The Armor of God
As has always been our custom on our adult mission trips, we come with a well-prepared week of Bible lessons for children. We are given guidelines regarding the facility in which we might be working, the number of children who will probably attend, and the approximate timeframe in which we will be working. We knew before we came that we would be doing lessons in two very different locations. In the mornings we would be doing our lesson on a soccer field while in the afternoon we would be inside the church we attended on Sunday. The pivotal point here is that we came with the knowledge that one of our lessons each day would be outside — subject to whatever the day’s weather would be (and, of course, like good travelers, we had checked the weather forecast prior to leaving home and knew rain was predicted every day we would be here). This caused us much consternation prior to arriving, however when we voiced these concerns to the staff here, we were told, “Don’t worry! You will be at the field in the morning, and it never rains in the morning!”
We were also told that, despite the fact that they had given us numbers to work with, a small fly in the ointment had developed. The teachers here have gone out on strike, leaving the potential of many more kids than anticipated. Not feeling as certain of our abilities to multiply our supplies as Jesus had been with the loaves and fishes, we added this to our list of items of concern. Nevertheless, we set out each day determined that one way or another, things would go just fine. Having armed ourselves with our own concerns, our first visit to both locations presented the same problem — one that had never entered our discussions — we did not have a key to access either location. Rest assured, we were able to do both of our lessons, but not necessarily because keys were found.
At the first location, the church, the possessor of the keys was located — we just had to wait for them to arrive. In typical “go with the flow” style, we improvised games outside until said key arrived. This was made easy by prior planning — balls for the older boys and a parachute for the smaller kids. By the time the key arrived, the kids had spent a bit of their energy making them just a bit more willing to sit and listen. There was one little boy who perhaps expended himself to capacity, as shortly after we got inside, he curled up on Janny’s lap and slept the entire time. Fortunately, he lived right next door to the church, so as we left for the day Janny simply delivered him, still sleeping, home to his mother.
At our second location, the soccer field, the possessor of the keys was also located. Unfortunately, his “location” was his work, quite a distance away. Now we had a challenge — we have prepared missionaries, a lesson plan, and children, but no place to teach. A suggestion was made that there was a nearby field — just an open field — to which we could relocate for the day. Ready to do whatever was necessary, we headed in that direction. Unfortunately, reaching the field required an uphill climb on a narrow path that didn’t look inviting to any of us. There was, however, a flat, dirt area that appeared much more easily accessible. What we hadn’t considered was that, although it was not raining (it was morning, after all), it HAD rained the night before. Unswayed by the fact that all of us were slipping and sliding on muddy ground to get there, we headed in that direction, hoping that the dirt area was a just that — dirt! It took only one wrong step to find yourself on the ground, which is just what happened to Chib. We were committed, and willing to give it a go anyway, when our interpreter informed us that one of the women in the neighborhood had seen our plight and kindly offered to open her garage for us to use. Again, knowing that we would have somehow made it work, God put a solution right in our hands, so off to the garage we went.
With the exception of the fact that we have yet to have a lesson where there is not also at least one dog in the midst of things, our lessons were just as one would expect at home. These children are just like our kids — eager to learn, silly, noisy, and needing to be reined in every once in a while. But they participated with eagerness and really seemed to enjoy both the games and the crafts that we provided to share with them the importance of relying on God to keep yourself safe from the temptations of evil. We are sharing love and forming bonds with the kids and it is easy to see that saying goodbye at the end of the week will be hard. On our drive back to the mission house this evening, we saw a number of them walking home, proudly wearing their helmets and shields, made of nothing more than paper. We hope that means that we are having a positive impact on them. And so far it has not rained in the morning, and we have had more than enough supplies for all the kids who showed up.