We just finished up week 3 of camps and the second week of CEF camps. This week was for 11-14 year olds. Yesterday, as I was walking home, I was talking to one of the girls (who Nicole overheard telling her friend she wants to be a missionary). There had been a mix up and she didn’t get her sandwhich at the end of camp. Our conversation went something like this (loosely transalted)
Me: I’m really sorry you didn’t get a sandwich. Can I buy you something else to eat on the way home?
Girl: No! No! No! Don’t worry about it.
Me: Are you sure?
Girl: Yes of course! I remember this verse from camp and it’s ok (I didn’t catch the verse) It’s ok don’t worry about it. I used to get upset really easy over little things. But now I don’t. One day, when we were at the beach this week, one of the kids did something and normally, I would have gotten really upset and angry but I remembered the verse we learned this week and it didn’t bother me. I didn’t even get a little upset!
Me: Oh that’s really great!
She thought for a minute then continued…
Girl: I would really like to read the Bible more! I wish I knew how to read it better and find things in it. This week I learned that it can apply to your life but I don’t know how to find the verses I need when I have questions. (All the kids had been given a New Testament)
Me: Have you ever read the whole Bible? (She had been to our Bible study we had last year so I knew she had read the Bible some.)
Girl: I had a 365 verse a day type calendar. My mom would try and get me to read it every day but I’d always be too busy watching TV or playing with friends or doing homework. Then I’d forget about it. I really wish I had read it now!
She continued to tell me that her mom is a believer and has several Bibles at her home but her father is not. I gave her some basic Bible reading advice like praying before she started asking God to help her understand what she would read, to read and discuss it with another person like her mom or friends or Nicole or me and a good place to start reading in the Bible among other things.
I told Irena (one of the Albanian directors of the camps and lady who did the kids club in our home) about this conversation and was even more encouraged when she said she remembered her from last years camp. She was one of the least well behaved kids. She never listened, was mean to the other kids and got upset and had a temper on her but noticed this year, she was really well behaved and listened.
God was definitely working in her life this week! I didn’t get a chance to talk to all the kids but I know he was working in their lives this week too, even if it wasn’t as noticeable as in this girl.
It’s really hard to think about leaving these kids in a few weeks. Especially after going to camps with them and really see them taking steps forward in their relationship with God. I was reading in Proverbs this morning and came across this verse (I’m sure you’ve heard it):
Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost. Proverbs 22:6
God has been using Nicole and I to point these kids in the right direction whether it was doing Bible studies with the kids or just hanging out with them and being examples to them or even just opening our home up to have a CEF kids club or taking them to the camp.
I have been thinking a lot about what will happen when Nicole & I leave in a few weeks. Right now, there’s no one in our neighborhood to look after these kids and make sure they continue growing in Christ. There isn’t a home that is open to having the kids club continue or anyone who is willing to invite them into their home for a Bible study. I worry about their future with no one (as of right now) who will be around to mentor them.
I know God doesn’t need us to do anything for him. He can work without us. I have to trust him to take care of these kids and their future in him. But to be honest, it sure would make me feel better if I knew someone was going to continue investing in their spiritual lives who could mentor them. (Probably just so I could hear about it!)
Will you pray with me for these kids?
Will you pray especially for the 20 kids we took to camp over the past 2 weeks that all they’ve seen and heard will never leave them but will always be in their hearts and continue to seek out God?
And also for the 10 or so others who didn’t go to camp but we have been investing in over the past two years as well?
Will you pray that God will look out for them and provide whatever they need to continue growing in him?
Will you pray especially for this girl who wants to be a missionary that she will start being one to the kids in our neighborhood right now? That she would study the Bible and be able to share what God teaches her to those around her…especially these kids?
Pray with me that God will continue to point these kids in the right direction so that when they are old, they will not be lost.