A Life Changed


Have you ever prayed for someone for six whole months? I have. There was a girl in particular that I taught about half a year ago. What made her stand out was that she was looking for acceptance, but trying to get it in all the wrong ways. She would put on an act of defiance in order to get attention, but that would often get her into trouble. Back then, by the end of our teaching time at Bible club, she would often leave angry and upset. I was unsure how to show God’s love to her, especially since I was now a leader for another group of girls.

Unexpectedly, I ended up getting switched to teaching her just for that day. It didn’t take long to realize that God had been changing her. She was engaged the entire time! The act of defiance was completely gone. What happened? I got to witness God’s hand at work!

Sometimes I feel like it’s all up to me to cause a change in the kids, but it’s not. He is the One who causes lasting change. It wasn’t a super awesome Bible story or a class with perfect content that changed this young girl; it was simply the fact that we have a powerful God who works through prayer. I no longer have to worry  whether or not I have the perfect lesson plan, because God has given me peace in knowing that He will change these students in His perfect way. Rebekah Dery, Level 2

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Just What I Needed to Hear

God doesn’t make things easy.

At least, that’s how I felt over the past few months. However, God revealed to me His heart towards this through many things He brought into my life.

At Character Camp the leaders gave an illustration on how staying inside our comfort zone can keep us from God’s best for us. One teacher stood inside a box while the other told her to grab a chocolate bar that was across the room. The leader in the box couldn’t reach it because she was confined to her comfort zone. Not only was this effective in teaching the kids the importance of stepping out in faith, but God also used it to show me that He wants to grow my faith as well.

One of the Monday night sessions we have at ITG was about the hidden power of trials. Though I naturally run from things that are difficult, the book of Hebrews says that without faith it is impossible to please God, and 1 Peter says that trials make our faith stronger. Once I come to trust that God has a good purpose in allowing my trials, I can embrace them instead of running away from them. Our instructor that night used a lever to illustrate this lesson. The lever is a simple machine used to gain leverage and lift heavy objects. In order to increase leverage, we move the fulcrum closer to the weight, not farther from it. In the same way, God doesn’t want us to run away from things that are difficult, but towards them, viewing those hard things as opportunities to grow in faith.

Instead of making my life as easy as possible, God is strengthening my faith and relationship with Him. I’m so thankful that God is teaching me exactly what I’ve needed to learn, at exactly the right season in my life. Crystal Collins, Education Director

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Antifragile In All Situations

Do you know what my greatest fear is? I fear pain; I dread discomfort. Physical, emotional, spiritual discomfort—I recoil at the thought. I believe that it is in human nature to hate pain, because, at its basic level, pain is usually an indication that something is amiss. When we feel pain, we instinctively want to identify and eliminate the cause. However, the lesson that God has been teaching me is that pain can be used for good.

My disposition was tested this fall when I discovered that I would be teaching, by myself, a thirty-hour course in a single week. Talk about pressure and discomfort! I wanted to run away. Of course, that was not a viable option, so I had to choose another plan of action, which was to begin preparing with much prayer and supplication. God says in His word to count it all joy when trials come, because it produces patience. As the preparation advanced, I felt secure in the knowledge that God loves me, that He would supply all my needs, and that it was all going to be worth it in the end. Armed with that perspective, I had fun preparing and teaching the classes to five bright students. God miraculously protected my voice, energy, and enthusiasm during that week, proving to me personally that He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. God used this stressful situation to prove Himself and to grow my faith. I’m still a work in progress, and every so often the dread of discomfort assails me. But my perspective is changing, and instead of seeing hardships as the enemy, I want to see them as an obstacle course carefully crafted by God to call out the antifragility in me. How about you? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live a life that is antifragile in all situations? With God, you can! Chrysendrea Lee, Curriculum Developer

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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

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