So, today was my first time ever working with the children’s ministry and teaching during WCCC. Going into it, I honestly was not even clearly aware of what was going on, what provisions were made, and who was assigned to do what. I was indeed lost. It wasn’t until three weeks prior to WCCC that I had begun considering preparing for what I was going to be teaching an estimated 30+ 6-7 year olds…fun. A week past, and thoughts of “Maybe I should get started” ran through my head. Days went by and soon, I was staring right down the barrel of WCCC without even realizing how I was spending my time. I got my head into things and began prepping for what was sure, in my mind, to be a trying time, both in patience and grace.
It wasn’t until last night that I had fully coordinated the lesson plan with my teaching partner, whose schedule was completely unaligned with my own. We finally got down the order of the skit and the activity, and we seemed prepared for God’s work ahead of us. I was in charge of doing the skit, and he was going to be working the activity; it seemed like a fair balance of work. Today came (ironic that the theme of WCCC this year is “As Long as It is Called Today), and I found myself exceedingly nervous for what was waiting for me when evening drew near. I second guessed myself way too many times in trying to understand how to properly present the life of Hudson Taylor before children in the form of a skit, and eventually, I settled for a few highlights of his journey with God, making sure to emphasize the aspect of “walking with Christ.” I began fretting over time allotments that we had settled on because I asked brothers who taught the night prior, and it seemed like we skimped on the more entertaining parts of the lesson. Whew. Forget about it; when it happens, you’ll know what to do.
And sooner than I anticipated, it came. Right after dinner, I did whatever I needed to do and headed to the room. The brother and sister who were helping me were there already and we discussed briefly what our plans were for the night. The children had arrived early, and the brother leading the Singspiration for the children had them settle down and wait patiently for the time to come when he could begin. The children were rowdy and wanted to run about the grounds, so we consented and gave them five minutes to play as they pleased. “Wow, these kids are really…really energetic…” was the thing echoing in my mind. This did not serve to calm my nerves going into the meeting, but I kept a smile and made sure they didn’t hurt themselves playing. Soon enough they were in the room, preparing to sing. The Singspiration leader asked them to quiet their hearts and pray before the Lord, so I did the same. All of a sudden, God put a prayer in me, and I found myself saying, “Lord, I’m not ready for this at all. You know my heart and how nervous I am; Lord, give me the grace to teach these children Your word and instill a heart within them for You.” At once, a peace came within me, and I felt God center my focus on Him and give me His peace. I sang the songs with the children, and one song in particular was stirring to me. Some of the lyrics are:
“Wherever you go I will go,
wherever you dwell, I will dwell.
Your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.”
The Singspiration leader had the boys sing it, and then he had the girls sing it, and for some reason, when all the little girls sang, with innocent hearts desiring to worship the Lord with their high, clear voices, something hard and pessimistic within me shattered, and I caught teardrops from my eyes. I understood that my pessimism about six and seven year olds having a passion for God was a point of human judgment; it was me judging children for their lack of wisdom and on that basis, judging how well they could receive the Lord. I was left humbled, and could only listen as they finished off the song. The story, of course, is from the book of Ruth, where Ruth tells Naomi that she will follow her. The children knew this and they answered accordingly when the Singspiration leader asked them where the song came from. I was amazed at God’s work within these children, giving them the wisdom and knowledge of a beautiful story within His Word. I realized, at that moment, that God was speaking to me from this experience; He moved my heart, knowing that I was not following after Himself, as Ruth followed Naomi, nor would I be reflecting something of Himself, as Naomi most likely showed Ruth. He convicted me and blessed me all at once, knowing my need and fulfilling it beyond my expectation, and the night after the Singspiration went smoothly. I delivered my skit with Hudson Taylor, and the brother and sister helping me worked marvelously with me to deliver the full message. I got to take a picture with two of my favorite children from the group who participated the most, and the Lord just gave to me, in that instance, His overwhelming love for all of His children. He showed me how precious these children were to Him, and gave me sight of how He was going to use what I taught them to grow within these children beyond WCCC. I thank and praise God for this unexpectedly touching experience (for I didn’t really appreciate children prior to this), and I stand in awe continually of His goodness and faithfulness to provide.