Today, we did 3 shows and each was a special blessing from God. We had the joy of sharing Jesus’ love with children from Moslem, Christian, and Jewish backgrounds. We shared at a school, a center for at risk children, and a shelter for street children. The details of each place will give you joy!
This was the first show of the day and the room was full of children 4 to 12 years old. They delighted in each part of the program. Their enjoyment motivated us to try and do an even better job. Everyone was having so much fun. I told the story of Zacheeus and the miracles of Jesus. I looked into faces held spellbound by God’s Holy Spirit. I heard their sweet whispers as they called on Jesus. What a wonder…to be in the Middle East sharing Jesus with children and hear them respond to the Gospel. God is so good to us!
This center for at risk children was founded over 60 years ago by missionaries. Seventy five children attended the program today, but only 24 live on the property. The center provides an education for children who would not otherwise get an education. Some are orphans. Many of those with parents immigrated from Sudan and India hoping for a better life. All of the children live in poverty. Some of the children experience physical abuse and/or neglect. Many of the families struggle with alcohol and drug addiction.
I told the story of Joseph because it so beautifully teaches forgiveness. These children have much to forgive. Language is a problem for them as English or Arabic is not usually their first language. Though they struggled to pray, I heard many of them try. I was constantly praying during the show, asking the Father to help them understand. They were so hungry to hear about God, His plan, and Jesus. It seemed that as I looked at their faces, I could hear the ache of their souls. All of us were deeply moved by these children and rejoice that they are in a place where they can daily hear more about Jesus Christ!
Each of the teachers thanked me, and all were very happy with the program. The director was especially happy with the good time the children enjoyed. I loved their smiles!
I choose a little boy to come and help me by playing the part of Joseph. I dressed him in Joseph’s beautiful coat. I was drawn to the little boy. Later, I found out that he came to the center because his father had died. Please pray for all of these children to meet God as their Father through faith in Jesus Christ.
The children at the shelter are from the streets. They came from many places, from across North Africa and the Middle East. Pain and hunger are familiar to them. They live in a government run shelter that smells of urine, rotten food, and dirty clothes.
I was so touched when a little boy ran up to me and hugged me, kissing me three times. He shouted, “I remember you! I remember you! I love you!” In truth, at every place that we returned to from last year, there were children who could tell us what story we told.
These children broke my heart. They broke all of our hearts. Our driver Mohammed was overwhelmed by their needs. They were obviously not well cared for and hungry. I told them that even if no one else sees them God does.
One little boy bravely took the lead to pray. Others followed him. They live in a terrible place. I can’t fix it. You can’t fix it. So clearly, their only hope is Jesus. Hold these children that no one claims before the Father.
ANOTHER CLOSED COUNTRY AND A GOOD CHURCH
Tonight, another young man came to see us. He works with children in another country that I cannot name. Padraig met him and brought him to meet us. He had seen us when we were doing a show at Hadath Baptist Church. Jared and I taught him how to use balloons to share with children in many different ways. We gave him supplies. He was so grateful! We are more grateful and honored to have such a sweet privilege.
In fact, all of the friends that we have trained for work in difficult places in the last 2 days first saw us at that church. I have so many reasons to love the brothers and sisters in this church, but I am especially grateful to Pastor Hikmat for his invitation. This church has a real heart to reach children and young people for Jesus Christ in their community. I am not surprised that our new partners in ministry were drawn to this place. We hope to plant a puppet team here next year.
It is also with the pastor’s encouragement and help that I am developing a book to teach people to share Christ with children to be used in the Middle East. Please know that it is with his blessing that I am sharing these details with you.
Our driver Mohammed has become a friend to us. He sees himself as our protector. Today, he told me not to worry about the political unrest here. He said that he is holding us in his eyes. In our words…he is watching out for us.He comments on our kindness to children and is being drawn to God as he watches us. At least, this is what seems to be the case.
Today, I had a very special conversation with him again. I shared with him my own testimony and how I saw God writing His love on every page of my life. He listened and even asked questions.Please pray for our friend. I ache for him to know Jesus.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we have 2 shows and a training time with teachers. Most are Muslim and we are discussing methods of teaching as a way to share Jesus with these ladies. Then at 7 in the evening we will drive 2 and a half hours north to begin working in a new place and training a new team. We need your prayers for wisdom, love and strength.
Padraig and Jared