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!
I had the Bible lesson on Friday. It was going to be about the Garden of Eden, and I was stressing out. I felt like it was going to be the hardest Bible lesson I could ever teach, and I was terrified of failing, especially since it was going to be the first story told at Moon Bible Club.
Right before I was to tell the story, I ran out for a few minutes and I prayed that whatever happened, the story would turn out for God’s glory. I asked Him to place the words in my mouth and speak through me.
As I told the story, God gave me every word I needed! And I noticed one little girl in the front row who answered all the questions correctly. I figured, from her knowledge, that she was already saved. But when I gave the invitation, she raised her hand. I didn’t think she was really serious.
When she came back for counseling, and I asked her exactly why she had come to talk to me, she said, “Because I want to ask Jesus to come into my heart.” I hardly had to tell her anything about the Gospel, all I did was coach her through John 1:12. She prayed to accept Jesus as her Savior!
It was the first time I have been able to lead a child to Christ! It was so exciting to see Him draw her, and to realize that it wasn’t anything I did. It was all Jesus! He took a terrified little intern and spoke through her! And it was all for His glory. -Julia D.
There was a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.
But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records, and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners, he is a joy to be around.” His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.” His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.” Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.”
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem, and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.
On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer-the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago, and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.” Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”
Make a difference!
There are thousands of children like Teddy all around us today. Here at In The Gap we are working to raise up the next generation of teachers, missionaries, mentors, and leaders to help them make a positive difference on the “Teddy’s” of this world. Join with us! Click here to invest in this next generation!