About three weeks ago we ran our first ever kids’ club event here in Santa Barbara. There was a moment during that kids’ club that will stick with me for a while. It was the third day of the club, which was two hours of games, crafts, singing, and a bible message, and I walked over to a corner of the sports court to take a picture. As I held up my phone and looked through the screen, I could see about thirty kids running about, a handful of parents watching from the bleachers, and all the volunteers overseeing the whole operation. I felt really grateful and silently thanked God for answering our prayers.
The day before, however, I wasn’t feeling quite so grateful and my little faith was being tested. It was day two of the kids’ club and a grand total of five kids had shown up. Together with four of our own kids plus three others from volunteers, our kids’ club had at least some semblance of being an event. But it was disappointing and my mood was a bit like the rain-laden clouds looming overhead.
The first day has seen similar “success” and if the entire week was going to be more of the same it would be a small punch to the gut. We had spent a good amount of time planning, buying supplies, organizing volunteers, and had even invited a missions team from Canada and Washington State to come and help us out.
We had already experienced disappointments in some of our other efforts in the community – English classes were limping along, the book table at the market was certainly not doing as well as the crepes next door, and the visitors to Sunday evening service were few and far between.
So, as can be imagined, it was disappointing to see the scarce numbers at the kids’ club. And then the heavy clouds let loose and I watched as the kids jumped and skipped around the puddles that were forming under the holes in the roof of the cancha.
The following day I tried not to get my hopes up, which was not hard to do. Ten kids would be great, I thought, as Jake and I drove around the neighborhood with a speaker strapped to the roof of the Sienna, blaring out an announcement for the kids’ club. At least the rains were holding off.
And then the kids came. By the second hour, as we sat down on the bleachers for singing there were over thirty kids plus at least ten of the parents. After singing, the pastor from Pan de Vida spoke about sin, and how it separates us from God, and how Jesus is the only One who can take our sin away.
As I sat off to the side, I thought; This is why we are here. God calls us to persevere so that we are here for moments like this when we are able to preach the gospel to people who have likely never heard it. Again, I felt grateful and thanked God for answering our prayers and for putting up with my little faith.