Our New Mission Field

As Paula looks across the room, she can't help but smile while thinking of how her Sunday mornings are making such a significant kingdom impact. The children, so happy to receive all the attention and love, are focused and intent on their learning. They've just finished up some rousing worship songs, and now the Bible comes to life through storytelling. As she looks from face to face, she knows their stories, secret pains, and bright hopes. Paula gave Brittany a hug when she was told of the divorce her parents were going through. She spoke with Damien who said to her that his parents had just put their newborn baby up for adoption, and wonders if he will be next. She sees Jonathan and knows the breakfast we feed him this morning, maybe his only meal today.

Brenda has a similar feeling on Wednesday nights when she assists with Supper Club. As she sits at the table with six other children, she feels more blessed than the children. Brenda calls out, "How has everyone's day been? Simon, how did you do on your test? Great! I'm so proud of you!" Like Paula, Brenda scans the table and knows their stories. Juliet misses her parents and doesn't understand why she can't live with them anymore. Curt prays every day that his father will stop using drugs and for God doesn't let him die. He doesn't understand why he gets so angry so quickly. Kathy is very bright and makes excellent grades. But her parents don't seem to care or realize it. They have problems of their own.

All the names mentioned above are made up, but their stories are real. Sunday School is not like it used to be. Now it's a mission field right within our walls. Of course, there are still stable families and thriving children whose parents work to instill Christian values. But through our Bus ministry, we are increasingly offering sanctuary to children who come from the darkest circumstances and have many hardships to face. For the most part, they are well behaved as Shalimar's time is the best part of their week. Here it is bright, cheery, and clean. The food is nourishing, and the adults loving and stable. Here they have a bright spot in their lives, and it changes them. They begin to see themselves differently.

I am a big fan of our mission teams like the one that went to the Casa Hogar Elim Orphanage I wrote about last week. Our mission field here in Shalimar is not much different. These are kids who want to be loved connecting with loving adults who care. This is Christ appearing in the bodily form again animated by his Spirit. I am so proud of our work in the Children's ministry, and I know that many more hearts, both adults and children, will be changed this year.

Who knows what a difference you could make?
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Brian Dale

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