Tonight, we saw God do something very wonderful! Sam has been working in Northern Ireland doing puppet shows for 9 years and he remember seeing such a response only 3 other times. What was this unexpected and delightful event? We heard many children praying out loud , asking Jesus to forgive them and save them. This simply does not happen in Northern Ireland. It was awesome!
We were on the Shankhill road at a little church where they really care about children. It is a very difficult place to live. The children are surrounded by hate, huge murals painted on the sides of buildings keep that hate alive. These pictures encourage the children to never forget and always hold onto to the anger that has held their families for generations. There are many churches on this street, but few with any vision. During the time of the troubles, it was a paramilitary stronghold. There is so much history in this place and still today few will make any effort to reach people for Christ in this place. They are either afraid or simply don’t care.
Tonight, I told the story of Joseph, a story that teaches children about forgiveness. Before I got into the Bible story, I dressed a little girl in a Quechua ladies outfit and opened the program by telling them about my Peruvian friend Nemesio who witnessed the Shining Path, a Communist guerilla group, kill more than a 100 of his family and friends when he was only 8 years old.As he grew in faith, he was able to forgive all. You probably think that this is too hard a story to tell children, but these kids have seen or heard about all kinds of violence. Some participate as young as 11 years old. All were amazes that such terrible things could be forgiven. They understand terrible.
One little boy with blond spiked hair was singing an old American rock song as we came into the building. If you had seen him, you probably would have decided that he would not listen, but he did. After the program, he said, "Hey, I prayed that prayer." He smiled so big! I will learn his name tomorrow night, but start praying for him now. God knows his name.
One young man, 14 years old, on Sam’s Irish team courageously told how God had taken care of him when he had a problem with bullies. A grandmother came and told Sam after the program that her grandson really needed to hear that as he had the same problem. We weer all so proud of Simon and so blessed by how God used him to help another younger little boy.
I asked the children if they could forgive someone who hurt them or someone they loved. Only 2 little girls softly said yes as the rest of the children said no. I told them how they could forgive when they had been forgiven. By God’s grace, they listened and prayed. Now, we need you to pray for Wednesday and Thursday night. We will be with these same children again and want so much to help them grow in their new faith. Please pray for these children that most do not even consider to have hope for a different kind of life. God’s love in our hearts has changed all of us and can change them. Pray!
In Jesus,Linda for all of us
P.S.It is now almost 1AM and we will not all be in bed before 1:30AM. We are up at 6AM tomorrow. Everyone is tired and happy,but we need strength to finish Wednesday and Thursday. Please pray!