Changed In An Instant

img_1786I love the difficult kids. I was a very logical type of kid, so I love to work with children that critically examine what I teach about Christ. While these students tend to make sharp comments, their sarcasm often comes from a highly developed mind. At Bible club, I had a very fun group of girls. They were very attentive, but it was difficult to teach that many girls in a small group setting. We had seventeen students at one point, and eventually we had to split off so I only had eleven. I felt overwhelmed and wondered if any of them were truly being reached. I had Yocelyn on my group. Intelligent, sarcastic, and obviously hurting, she had a sharp wit that she used to cut those around her. It is easy to regard children like that as disruptions or troublemakers, but in reality, they’re the thinkers.   It was the second to last week. We sat in large group, listening as the leader was sharing about Christ’s blood and how it cleanses us from sin, when Yocelyn leaned over and asked me a penetrating question. I answered it as quietly as I could. Another question followed instantly. Again, I answered it. Her voice continued to rise as her mind played with what she was hearing. She wanted answers and she wanted them now! Even with eleven girls, I wasn’t going to let this one go! I pulled her out of the group and into the hallway. As we talked, she listened with complete interest and focus, looking at the verses I showed her. img_7542“Yocelyn, have you ever made the decision to become God’s child before?” She shook her head. “Would you like to?” “Yes!” Too shy to pray in front of me, she ran to a corner alone to tell Jesus what was going on inside of her heart. I could see a new peace behind the brilliant twinkle in her eyes. The rest of the afternoon, she was different. It was a subtle difference. The way she handled herself and smiled demonstrated the change that Christ had made inside her. My brilliant little thinker is going to be a world-changer! The children that are easiest to disregard are often the most important to reach. They’re our future! They will change our world. Julia Duncan, Community Ministry Director Click HERE to apply and join our Winter 2017 Session!

Something I Thought Would Never Happen

  20161116_150901She sits attentively in the front row in class, ready to ask questions and learn. The only problem is that I can’t talk about God with her. Dana* and another boy from that class had come to Character Camp a few weeks before, and it was exciting to see them in school again. However I didn’t know how to teach them more about the Bible. Both are enrolled in different after-school programs and are unable to come to Bible club. One Thursday after Bible club, we were at school waiting for some kids to get picked up, when Dana walked up and gave me a big hug. I asked her what she had learned that day and how she was doing. She answered both questions in an off-hand manner. “I just wanted to tell you that I’ve been writing a lot in the thankfulness journal you gave me.” I was so surprised! During character camp my teaching partner and I had given our girls little notebooks to record things they were thankful for. I hadn’t really expected them to carry through with writing in it. “Hey, do you remember the hand motions we taught you?” img_7496I asked. We went through all the hand motions right there in front of the school. “With Jesus in my heart, God gives me the power to do what is right. To follow his word and His plans for me, and when hard things happen I can still give thanks ‘cuz it helps me grow!” To see a child understand that truth is life changing. Though I had been thinking that there was no way I could teach Dana about God, God taught me through Dana that anything is possible. Evelyn Calderon, Level 1 *name changed for child’s protection Click here to learn about our Leadership Academy!

An Unforgettable Idea

What should we teach? It was time to plan for the next day of school. My teaching partner and I sat down, img_2957_resizedprayed, and began planning. We knew that we were going to teach 4th-6th graders, but we had very few ideas in our lesson plan. The 6th grade class was especially worrisome because at times, the students in that class were excited and engaged, but other times, they seemed bored. We were out of ideas on what to do, so our school leader came over and started asking us questions about the class to help us figure out a good solution. That’s when God gave my teaching partner and me a brilliant idea! One of my illustrations was to tell a story, but I really didn’t want to bore the 6th graders by having them sit through a disengaging story. My teaching partner shared an idea that could bring the story to life and include the kids, so we got all the supplies and props that we needed to make this idea a reality! img_2739_resizedThe next day we went to our first class using the new idea, and it went really well! But that was with the 4th grade class, and our 6th grade class was scheduled to be next. My teaching partner and I went in and began teaching. To our amazement, they enjoyed the activity immensely, and nearly everyone was fascinated! That day was one of my best teaching days at that school. Every single class enjoyed the activity and not only were the children engaged, but a teacher in a particular class was so captivated by what was going on that she sat with the children to listen with them! God reminded me that He helps us in our times of need and He never leaves us or forsakes us! What an honor it is to experience that firsthand! Lydia Martens, Level 1 Click here to read more about our character education program!

Experiencing God’s Power

I was freaking out. I was supposed to give the Bible lesson at our biggest Bible club. But how could I talk in front of 80 kids or more, let alone keep their attention? Worse yet, this Bible club had a reputation of being one of the loudest and hardest groups to teach. I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
img_2522_2The first step in preparing for my Bible lesson was to study the corresponding passage of scripture. I began reading Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. These men chose to stand alone and follow God instead of obeying King Nebuchadnezzar. Though they faced death as their punishment for disobedience, they still obeyed God, and He rewarded them by saving them from the furnace. Stories like this have always inspired me.
After reading the passage, I started to get really excited about my Bible lesson, and brainstormed ideas on how I could make my lesson exciting for the kids. With the help of some friends, I came up with a fun introduction and some visual aids to illustrate the story. Finally, the day of club came. I was anticipating a huge group of noisy, distracted children and envisioning myself yelling at the top of my lungs to keep their attention. I prayed that God would allow His peace to reign at Bible club, and asked Him to work a miracle in the hearts of the children.
img_1286_2God answered my prayer. As I gave the Bible lesson, I wasn’t nervous at all. He was speaking through me. The kids were listening and paying attention! Afterwards, I got to talk to several children who had questions about God. This experience reminds me of God’s power and how He is in control. His power and peace will always reign. Carolyn Hills, Level 3 Click here to sign up for our 2017 Winter session!

Carrying Our Burdens

Thoughts of failure overwhelmed me as I tried to finish my homework. I needed twelve ideas—object lessons, illustrations, or skits—to complete my paper, and so far I had a total of one. I also had to give a speech the next day, and I was stressing out. In the throes of trying to do my work and overcome the worry gnawing at my mind, God reminded me of how many times He commands us in the Bible to trust Him. unnamed-1 That night I gave God all my worries about the next day, praying that His will would be done. My burdens were lifted, and I went to sleep with a renewed confidence. The next morning God prompted me to give my speech on the subject of trusting Him with everything. I passed the speech, and by that afternoon I had completed all my homework—with time to spare! God taught me that when He is in control, He gives us peace and carries our burdens. He is always faithful, no matter how we feel. OB Kwon, Level 1 Click here to read more about our internship program!