We are in prison today. Actually, we are in prison Monday through Thursday of this week, sharing at a boy’s prison. As we walked into the room, I was shocked. I was looking at the faces of children, many of them 11 years old.
Most were guilty of minor crimes, stealing and causing trouble. Now, they are here and by God’s grace, each week they hear about Jesus from the dear ladies who have become our new puppet team.
Sam, P***l , and I along with our team did our regular program. We told them about Jesus who is the hope of the hopeless, He who is the answer to all of their problems.
The ladies planned games, but they had very little in the way of supplies. They printed song sheets and those boys sang with enthusiasm. One song was about a beautiful place called heaven, where there is no pain and no hunger. Suddenly Sam and I were talking about our friends James and Lynne Grant in South Africa. These are the same words he uses to explain to the children about heaven. How wonderful it was to hear them sing!
Then, the ladies had brought with them a pile of newspaper. I had no idea that you could do so many games with newspaper. They wadded it up and made balls. They had contests to see who could build the biggest mountain. Then they made teams to see who could find a particular word first. Everyone cheered and laughed and screamed. Finally P***l’s ears could stand no more. Sam and I are half deaf from years of working with children but we joined P***l and walked back to the church.
Walking through the village was very interesting. Most stared at us with distrust, but one lady looked at us with hatred. We smiled. I prayed for all of them as we walked. How terrible to live in the dark! Pray for these boys! Pray for this country!
We finished our time each day with a good home cooked meal that the ladies provided. The boys were so happy!
How To Start A Church
A family moved into a neighborhood, some children came begging bread. They fed them and the next day more children came. This is how they began their church, by doing children’s ministry. The children trusted Christ and brought their parents to church. Their parents trusted Jesus and were delivered from alcohol and drug abuse. Now, there are 70 members in that church and the community is changing.
More, they have planted a second church. They moved a family into a poor area and from their kindness o the children a second church had grown.
Today, we did a puppet show for these children. In our audience were children from three different people groups. All of them heard about Jesus Christ and probably, many of their parents will hear tonight the Gospel presented by their children.
Mentally Handicapped Children
Today, we did another program at a mentally handicapped orphanage. Many of the children in these places have really good minds, but as small children received the label mentally handicapped. Let me explain. My youngest so did not walk at the same time as his peers and in this culture, that would be enough to label him as mentally handicapped. Matt has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, but here he would have been labeled mentally retarded. He would have received no education and in his 20’s, he would have been turned out on the street. After years in an institution people behave differently. Matt would have probably finished his days living on the street, calling a sewer his home, until he starved or died of an untreated illness.
Think about our own children! If they are slow to speak or struggle with their first lessons in school, this culture would place them in an institution, even though there is nothing wrong with them. Our friends tell us that 99% of such children are sent away and many have no real problems. Count your blessings! Count the blessings that God has given your children! Be a blessing to someone else!
1. We came out of our friend’s apartment building and saw that 3 men were skinning a sheep. They had hung him in a tree and were cutting up the meat to prepare for a party that night.
2. Our puppet team is from four nations. We are sometimes confused.
3. If a man is wearing a hat with 1 slit in it, he is a father. If he is wearing a hat with 2 slits, he is a grandfather
4. We enjoy tomatoes and cucumbers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
5. Today, we met a lady who does 2 jobs for a church in the village. She is their doctor and their cook.
6. Most roads are more holes than permenant pavement. Sometimes we share the road with a heard of cows. They have right of way
Thanks to the kindness of German friends, we have boxes of large chocolate bars to pass out to the children. This is a very special treat for the children in an orphanage. After I told one group of orphans about the father who loves them, a little girl came to thank me. She broke of a full third of her chocolate bar and gave it to me. She gave me the best that she had, and was sacrificial in her gift. I want to be like this little girl. I want Jesus to change my heart!
Pray for our friend P***l as he travels home today to be with his family. Please pray for us and the translators we will use for our remaining time here.
Urgent Brasil request
We received a request today from our Brazilian puppet directors Gerson and Fabiana Simioni. They have recently joined PEF and have proved so faithful in the ministry to children in Brazil through puppets. They have an opportunity to buy their Pastors van which they really need for their ministry. The price is $20,000 and Gerson has $10,000. The pastor is selling the van so he can use the money to pay for medical treatment for a missionary from East Timor. This friend had his mouth cut open, back to his ear and it became very infected. He has come to Brazil for help and plans to return to East Timor even though he knows it puts his life at risk. So, in helping two of the best children’s missionaries I have ever known get the van they desperately need, you would also be helping a brother who has been tortured for his faith. If anyone can help meet this need, please contact the PEF office at 1-800 -CALL-PEF. Have the money placed in Gerson Simioni’s account.
Linda for Sam, and P***l