Last month we ran, what we hope to be, our annual Easter kids’ club. It is more-or-less a Vacation Bible School that we do for two hours in the morning of the second week of Easter holidays. We begin with games, then a craft followed by singing and finish with a gospel message.
We did something similar last year, but during the summer holidays. Attendance was good for two of the days, and not as great for the other two days, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect this time around. We were feeling optimistic since we had been in the community longer and had more contacts, but you never know.
And so my faith was doing loopty-loops when, a half-hour into the first day, we had one kid show up. We also had our kids and the kids of the volunteers, so the show went on, but God was certainly testing me again. Thankfully, by the end of the first day we had six or seven more kids come and I was feeling less panicky.
The next four days we had good attendance, an average of twenty-five kids, as well as a number of moms who came and stayed for the duration of the club, including the gospel message. Interestingly, most of our previous contacts and kids we thought would come, didn’t end up coming. So, on the positive side we made lots of new contacts!
We also had a wonderful group of volunteers who pitched in and made the whole operation possible – cutting foamy for crafts, cleaning garbage, leading games, talking to the moms, and maintaining a semblance of order amidst the chaos. Two friends from Pan de Vida, pastor Kike and “farmer” Jaime helped out with the messages about the fruit of the Spirit and did a great job pointing us to Jesus.
But more than good attendance and committed volunteers, we were praying for kids and parents to hear the gospel and believe it. They certainly heard the gospel, and as for believing it, we will have to wait on the Lord and see. No one new came to the Sunday service, but that wasn’t too surprising and we are learning that these things take time. However, we did get contact information from a number of moms who were interested and have since started a bible study with a few of them. They seem eager to learn and we are excited to have people who want to study the bible.
We have only been in the Santa Barbara neighbourhood for a year now, but sometimes it feels longer. Sometimes it feels like there is just not much interest. No fruit. Hard hearts. But then, more often than we perceive, God gives us a bit of encouragement and reminds us that He is with us and our work here is really His work.
The kids’ club and the subsequent bible study that we have started are definitely reasons to be encouraged. We don’t know where all this will lead, but God knows. And that is enough.
Scott, we loved this report. We so identify with you in your excitement, enthusiasm, expectations and (I just have to keep the alliteration going – exasperation! We know exactly what you are experiencing. Love you guys and praying for your work!
Thanks Pete! I am often encouraged by your reports as well. Thank you for your transparency and honesty, because it is often how I feel over here as well 🙂