When I graduated with my teaching degree in 1974, I had a very clear vision of what a school should be. In the decades, I have traveled with the puppet ministry, I have rarely seen those schools. The schools in the Bush were always dirty and sometimes they met outdoors, under a tree. They had no textbooks, but worse, neither did the teachers, God kindly gave me a good education, but I would be hard pressed to teach every subject from memory.
Some of the teachers we met really cared and others had no concern for the children. It was the same with headmasters (principals). Some gave us warm welcomes and others were not so kind.
However, everywhere we went, we were allowed to pray with the children. Hundreds and hundreds of children and young people called on Jesus to rescue them! Awesome!
We left "Jesus Storybooks Bibles" with all of the teachers. We asked them to read the stories to the children. Zambia still declares itself as a Christian nation. Add to that reality that our books are literally the only books in the some principals told us that they would use them for their assembly programs. Please ask the Lord to make this happen!
At only one school did we encounter significant opposition our program. They had many Moslems in the school and did not really encourage them to come. However, I began to demo trying balloon animals to gather a crowd. Then Leslie and Rina taught them the "Happy Dance." I think we got them all! God is good!
At every school, they had never imagined what we brought to show them. Little ones looked on in a mixture of shock and fear and delight as the puppets came up in the stage. As always, God used the puppet show to throw open the doors for the presentation of the Gospel. Our Father constantly blessed us, but more importantly, He blessed the children as He called them to faith.
So many of you gave so generously to make this trip happen. I praise the Lord for your kindness! At all of the schools in the Bush, we gave the children boxes of colored pencils. I still remember the way one headmaster held the box of pencils in his hand carefully examining them. Finally, he concluded, "This is a very nice gift!"
When I think of pencils, I think of two images. First, I see a sea of children smiling. Then, I remember all of our smiles at the last show in the Bush. You must know that we never knew how many children we would see or even exactly how many pencils we had with us for that part of the trip. Still, as we were giving pencils at the last school, we literally had exactly the right number!! We were all smiling! God always knew exactly how many children we would see. Each one of the children we saw is important to Jesus. Only He can orchestrate that kind of inventory. Thank your for helping us bless the children!
In Jesus, Linda for Kelsey, Drake, Leslie, Jess, Rina, Todd and Kim Smith.