Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Love wins children’s hearts! (OJT Report, part 1)

Here is the first of the inspiring stories and experiences you have all been waiting for! 

Love really wins hearts, especially the hearts of children! But how does love work with a whole room full of naughty, noisy children who don’t understand the language of the foreign teacher? Keep reading!

Our Chinese student, Anita was sent to a city several hours north of Manila for her OJT. She was the one doing the child evangelism and another classmate was her partner for the adult evangelism. The opening night of November 8 soon arrived and this was one of the sites who were able to start that night since the typhoon did not reach their area. Anita said, “Though there was little church support, we were still blessed that there were many children who came to the opening night!”

The Pastor had told them earlier that they would have 2 projectors – one for the adults and one for the kids. But just the day before they were to start, Anita was told that one of the projectors would not be available. Plus she didn’t have a sound system, either. Everything seemed so hopeless, but Anita earnestly prayed that God would provide. After praying, she felt peace in her heart and was no longer anxious. Just before the program was to start the opening night, another pastor came and brought his projector and sound system and let them use it! Commenting on the story, she said: “My heart was filled with joy and I was so thankful to the Lord! He really answered my prayers and He always provides for us at the time we need it most.
Some of her friends.

Since the children did not understand English, Anita used a translator to help them understand the message. As she continued her program, the first 4 nights were very challenging! The room for the 
children was so small and it was crowded full of lots of noisy kids. Probably just being in such a small, hot, stuffy room made them so noisy! Sometimes the children were talking so loudly that Anita had to stop her presentation to discipline and restore order to the place.

But on the 5th night, something changed! Anita took time to talk to the children – especially to the boys who were the major source of all the noise most of the time. She said, “When I talked to them with love from the bottom of my heart, things began to change. My attention for them worked wonders! Since that night, they behaved far better than ever before and kept quietly listening to my story. Love can do so much!”

During the second week of their seminar, the children got better every day. Some of them would come at 4:30 in the afternoon, though they didn’t start until 6:30. They wanted to make sure they were there and how they loved to learn their memory verse! The truth was really touching their hearts and they began to listen much more carefully to the stories. Anita added: “What a big difference it was to compare them with the first week when they came. They were just busy talking to each other or sitting there absent-mindedly. God really changed them!”

Thought Anita didn’t speak the children’s language, she spoke something that all of them understand and that was the message of Jesus’ love shining through her heart to them. She said, “Love is the best way to work with kids. I never shouted at them and every time they got noisy, I just smiled at them. I was so blessed that God put His love deep in my heart for these children and that’s the only way I was able to be calm and patient with them. Only love can awaken love. I worked with the noisiest boy the most and his attitude has changed a lot! Now he speaks politely to me and listens very quietly in the story. When it’s time for the children to go home, many of them want to shake my hands. Someone nearby told me, ‘The children love you so much.’ I know there is a reason why they love me, because I love them from the bottom of my heart – a love that only comes from God, the source of love.”

Anita and her translator
Yes, Anita was the children’s friend because she had Christ’s love for them in her heart. Most of the children could hardly speak English, but they all tried to talk with her and one little 8 year old boy became her translator when the children wanted to communicate with her since his English was quite good. They had such fun together!

One night just before the meeting, it rained very heavily. They were worried that the children wouldn’t come since many came from far away. But when we started more than 2/3rds of our children were there! That was a great encouragement that the children would come even through the rain to hear God’s words!

Day after day went swiftly by and soon one month was over. During that one month, Anita’s friendship with those children grew deep and strong. They would love to sit with her and were so interested in her Chinese language that she taught them a Chinese song. All carefully learned it and in just a few days, they could sing it so well!

After the baptism and graduation of the last Sabbath, they planned a social night for the children. But it turned into a crying night! Almost all the children cried that Anita and her partner and translator would be leaving. They all told her, “Teacher, I will miss you very much!” She said, “Even the naughtiest boy cried a lot, which I never thought he would. But the most amazing thing was that this boy who was so very naughty in the beginning was so changed by the truths of God’s word that he decided to be baptized! That was so amazing and so encouraging, too! When the Holy Spirit works on one’s heart, he will never be the same as before! That’s God’s power!

What was her counsel for those working with children in God’s vineyard?

“When the children get noisy and disobey, don’t shout at them! It might work for awhile, but it won’t change them. They will do the same thing later and sometimes even worse than before. Shouting is not the solution. Smile with love is a powerful weapon and no one can reject its power. If you want to change children, there is really no other way but to love them. There is power in love, which can change their hearts. Drown their disobeying with your love. Children are very sensitive and they can feel and receive your love when you really love and care for them. When they love you, they will listen to you and respect all you say.”

The team and their baptismal candidates.
And that was just one of the many amazing stories coming from the student’s OJT time! Keep checking for more stories – soon to come!