For the past week and a half, Will has been sharing with children how all things are possible with God. He uses a balloon trick to illustrate this point. The children love watching him push a 2-foot long needle through a balloon. They are always in awe when the balloon does not pop. Then, he challenges them to believe that God can do anything.
We have seen God do the impossible. This last fall began our 18th year of ministry as The Agape Puppets. Each year, God has grown this work and by His grace, we have been able to share with more and more children the hope of Jesus Christ. However, we have all been very surprised by the crowds of children that we have seen in India. God has given us the privilege to share Christ with over 16,000 children in the past week and a half. We still have 2 more days of ministry. Praise God! Previously, we’d been blessed to share with over 12,000 Zulu children in South Africa in 2 weeks, but none of us can believe the opportunities that we’ve been having here in India.
More, we have been training 106 seminary students in the evenings in child evangelism skills. We will be equipping many of these young people with story telling backpacks that they can take back to their homes, so they can go into villages all over India. Many of the places that they call home are places where it is simply not possible for Sam and I and the team to go. The doors are closed in some places for us, but open to these nationals that we are training. Please rejoice with us in what the Father has done!
Yesterday we did a program at a school and the children were so excited. They absolutely loved every single thing that we did. So many children asked Jesus to be their Savior. One little girl came up to me after the show, and she was so happy. She said "You are beautiful, and I will never forget you." We always tell the children "Remember Jesus". They crowded around us, wanting to thank us, and even ran down the road as we were driving away from the school waving at us.
DEAD BABY GIRLS
Today we did programs in a very dark city. It is surrounded by many villages, where the people often will kill a newborn baby girl because of the economic burden that she represents. They put poison in the baby’s milk, and she dies. The schools where we shared, were so full of little boys, and did not have very many little girls. Imagine standing in these places and telling the children that God sees each one of them, boys and girls, as a treasure.
Both of these schools were Christian schools, but had a 70% plus Hindu student population. Most of their parents have very little education. Most of these students came from the villages where baby girls are killed. Hinduism does not place any worth on the life of a child.
We are working with all kinds of people: Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans, and some denominations you would not know in the U.S. At these schools, we are allowed to pray with the children, and today we saw many children on their knees calling on Jesus to save them. It is the most wonderful sight that we will never forget. God is so kind to us!
Our 3rd school today was a school called Kingsley, and it has a wonderful story. In 1976, the only son of Christian parents, Kingsley, was killed in an accident on Christmas day. It would have been so easy for the parents to be bitter and curse God. This is not what they did. In memory of their only child, they began to work with children, and from this work, the school grew where we were sharing Jesus with the children today. 800 children, today alone, heard the gospel because these dear people put their eyes on the cross, and not on their pain. I am so grateful that we were blessed to meet these dear people today. Their love for Jesus challenged me to love Jesus more.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
Most of you celebrated Valentine’s Day last week, but we celebrated it this evening with the orphans from the House of Joy. They are a wonderful group of boys and girls, some teenagers, and live here on the A.C.A. campus. This is my 4th trip to India, and I’ve watched some of these children as they have grown up over the last few years. I wanted to do something special for them. I had the idea of giving them a Valentine’s party, because I always enjoyed Valentine’s Day so much with Mike.
Often, we had to celebrate on a different day because one or both of us were traveling, but the times were very precious. For the first time since Mike went home a little over 2 years ago, I began to think differently about Valentine’s Day. I stopped thinking about how much I had lost, and realized how much Mike’s love had given me. I wanted to share that love and be a blessing to others; comfort with the comfort that I have been given as the scripture says. So, I brought all the supplies for a proper party, including decorations, beany baby teddy bears, special treats, and more.
We also brought an extra large box of crayons and pretty papers, so they can draw pictures of someone or something they loved. Some of the children drew pictures of Will and Alli, and oddly, Will was shorter than Alli in some of the pictures. Some drew pictures of themselves, and many drew flowers. One little boy drew a beautiful pictures of a lake, perfect house, lovely trees, and a car headed down the driveway. In this picture, the sun was shining, and the mountains were fantastic. I asked him if he had ever seen this place. It was picture-perfect! He said "No, only in my dreams" and gave me the biggest smile.
An orphans dreams are no different than your dreams and my dreams. We all told them our love stories today, and shared how God had given us our dreams. We encouraged them to trust in the Father’s goodness and provision for their lives. Please pray for these children to put their trust in Jesus, and to love Him with all of their hearts. Many of them have been hurt so terribly, and have so much to forgive. Only Jesus can heal their broken hearts.
We have 2 days remaining. Unless our schedule changes, you need to pray for 7 or 8 remaining puppet shows, 2 classes that we are teaching, and many details. Keep praying!
Love in Jesus,
Linda, for the team
Sam Shaw, assistant director
Silvana Shaw, Will & Allison Jackson