taught them in character classes, they will finish the school year stronger and smarter.

Please pray with me for this particular class, that they will ask about Jesus. That’s Who I really want them to know about and adore. Joy Roberts

Click here to read more about our mission to reach inner city children.