Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let the Children Come...

Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Today you and I can bring the children to Jesus to be blessed by Him, too!

Every time we have a prophecy seminar, there is a program for the children. Here in the Philippines, children are everywhere and since they have the highest probability rating of accepting Christ, we do something for them too. Our PAFCOE students choose whether they will be an evangelist for adults or for children and those who choose to be child evangelists, have the blessed privilege of working for the little ones!

During the children’s program, we teach the children all the doctrines of the SDA church on a child’s level. Yes, children can understand all our doctrines! The following are some of the experiences of our students as they worked for the children.

One student who had chosen to do adult evangelism visited the program one night and this is what she said, “I had to opportunity to sit with the children in the evening. While I watched them and made friends with them, I could really see that many of them are struggling just to survive. I was about to eat my supper when one of them asked me for my food and I was so touched that when I gave it to her, she didn’t eat it herself. She gave it to her younger brother. I began to notice that many of them were covered with scars and realized that they were in a battle of survival. And many were not afraid to keep fighting. I really wanted to gather them all into my arms at that time and tell them they are not alone and that God really loves them. I was so touched with that one child that even though she is hungry, she thinks of others who might be more hungry than herself.”

Yes, some of the children (or many of them actually) had very hard lives and some were living on the street. But God loves those children too!

Another student said, “We entered our territory for distributing the children’s flyers and discovered it was an area with absolutely no children! What were we going to do? Just then a friend from Manila Center Church walked past and he ended up directing us to a nearby slum area where there was an elementary school and plenty of children. It’s so amazing how God answers our prayers before we even ask! I really learned the lesson of child-like trust this week. Working with the children is always a challenge but as they climb into your lap and show their love to you without limit, it is a reminder of how we should trust God. These children had only been with us for a few minutes but they already trusted us.”

She said later on, “This week, I learned to be a child with the children. One night we had a rough night with them, but as the Sabbath came, I purposed in my heart to smile to them whatever happened. That evening, I just spent time enjoying the kids – laughing with them and playing with them. And I could really see the difference it made in their attitudes toward me when I came down to their level. There was a little girl that always came to our group and was always smiling. When we came to pick her up with the other children Sabbath morning, she was reluctant to go because she had household responsibilities. But as we were about to leave, she ran to me and grabbed my arm and wanted to go along. That evening she was singing away, ‘Remember the Sabbath day…’ God is so good to move upon that little girl’s heart!”

Another child evangelist said, “I realized this week that the children attending our program really need a lot of attention and most of all – love. There was this one boy who was always faithful in attending our program and he even comes early, but he has no father anymore and he works all night collecting plastic bottles and anything to sell. I was so touched that a boy with such a hard life wants to learn more about God!”

One of the foreigners who chose to child evangelism said this, “I did not bring any children with me to the program and the teacher (that was me – the blog writer) asked me, ‘Why?’ I did not know why! When I went to bed, I was thinking of the reasons why I had not brought any children with me to our program. I realized that I wasn’t focused on soul-winning and I prayed to God to help me! The next day, my partner and I brought more than 20 kids to the program! I realized that God is always ready to help me, but I have to do my part too. Then when we invited the children, the problem was how to get to the program. There were no jeepneys around. So I prayed, ‘Lord, I have 20 kids but there are no jeepneys. Please send an empty jeepney to where we are.’ Just then an empty jeepney stopped in front of us and I asked the driver to bring us to UP (University of the Philippines) and he agreed! I am so grateful!”

Later on he said, “Rain is a big problem for us. One night just as the children’s program finished, there was very heavy rain. We had brought more than 20 kids that night and none had an umbrella – including us! I had the responsibility to keep them safe and dry and return them to their parents. So I prayed, ‘O Lord, please look upon these dear children. If they get wet, maybe their parents will not allow them to come back to the program anymore. So please, stop the rain so we can go home!’ After my prayer, the rain stopped and we could bring every one of them back to their place!”

Another student who was also a foreigner said, “I went to invite the children to come to our program, but I was nervous because I don’t speak Tagalog [the native language spoken here]. I prayed and told God to please, help me! When I went to the homes, the parents agreed for me to bring their children and I was so excited that God had answered my prayers! I realized that God is in control of everything and if we just trust Him, He will surprise us with the things that we didn’t even imagine!”

And yet another said, “During our outreach time, we visited the parents of the children that we were bringing every night to the program. We got to know them and listened to their different stories of the trials and difficulties each had. In spite of their bad situations, they still managed to smile and move on! And their children are really eager to attend the children’s program every night. They had 8 children and each one loves to come with us!”

Another student who was an adult evangelist said, “When we helped the child evangelists to bring their children to the program every night, I realized that the children were becoming close to my heart! Now I love children whereas before I did not. I understand that if I will just treat them kindly, the children will respond and be good to me. Now I really appreciate the work of bringing children to Jesus!”

Another student who is a foreigner said, “Watching the children of our interest cry because they couldn’t come with us to the meeting touched my heart. They really treat us as if we are their parents. When we arrive at that place, the whole community stops and watches the children embrace us with hugs and respect. They take my hand and put it to their forehead as a sign of true respect. This melts my heart! I could never get this kind of love and respect back in my own country! The people in this community want to know, ‘who are these people that always come dressed in blue and black?’ They now call us ‘Amazing!’

Working for the children, seeking to lead them to Jesus is one of the best works that can ever be done! We were so blessed to have the privilege of teaching them the truths of God’s Word and watch them be changed through its power!

“We may bring hundreds and thousands of children to Christ if we will work for them.” My Life Today p. 228

And those were just a few of the many amazing stories that took place during the Prophecy seminar there at UP. Keep watching for more stories – coming soon!