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 heard 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?”
With 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
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The girl rushed past us in the hall. We had just finished a character lesson 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?”
Her 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.
It is a privilege to be able to share the gospel with such a receptive audience. Yes, some of the children have been tainted by things they have been exposed to, things that have hardened them. However, the gospel still transcends culture and environment. It is truly amazing to see how powerful the gospel is.
One week at Bible Club, my teaching partner and I presented the gospel message to our Kindergarten and 1st grade boys. As Tori explained what Christ did for us, they boys made bracelets that had colors to represent each part of the gospel. It was incredible to see how the passion and excitement for the gospel was contagious. We told them that each color on their bracelet told part of the most powerful message that has ever been told. I told them that they could use the colors to tell the story to their friends and family. One of the little boys pointed to his bracelet and said, “I am going to keep this on and tell the story to my kids. I am never going to take it off, even when I die, they will have to bury me with it!” He was very passionate and excited about the most incredible act of love ever demonstrated.
The power of the gospel message hasn’t changed. It is still powerful, amazing, and awe-inspiring! God is very much alive and He is still transforming lives today!
I had the bible lesson plus I was sharing the wordless book in my Bible Club small group. I was feeling very unprepared and just plain nervous. I was in my room and I prayed, asking God to come and help me because there was no way I was going to make it on my own. It’s amazing how simple anything can be when you put it in His hands.
Well I went to club I started running around like a chicken with a head cut off getting everything set up for my story, but when I sat down with my small group to do the wordless book, God really took over! A little boy got saved! He was so sincere and so ready. After that, I did my Bible lesson with lots of help from the team as actors and you could just see on his face, everything was making sense, the links were clear to him. He was following along and now he understood! It was hands down my favorite day and one I will never forget! God has taught me so much while here at In the Gap but one of the most important is just to trust Him and let Him lead.
Last night, after listening to a video session by Howard Hendricks about knowing the needs of your class, I decided that I would do a survey in my classes today to see what their needs really were. The survey was fairly simple, with four basic questions: What is the biggest problem in your life right now? What makes you sad? What are you most afraid of? And what makes you feel the most loved? What an eye-opener these turned out to be! These were some of their answers from two third and fourth grade classes:
For the biggest problem in their life, the answers were heartbreaking. One said “I don’t know who or where my Dad is” another said that people picking on her was her biggest problem, another said diabetes. They went on and the answers got deeper about what their fears were and what makes them sad. I don’t know about you, but personally, my problems just got a whole lot smaller. I seem to get so wrapped up in my own world that I forget to think of the things others are going through!
When I came to In the Gap, I was hoping to be able to work with all younger kids, but when I found out that I was on the list to teach a 6th grade class, I was seriously scared. The first week of teaching went smoothly, but I didn’t want to talk much so I let my teaching partner do most of the talking. The 6th graders seemed to be staring at me with their intimidating faces. To say I was a bit shy would be an understatement. But this week was a little different. You see, I asked the Lord to give me boldness to overcome my fears. He did! This week the classroom went amazingly well and I could already feel my confidence rising. After our teaching time, I headed to the cafeteria to go eat with the kids. When I arrived, I sat at a table with one girl from my 6th grade class. I had just started up a small conversation with her when three other girls from the same class came up to sit down.
“Hey, you teach our class” one pointed out. Just minutes after they were seated, one girl opened up and shared her heartbreaking story of how both of her parents and one of her older brothers had died just 6 months ago. She went on to say how she now lives with her Aunt, and that her older sister is “pregnant and she shouldn’t be”. Only one of her five siblings has any sort of relationship with her. As she continued her story, my heart was overwhelmed to hear what this young girl was going through. When she finished, she added that her favorite thing to do was to come to school on Thursdays—which is the day that we teach her character class! I am so thankful that God gave me the boldness to talk with her and just to listen to her story. Please continue to pray for the children we work with and even children all over the world who have similar stories as this 6th grader. Pray that God would give them a desire to know Him!