Two Little Boys
July was an amazing month! We traveled across thirteen states and shared Jesus with thousands and thousands of children, but it is the story of two little boys that I want to share with you tonight. More than one hundred children ages 6 to 14 gathered in a gym to watch the puppet show. I was telling them the story of Joseph and speaking with them about forgiveness. I said to the children, "Maybe someone has hurt you, and you think that you cannot forgive them."
Suddenly, one little boy raised his hand. To be honest, I do not usually stop in the middle of a story, but that day God just told me that it was important to hear what he had to stay. He was seven or eight years old, blonde headed, small, and sitting beside his twin brother. He said, "My Daddy hits my Mommy." How much he must have been hurting to tell this to a total stranger in front of one hundred other people!
I have been to this place many times over the last five years. However, I have never been allowed to pray with the children. They would never give me permission to pray. However, when that little boy spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on that place, and I knew in my heart that the rules had changed. So many of the children asked Jesus to be their Savior. They came up and told me after the program that they had prayed.
The director was very grateful and begged us to come back next year. He listened to the entire program. Please pray for these two little boys to discover the depth of their Heavenly Father’s love.
The following list of things that we saw God do as we traveled in the USA this summer will delight your soul. I have never seen such a consistent outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit during a time of summer ministry.
1. At one program, eight children asked Jesus to be their Savior. Praise God! They were from very difficult places and were experiencing things that children should not see or know.
2. Many doors opened for us to tell the children about the hope of Jesus that had previously been closed to us. People allowed us to do programs that had refused to allow us to share in the past. All of us were amazed at how God changed the hearts of the people in authority over the children from last summer until this summer. They welcomed us and everyone begged us to come again.
3. At many shows, there was a visible difference in the children’s faces before and after the program. You could see God putting peace and light in their lives.
4. Many times we were very tired as we had quite a few long drives. However, God always gave us the strength that we needed.
5. At many of the programs we had an opportunity to talk with the children after the show. We felt like we made new friends as we played with them and listened to their stories. One little girl poured her heart out to Jade and told her about how her parents had lost custody of her. Then she went to live with her grandma who was a very kind woman, but then she died. The little girl felt all alone. We told her about Jesus who will never leave her. Her story is the story of too many of the children that we saw this summer.
6. Naomi is my youngest puppeteer. She turned twelve as were traveling this summer. She speaks very boldly about how she loves Jesus and how He changed her. One day, she told the children that they could ask God to change them. Immediately, one little girl bowed her head and began to pray. She was so hungry to have God change her.
7. At one place we heard children whispering their prayers to God.
8. At an inner city show, I asked the children if they had ever been hurt. One little girl looked me straight in the eyes and nodded her head. She had clearly known deep pain, but that day she asked Jesus to be her Savior and her countenance changed.
9. Mad Dog, Tomain, and Mercedes were some of the children who attended a show in an inner city community center. Truly they live in a horrible place. They are surrounded by drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution and violence. Jesus is their only hope, but no matter where any of us live, He is our only hope as well. Please pray for these children to grow up and be bright lights for Jesus.
As always, there are more stories than can be told. Never has this statement been more true than it was this summer. Our travels took us to Maryland, New Jersey and New Hampshire where we worked with precious churches. Our brothers and sisters encouraged us, blessed us, and gave us wonderful ministry opportunities. Still, despite their enthusiasm for Jesus, we could not help but notice how many people at the programs did not share their joy. The farther north we went, we found fewer and fewer Christians. In New Hampshire, I had children come up to me after I told the Bible story. They asked me if it was a true story. I found it hard to believe that I was in the United States and not somewhere overseas where I would expect children to not know about Jesus Christ.
We had many incredible conversations with parents and children after the programs. One little boy came and said, "I prayed that prayer with you today. I asked Jesus to be my Savior. Home is a bad placeÂ.Daddy drinks." His mother very quickly added, "Oh, but he never hits us." The little boy’s eyes said something different.
In New Hampshire, we did six shows outside on the streets. We had a wonderful opportunity to pray for the rain to stop so that we could share with the children. God answered every prayer and we did not miss a single show. The morning after we left New Hampshire, a tornado hit two of the towns where we had shared. New Hampshire never gets tornados, and all of us were very grateful that God had allowed us to share before the storm came.
Ireland and Northern Ireland
Friday, August 15, we leave for Ireland and Northern Ireland. Much of our time will be spent doing street shows while traveling across Ireland. We will be working with our Irish puppet director Sam Shaw, who is also the assistant director of The Agape Puppets. As always, we will be traveling with the Irish band Reality who are some of my dearest friends. They love Jesus with all of their heart, and along with Sam and Silvana, they are fantastic at street ministry. It is an honor and a joy to be working with these friends! Please hold us in your prayers.
Linda for the team.