“If you are choosing to believe in Jesus to save you from your sins for the first time today, will you please show me by raising your hand?”
One . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . four little hands raised! I then ask them to come to a back table with me so we can talk more about the decision they were making. As I then talked with them, I realized some didn’t understand why they actually raised their hand, while some had previously decided to believe in Jesus but were struggling in their walk with him, yet some of them were sincere in choosing to believe in Jesus for the first time.
It is moments like these that bring me so much joy throughout the summer! Whether I have the chance to re-explain the Gospel to them or I rejoice with and encourage them in their decision to follow Christ or I am able to give them direction as they grow in their walk with Him – no matter which it is I thank God for the opportunity I have to work with these children and see the Lord working in their hearts!
Throughout this summer I have had the privilege to work with Child Evangelism Fellowship to reach children in my county with the Gospel. I’d like to share with you several stories and experiences I had this summer, experiences that will stay with me for years and are a reminder to me of how the Lord works in the life of even a child:
I was helping out at one of CEF’s Good News Day Camps, playing a review game on the Bible lesson they had that day with the 1st/2nd grade boys. One of the questions I asked the boys was: “How can you be saved?” One of the boys tried answering but I could tell he didn’t really understand the question or what it means to be saved. “What a great opportunity to share the Gospel with him!” I thought. So I did – explaining that being saved means believing in Jesus to forgive you of your sins and the essence of the Gospel, our sin and need for a Savior and how Jesus was that Savior. I could tell the young boy was trying to listen and understand what I was saying, but the other boys were causing a distraction.
Later that day, I took him aside and explained it to him again. “Do you want to believe in Jesus to save you from your sins?” I asked him. With understanding in his eyes, he said that yes, yes, he did! We bowed our heads to pray, but after a few moments of silence he looked up to me, “I’m nervous.” He understood the decision he was making and didn’t want to make it lightly or do it “wrong,” so I guided him in his prayer. When we were done praying I could see a joy in his eyes, a peace – he was now God’s child.
Another week, at one of CEF’s 5-Day Clubs I was teaching the children the story of the prodigal son. I had one of the boys up front with me playing the role of the prodigal son. As I explained to the children how the prodigal son asked for his inheritance before the proper time and ran away (he sinned), the young boy interjected, “But I didn’t actually do that, I’m just acting!”
At another club, I had the joy of leading a young girl to Christ. I asked her if she had a Bible she could read to help her grow to know God better. She said no. The next day I brought her a Bible. As I showed it to her and explained how she could find verses and books of the Bible, she was near tears and kept exclaiming, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I never had my own Bible before! Thank you! Thank you!”
At that same club, it wasn’t unusual to have some of the children to come to me and ask me to pray for them or someone they knew. Sometimes they would come to me: “I believe in Jesus and asked Him to forgive me, but I keep on fighting with my friends and I want to stop,” giving me the opportunity to explain how the Holy Spirit can help them do what it right if they ask Him!
These are just a few of the opportunities that God gave me this summer to share with the children and guide them in their walk with Christ, but they’re moments that I’ll hold dear as a reminder of how God is at work, even today. I hope they were an encouragement to you too.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14