by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
In the mid 1990’s, Frank and I were privileged to hold ministry positions in a church large enough to have a good-sized children’s ministry. Since we were also missionaries with experience in Africa, we were encouraged to share our passion for God’s global Kingdom work with the kids. And, joyfully, we did this. Those were exciting days.
A decade or so later, I slipped into the back row of this same church, a bit late for the service and realized that not too many rows ahead of me sat a line of young adults whom I knew as kids ten years earlier. I learned that almost every one of them was currently preparing for, or engaged in, full time outreach ministry. I don’t take much credit for that. God was at work in their lives confirming a call that probably began long before Frank and I knew them. But we were part of the ‘seed planting’ in their early years and grateful for the privilege.
When you plant a tree, you make a statement that you believe in a future made bright by God’s promises. When you plant God’s glorious truth in Christ Jesus in the hearts of children, you make a statement that you firmly believe God keeps his promise to guide and bless those kids.
We don’t always live long enough to see the fulfillment of God’s promise-keeping. Sometimes, however, God lets us know right away what he is doing as a result of our faithfulness. Such is the case with a good friend of mine, Karen Hardin, who shared the following in her newsletter last fall:
In late August, I led a mission session for children ages 5-11 at a local church. When you get one 60 minute shot, what do you present? God led me to choose activities on barriers to the gospel and how God uses prayer to break through these barriers so that more people can worship Him.
We watched a video on unreached peoples in the 10/40 Window, played barrier bowling, participated in an object lesson, and listened to a true story of how God used a girl’s prayers to bring about spiritual breakthrough for the Mongolian people. Each child received a prayer card featuring an unreached boy or girl. I challenged them to intercede for that child to come to know Jesus.
Two days later, I received an email and photo from the mother of a boy who’d been in the session: “Tobiah (age 6) came home from Sunday school this morning and drew a 10/40 window on the map in his room so, ‘I can remember to pray for those who haven’t heard about Jesus!’”
Picture me dancing! One shot … one seed planted … one child’s heart captured for God’s mission. God created a vision in Tobiah’s heart of how God could use him to accomplish His eternal purposes.
Please pray that God would raise up an army of Tobiah’s to intercede on behalf of the unreached!
Our children are like young, tender plants set into fresh, tilled soil just waiting to grow and flourish with God’s blessing. Our Enemy has seeds to plant also and we need vigilance and prayerfulness to weed these out. God grant that we will be gardeners worthy of the name of Christ, patient and willing to take the long range view of faith.
Rooted and built up in Christ… from Col.2:6-7