The following report will make you laugh and cry and praise the Lord. Each of these shows was very different, but blessed. I am so very happy!
ADULTS AND TEENAGERS
Most people would be quick to tell you that puppets and storytelling will not work if you are sharing with adults and teenagers. However, we have done so many shows around the world for these age groups. We have come to understand that it is not the tools you are using, but the message you bring. We always pray and ask the Lord how to make the necessary changes in the program. God answered us so sweetly.
Our friends were so surprised when they saw a mighty out pouring of God’s spirit at a puppet show for drug and alcohol addicted teenagers and adults. Children will often pray out loud, but not these age groups. However, so many prayed out loud, asking Jesus to save them. It was awesome! As we finished, they all shouted “More, more.”
The counselors were also surprised as most of their clients lined up to shake my hand and thank us as they left. One teenager said,” You touched my heart.” Please pray for these new believers and the Christians there who will help them grow.
Corne is a precious little girl with many braids in her hair. Today, we did a puppet show at her school for 1,100 children. She was one of hundreds who called on Jesus to save them, but she was the one who came and told me.
So many children lined up for hugs and to tell me thank you. They wanted the young people’s autographs. Meg signed paper, hands, and shirt collars. She said that she felt like a celebrity. Every one of us was full of joy as we left the school.
This time was especially precious as so many of these children do not receive hugs and encouragement at home. They are from very poor homes where there is little affection. Gangs are very active in this community. It is a honor to show them God’s love!
HYPERACTIVE OLD LADY
It is a sweet sight to see 700 children fill a school hall and know that you have been given the privilege of telling them about Jesus. We were especially excited as Jana, the youngest daughter of my host family, attends this school. When I asked her later what part of the program she liked best, she told me that her friends loved Sam. He juggles, makes the children laugh, and tells them about Jesus. I agree with Jana. I love him too. He is a wonderful blessing on each trip!
As we finished the program at this school, many thanked me for the story. They said it was lovely. However, one little boy asked me a question. He said, “Why are you should a hyperactive old lady?”
The children at this school have a special room set aside for prayer. There are different places in the room, designed to teach a child about prayer and faith. Scripture verses cover the walls. Isn’t this amazing! This was not a Christian school, but daily the children are praying for each other.
THE LONG WALK
Our first school this morning did not have a hall for the children to meet in for the puppet show. They walked many blocks to a church to see the puppet show. There were Muslim children and a Muslim teacher, but all stayed to hear the Gospel! It was so sweet!
One little girl heard me say, “You can be forgiven.” As soon as she heard the words, a big smile spread across her face and she said, “Yes.” Another little boy became very excited when he heard that he could talk to God. His eyes opened wide and he clasped his hands together in joy. I want to remember the wonder and joy of these children. I want to always hold their smiles in my heart.
Sam, Silvana and I are very blessed by the 2 young people that are traveling with us, Meg Abbott and Billy Salinas. Meg is in my oldest son’s youth group and Billy’s parents are missionaries in Mexico. His father works with Evangelism Explosion. We are delighted as we watch God use them to impact South Africa for Jesus.
Today, Billy came to me and gave me a big hug. He said, “Thank you for bringing me to South Africa.” I was so happy that he was being blessed even as he is blessing. He is using a simple trick, putting a giant needle through a balloon, to illustrate an important truth. Billy tells the children that nothing is impossible for God. The children gasped with delight today as he did this trick. I have known Billy since he was a little boy. I love the man of faith that he is becoming.
Meg has a hard story to tell to the children, but many of the children who come to the shows also have very hard stories to tell. With the most beautiful smile, she tells the children how when she was 6 years old her mother and father and 2 brothers were killed in a car accident. She was the only survivor. Meg says that she realized God had a special purpose for her life. Then she sings, “In Christ Alone.” God has given her a wonderful voice. I confess that many times as she sings, tears fill my eyes. This was one of my husband’s favorite songs. Meg and I both cling to the truth in this song as we have both lost so much ( for a time). It says, “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my rock, my strength my song."
THE LOST BAG
Thank you for praying! Finally, at midnight last night, our equipment was delivered. It had been traveling without us. A special thanks to Bruce Schwarz, Meg’s uncle, and to Cornelius and Blom, 2 dear South African brothers. God used them to push the airlines to find the remaining South African puppet equipment. Praise God!
Please hold us in your prayers as we have 2 shows tomorrow and finish our first 5 days of puppet training. Please pray for these dear children who are coming to faith in Jesus and all those who are seeking to follow up with them. Please thank God for this great blessing!
In Jesus, Linda for
Sam & Silvana Shaw