I arrived at The Grove Church in Riverside about 5 p.m., and people all around busily went about their work. The day had finally come. The church was hosting the AIDS Experience, a real-life simulation from World Vision that allows adults to experience the lives of children infected or affected by AIDS. The Grove had decided to recreate the experience for its Wednesday night children’s program, and I was invited to be a part of it.
Their main worship room was turned into a miniature African adventure. Colorful photos and fabrics adorned the walls. Six stations were in place for the kids to experience culture, food, sounds, and everyday life. My assignment was to visit two classrooms and share about life in Malawi and my experience there.
Dressed in my hand-made Malawian dress, I set up in the first-grade classroom. About 25 kids listened intently as I shared about the village of Mzuzu, the wood cravers, and the moms who carried their young on their backs. I taught them one of the orphans’ favorite worship songs, and told them about some the kids I had met.
I had the attention of every little pair of eyes in the room as I shared about Lauran and Gift, the young boy and girl who were adopted into the orphanage while I was there. For many years prior to my trip, I explained to the kids, I had prayed often for the orphans of the world. I had asked God over and over to bring each one into a loving home and family. I closed our time together by telling the kids that God let me see the answers to my prayers that day when I witnessed firsthand both Lauran and Gift being rescued and brought into a new family full of God’s love.
I shared with these young disciples how prayer is like a wartime walkie-talkie (a phrase coined by pastor and author John Piper). We discussed how prayer was our direct line to the One in charge. We closed our time by picking three volunteers to come forward and lay their hands over the country of Malawi on my large inflatable globe. Chris, a young and eager blond-haired boy, went first.
"Psssh. Jesus. Come in. Psssh. This is Chris. Psssh. Kids in Africa need help. They need families. Psssh. They also need a good house and food and a bed. Psssh. Take care of it. Psssh. Over and out. Psssh."
You can imagine the smile that spread from ear to ear on my face. This kid got it. He knew who was in charge and who could help! He prayed in great confidence and faith, knowing that God would answer him, just like He answered me.
Driving home that night, I felt so alive. I LOVE doing what I do. Nothing brings me more joy and excitement than teaching kids about the world and opening their eyes to their God-size role in His kingdom work. Watching the excitement in their faces when they are told they can be warriors through prayer now, and not just when the "grow up," fuels my faith in so many ways.
John Piper also once said,
"Whatever you do, find your God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life."
I have found that passion, and I am more excited than ever that God is opening the door for me to live it out full time. I look forward to so many more opportunities to come, opportunities to "say it and live for it and die for it." Thanks for helping to make that possible.