When God puts his grace in a person’s heart and it spills out onto the lives of other people, we should sit up and pay attention. We should realize that the Holy Spirit is there. He is working his works. He is showing us something he wants us to learn and to do.
Recently this happened to us in a startling and unexpected way. We were at the home of a couple of close friends who financially support the Gospel ministry of Makers and Means International. We had finished supper and had a large vinyl map of the Dominican Republic spread out across the dining room table. We were telling them about the recent mission trip we took to a school in Santo Domingo, working with the Dominican student ministry called Generation of Change (GOC) and its leader, Franklin Lopez. During that week, we taught 640 poor students the arts of painting, drama, and music, while we shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. It was a tremendously successful week, with several dozen students now studying the Bible with ministry leaders there! Just as many students have also joined a weekly GOC academy where they will continue to learn the arts while being mentored in the Christian faith. We prayed for a fruitful week, and God gave us that fruit immediately and abundantly!
Our friends and their young children listened carefully as we explained that during the week of that camp, several schools heard what we were doing and contacted Franklin, asking him to bring our training to their school! We made arrangements to sponsor and organize another GOC school-Camp this October, working with over 800 students every day in one school (pre-school to 12th grade). It will be the largest mission we will ever have organized, but a greater surprise was waiting for us. Before we left, Franklin told us there are hundreds of schools like this in Santo Domingo, and he wants us to sponsor a school camp every month! We explained to our friends the large amount of churches, skilled volunteers, finances, and supplies this monthly effort will take, and the time it will take to work up to it.
While we kept visiting and answering questions, I noticed their children were no longer there, and we thought they had lost interest and went somewhere to play. But a few minutes later, someone was tapping me on my arm trying to get my attention. I turned around and there was their daughter, Lydia, with a big smile on her face, holding a gallon bag full of over 300 new Crayola crayons! She had heard us say that we needed a lot of quality crayons for the pre-school age kids to color pages for their Bible stories, and her brother reminded her they had a lot of crayons they had used only a few times. So she immediately gathered them up and gave them away, for the sake of the Gospel!
Such simple and unaffected generosity was so refreshing, but such a surprise it was also a shock! We looked over at her mother, who was smiling and nodding, so we knelt down and thanked her with a big hug! She and her brother told us they would like to go to the Dominican Republic with us some day and help us tell the students about Jesus!
What came to my mind was Matthew 21:16, as Jesus was in the temple and the children were proclaiming ““Hosanna to the Son of David!” The Pharisees were indignant and said to Jesus, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Do you remember how Jesus answered the Pharisees? He said;
“Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of children and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”
I thought to myself, “Here is one of those children in whom God had been preparing praise for himself!” She and her brother were emulating the innocence, faith, joy, and expectancy that Jesus showed toward his Father while he was on earth, and I was witnessing it!
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we would be wise to learn from and adapt to our own hearts this child’s faith as we enter into the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” And we should encourage every believer with whom we fellowship to do the same!
By the way, this was not the end of the story, there came much more than this!! Be sure to read my next blog post entitled “A Child’s Faith; the Rest of the Story”.