Making a Difference

When we are weakest. . .

By vmedina | Published September 23rd, 2013

team pictureIt was the second night of a 4-day Bible club some of us interns were doing for a church in the area, and none of us felt prepared. When we prayed on the way to the club, each of us told God we weren’t ready, weren’t prepared, and desperately needed Him to take it and do it for us. My brother, Daniel and I, had the older kids in our small group and I think we were the least prepared of everyone. When the kids arrived, they noticed that I kept a golf ball in my Bible case and asked why I did that. I told them that I keep it there to remind of how small I am, like a golf ball, and how great God is. I told them that the Bible says that God breathed the stars out of His mouth. We discussed how huge the stars are and how much bigger our God is. They were awestruck that God is so huge, and yet takes the time to number the hairs on our head! Then we talked about that night’s lesson for about 5 minutes, until one of the kids mentioned boyfriends and girlfriends.
We realized that we needed to put our lesson on pause and reach these kids’ needs that they were open to. We then talked about how important it is to keep our hearts only for the one we marry. We spent probably 30 minutes discussing IMG_0742what God says about it as well as many other issues that they had questions about. As we were packing things up for the night, I couldn’t stop praising God for what He had done! I truly believe that if we hadn’t felt totally unprepared, and so been “forced”, if you will, to give it all completely to God, that discussion would never have taken place! Truly, it is when we are weakest, that God is strongest!
-Victoria Getz

Lost in the Darkness

By vmedina | Published September 9th, 2013

A world of darkness surrounds the schools. A world I have no experience in. On this certain Tuesday morning, at recess, I caught a brief glance into the dark world many of the children are livinDSC_1090_redoneg in. I sat down on a swing next to a fourth grade girl who was by herself. She began telling me about how she was being bullied, and how she would soon be changing schools as a result. Then she began to tell me that she had a baby sibling on the way. When I asked her if she was excited about becoming a big sister she said, “No.” I ask her “why not?” and she said it was because her sibling would be bullied. She didn’t want that to happen to her sibling, and therefore didn’t want her sibling to be born. She then began telling me how she had stood up for a friend who was being bullied, and ended up getting attacked by the bullies, with the end resulting in her being hospitalized. One glance into that world of darkness broke my heart. These children have no light of hope. They don’t know how God could change their world of darkness into aDSC_8202_redone world of light. God used that to give me the desire to show those children lost in a dark world the hope, and light of Jesus. I want to be one of the ones used to chase away the darkness, and bring these children light, and show them the reason to live — Jesus!

-Kristina Dzimianski

Making a Difference!

By vmedina | Published July 1st, 2013

He seemed like a really nice kid. He was one of the more attentive boys in our small-group at Bible club, and I had no reason to believe that his life was anything but perfectly normal. He had a sister and two parents, which in and of itself was a blessing, and he got along with everyone pretty well. Or so I thought. For as this boy was living his life, he had been exposed to, and was believing, the lies of the Enemy. As a result, this boy was sure that he had no friends, that his sister hated him, and that everyone viewed him as annoying. I was surprised, to say the least. “Maybe other boys, but surely not this one,” I thought. But he shocked me more when he began to relate how there was someone in his life whom he hated with all his strength. A person whom he viewed as his archenemy. A fourth grader named Logan.
According to my Bible club boy, Logan was a tyrant surpassed only by Hitler in his twisted quest to inflict pain on others and bring insult and oppression. Logan cared not for the human race, and only restrained the outpouring of his wrath for a few select whom he called friends.DSC_0614
Yes, it did actually sound like something from a Medieval drama the way the boy told it, but what really struck me was the fact that he had no clue that it was wrong to hate people. I told him he needed to be kind. I told him he needed to forgive. Both times he thought for a moment, and then flippantly stated that it wasn’t going to happen. I had to consciously keep my jaw from dropping, and keep my voice from sounding too incredulous. I showed him from the Bible all the things I had just told him. But it wasn’t registering. He continued to insist that Logan didn’t deserve love and that his behavior deserved any punishment that he received.
Finally, as I continued to show him from the Bible what Jesus said about our enemies, and as I explained the love of God, a flicker of light seemed to come into his eyes.
His mother came a few minutes later, and as he left, I challenged him to forgive Logan, reminding him that he couldn’t love in his own strength, but could do so only through the power and love of Jesus Christ.
Later that day, as I thought about what had occurred, the incident reminded me that these kids are needy. They have problems and struggles that are often worse than what we as “older” people face. But I praise the Lord that He allowed me to open His Word to this boy, and help him begin to understand more about God’s nature and ways. That’s what it’s all about. May we all be open to the Spirit’s leading in our lives as we seek to make a difference, one life at a time, in this world where God has placed us for His glory alone!

-Angelo Oliverio

The Biggest Problem!

By vmedina | Published May 16th, 2013

Last night, after listening to a video session by Howard Hendricks aIMG_7594bout 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 DSC_6083problem, 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!

-Emma Howell

God’s Blessings

By vmedina | Published March 8th, 2013

God loves to bless His children with good gifts. This week God chose to pour out His blessings in a way that I will never forget. Yesterday He gave me the opportunity the share the gospel again with a child I tutored at Lee Elementary. I _DSC0156was so encouraged! Then today, as we jumped into the van and prayed on the way to Bible Club, I didn’t know what God had in store for me. Towards the end of our small group time, I asked one of my girls that when we do bad things where will we go when we die? She replied, “hell”. I asked her, “have you ever done anything bad?” “Yes” she answered. I followed up with “then where will you go when you die?” She thought for a second and then responded, “hell?”. “Does that concern you?” I asked. “Well, I don’t know what hell means.” I explained what hell meant and then shared the gospel with her. She said she hadn’t asked Jesus into her and heart and that she wanted to do so. I went through and asked several questions. By her answers, I knew that she really understood the gospel. God worked in her heartPicture1 and she chose to pray and place her trust in Jesus to forgive her sins. I was SO excited! As I shared the verses in Hebrews about how the Lord is our helper and that God will never leave us, she was so thrilled that God wanted to get to know her and would be with her through everything she faced. God allowed me to share His truth with this little girl. I am so grateful for the way that God’s Spirit worked in her life today. Even though I may never see her again here on this earth, I can rest assured that I will see her on another brighter day in an eternal land where we will see Jesus, our precious Savior, together.
By Katie R.

In Everything Give Thanks

By vmedina | Published February 12th, 2013
The team and I were havinPicture10g lunch in the teacher’s lounge when all of a sudden, in the next room over, I heard, “To God be the glory great things He has done!” Greatly surprised and curious, I glanced over my shoulder to see who had belted out the first line of a hymn in a public school.
It was one of the teachers!
Right after lunch, we had character lessons in her class, so I took the opportunity to mention her impromptu solo in passing. She smiled a little and said, “Oh, so you heard that?” And she shared a little about how some of her students were being difficult that day, and that was what triggered the song. My heart rejoiced that she would fall back on our great God when she was having a rough day with her class! Because, truly, everything should be for His glory. But because of where we currently were, it was not wise to continue the discussion. “With who you all are–we’ll keep it between us,” she concluded knowingly.
We do have godly men and women in our public schools. They are doing their best with what they have. And they need our prayers more than ever! Please keep our school teachers in mind as you pray for us, because they spend so much more time with the kids than we ever do. Pray that Christian teachers everywhere will hold onto God’s bigger vision of why they were called into the field of education despite the difficult kids, long days, or the pressures of teaching. May God have the glory!
Psalms 18:49 – “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto Thy name.”

Divine Appointment

By hburnett | Published January 16th, 2013

Where am I going to sit? This is the question I ask every Monday at lunch. There are so many children I could sit with. Finally, I sat down next to some 6th grade girls. We talked about family, Thanksgiving, and other things. I was rather disappointed that nothing significant happened.

Then the 6th grade boy sitting next to me said, “I have a question for you. Have you ever thought about immortality?”
“Yes, I believe every one has a spirit in them that is the real person. When we die, I believe we go to heaven or hell.”
“I believe that too,” he said.
I was so excited! “Do you know how to get to heaven?”
“Hmm… by being good?”
“No, that’s not what the Bible says.”
“Oh, I know – it’s by having a pure soul.” Just then his class started preparing to leave the lunchroom.
Quickly, I said, “No, it’s through God’s Son. Do you know who that is?”
“Jesus (he pronounced it Hay-soos).” I then quickly explained how God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Then, he left.
It was the last day that we get to go to that school this session. I didn’t know where to sit, but God placed me where He wanted me. Even though the conversation with the girls wasn’t deep, I know God will use that, too. This session God has given me several opportunities to talk about Christ at school. I love to watch Him work!
~Michaela C.

Boyfriends & Missionaries…

By hburnett | Published January 10th, 2013

Our last class is done, and I am walking down the hall, headed for my waiting ride. Just ahead of me is the girls’ bathroom and there are about five fifth grade girls standing outside of it. As I walk towards them, one says something and points to me. I don’t know why, but I walk over to them and tell the girl, “Are you saying things about me behind my back? Well, it’s okay.  I love you anyway.”  She knew I was joking, and she said, “No, no.  Of course not.”  Then I talked with them for a minute or two, and they asked me if I had a boyfriend.  I told them, “No.”  Then they asked me if when I was older, which one of the superstars I would want to date. I told them I didn’t know who the superstars were. They asked me, “Then what would you want in a boyfriend?” They asked!!! So, I told them!

“First, I would want a man who loves God with all his heart and who is serving God. Also, I think I would want a man who wants to be a missionary.” One girl asked me, “What is a missionary?” Before I could answer, one of the other girls piped up, “Oh, I know, I know; let me tell her. A missionary is someone who tells other people about Jesus.” I said, “You’re right! But, do you have to go somewhere far away to be a missionary, or can you be a missionary right here in Oklahoma City?” The same girl as before answered right away, “No. You can be a missionary at home. I’m being a missionary right now because I’m telling you guys about Jesus.” That got me so excited; I was almost walking on air as I walked out to the van! God is at work even in the smallest details!

~Joanna K.

A Different Sort of Seed

By hburnett | Published January 9th, 2013

Last week our challenge to fourth grade was to not say bad words.  Over lunch, I had a lengthy conversation with them about bad language, and what they should do when a movie they are watching has bad language.

Then, while tutoring our second grade class, I was able to talk to them about forgiveness.  I shared a personal story about forgiveness with them, and one of the girls told me about how she has to forgive a particular person almost every day.  Two of them told me how their parents don’t forgive each other, and they fight all the time.  I hurt for these kids; one told me that it makes her stomach hurt when her parents quarrel.

Sometimes, it feels like what I do isn’t enough.  But the Lord is showing me that just being there for the child when he or she wants to talk and share is huge!  If they feel comfortable telling me about their struggles at home, then I am able to show them that I love them and care about what they go through–indirectly, they are seeing God’s love!

~Julia D.

I Would Never Have Known

By hburnett | Published December 12th, 2012

One of the main points we were communicating last week was to encourage others in hard times. We showed some of our classes how we should help others when they are having a hard time. In the cafeteria, we saw one of our fourth grade girls sitting by herself, crying and crying. After talking with her, we found out that her family was going through some really hard times. We talked with her for a while, and soon children from other grades started coming up and encouraging her. It was awesome to see people from all ages come up and say something uplifting or try to put a smile back on her face.

We had been teaching her class for six weeks and never knew that she was having such a hard time. She always smiled, talked, and participated in class, without me even sensing a problem. If I hadn’t seen her crying, I never would have known there was something wrong. How many other people do we talk to every day that are going through hard times. God used this experience to show me that Loyalty isn’t just helping out others when you see they are having problems, but to treat everyone with love because you may never know what they are going through.

~Victoria H.