The Biggest Sticks
Our last show yesterday really illustrated how big the problem is in the public schools concerning the treatment of children. All of the schools are constructed pretty much the same. Usually they are one classroom thick, arranged in an L shape with an open field in the center. The field is usually just dirt with no tress. Every room opens onto the porch. The windows never have any glass.
When we arrived, I got out of the car, and looked through an open window. I raced into a classroom to stop a teenage boy from hitting a small child with an inch thick board that was 4 inches wide and 3 feet long. I took it from him and did not give it back. This teenager had been placed in charge of the students by his teacher. I met the teacher and he was an especially mean man who injured a child while we were at the school. Her foot was bleeding. The young man copied his teacher. This evil must stop.
I stopped many teachers at the school from hitting children and took their sticks and canes. As we began the program, the teachers were clearly surprised at how the children listened. They loved the puppets and the Bible story. They even clapped when Jesus calmed the storm. Even better, more than a hundred children prayed out loud, asking God to forgive them and Jesus to save them.
When we finished, the head teacher stood up in front of the entire school and thanked us for coming. She said she had seen how I showed the children love and how they responded to me. She announced that she planned to change the way she treated the children. The mean teacher had replaced his stick before I left, but there was at least one teacher who listened. More and best, so many precious little ones met God as their all loving Father. They have hope.
Village Children-No School
We spend much of our time sharing God’s wonderful news with children who live in villages. Life for Nigerian village children is very different than the life your children live. Most of the children will never receive more than an elementary education. To continue in school, 5,000 Naira is required per year. This is about 30 U.S. dollars. Since most children do not have access to such funds, school ends for them very early. Most become farmers. A child must buy his or her books or they have no books.
I watch their faces as they watch the puppets. I see their eyes widen in amazement and I cherish their smiles. Their laughter is music to my soul.
Please see these children. For them, life lacks so many of the possibilities you accept as normal expectations. They have no medical care. The life expectancy here is 46 and lower in villages.
Most Children-No Toys
Please consider that I have seen thousands of Nigerian children in the last two weeks. I have been in more schools and villages than I can name. I have not seen a single toy. Such delights are reserved for the children of the very rich. Very, very few children are in this tiny group in Nigeria.
A Nigerian child’s favorite and only toy that I have seen is an old tire that they race down the road with a stick. You should see their smile! Remember their greatest need is our greatest need. It is not toys we need. It is Jesus. Please consider giving the cost of your next toy to us. Help us with this trip to Nigeria and our next trip to Burkina Faso.
Our New Nigerian Team
I am so excited about this team! They have the best heart. My friend, Pastor Issac, along with Mama Grace, organized the best schedule. They are committed telling children in all 36 Nigerian states about Jesus.
The other day, Issac told me, “This is what I have seen. This is what I have learned. If we are going to do this children’s work, these things we must do.” Then he handed me a piece of paper. It said, “Pray to be humble, submissive, transparent, and sacrificial. Pray against pride, self-esteem, and greed.” I added grateful to his list of things to pray for. All of the team members (Gabriel, Excel, Sola, Kayode, Issac, Rosemary, Praise, and Grace) need your prayers. The children need the shelter that only Jesus gives. Our friends will speak for them and give them the truth of God’s love.
We start our journey home tomorrow, Saturday. We will arrive in Atlanta, Georgia at 5:30 AM Sunday morning. Please pray for strength. We are so happy, but exhausted. We have a 4 plus hour drive to the airport on bad roads if we have no problems. Then, we will need to wait many hours, until 10:30 Saturday night, before we fly.
Pray especially for the Nigerian children and courage for the Christians who must change how children are treated in Nigeria.
Linda for Mykayla, Paige, and Heather