|Some of the students with the children they picked up every night.|
“Let the children come,” said Jesus to the disciples who were seeking to drive away the mothers and their children who had come to see Jesus. Jesus loves children and loves to see them learn to love Him!
When we started our evangelistic meeting here at the Manila Center SDA Church, we included a children’s program. Many invitations were handed out inviting people to come to the seminar and the free children’s program was included.
However, the first night came and we had very few children – mostly SDA children. All children are special and we were glad for who came, but we decided it would be nice to have more children to work with! After a few days, several of our students noticed an area not too far away that had lots and lots of children!
So arrangements were made and permission was gained from the parents and here came lots and lots of children – brought in by our students! In one night, our attendance drastically increased! These were street children and it took them a little time to get used to the rules of the program, but they learned fast!
Commenting on some of these children, one student said, “It was a miserable week for me because of getting sick. My cough made me so I could not speak very well and also made me very weak and this made me so upset at times. But coming to the children’s program and seeing the children brought me lots of joy. I was in charge of a group of these street children. The next night, I was switched to another group. But a boy from my previous group liked to sit with me. And his teacher called him back to his group. But every time when the children stood up to sing, he got a chance to move toward me a little – until he moved right beside me. It was so funny! No matter which group I was assigned to, he would come and sit with me and then he and his friends started bringing me candy or biscuits every night as a token of their love and friendship. I love those wild street children and got lots of joy from them!”
Every night that we had a meeting found several students going to that area to find the children, load them up in a jeepney or tricycle and bring them to the meetings. And how the children loved to be there! At our program, they found love and security and kindness (along with learning to follow the rules). Their singing was so enthusiastic and full of energy and every night, the children inspired us teachers!
One student who goes every night to get the kids said this: “I learned many lessons from those children that we picked up every night. When we go to get them in their homes, we really need to be kind to them and have lots of patience! But I’m so blessed with them! Even if it’s pouring rain outside, they are so excited to come to the meeting and learn more about Jesus!”
Another student commented:
“My partner and I tried to visit the homes of some children to ask the parents’ permission to bring their children to the evening meetings. We visited the house of Joshua (one of the children) and we met his family. We did a health survey with them. While we were doing the survey, it was raining. After we talked to them for awhile, we had to go back to the church for the seminar and when we opened the door of their house, I was shocked! We are surrounded by a flood of water. So we took off our sock and shoes and rolled up our pants and walked in the flood. People smiled at us and we smiled back. We were so wet when we reached the church, but so happy to be doing God’s work! And in Joshua's house (because of him – the child), we got a Bible study!”
Children are so open to the gospel! One student said:
“While we were doing health surveys, one young boy invited us to their home to do the survey. I was so inspired because the boy was so receptive! The grandma definitely was not! The child was enthusiastic and bubbly and most importantly, open to the message! I was so inspired to teach kids because of so many positive traits they have! If they are given love and kindness, most will turn out to be sweet, humble, caring and innocent.”
As we staff and the students have worked with these street children, we have been so inspired by their enthusiasm for learning God’s Word! Many of them are sharing with their parents and families the truths they are learning and we never know what God will do through those children!
“It is still true that children are the most susceptible to the teachings of the gospel; their hearts are open to divine influences, and strong to retain the lessons received. The little children may be Christians, having an experience in accordance with their years. They need to be educated in spiritual things, and parents should give them every advantage, that they may form characters after the similitude of the character of Christ.” Desire of Ages, page 515.
Work for the children, friends! Let them come to Jesus to be changed by His power! :)