Psalm 8:2 - "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise..."
Thank you so much for praying for the youth camp we just had in the village last week. It was incredible! The Spirit of God clearly moved among the youth. The camp began well on Thursday and over 200 youth were flowing in from all over the central region of Malawi. This time we had several amazing leaders and missionaries helping us facilitate and lead the camp so we were excited to see what God had in store.
The first full day of the camp (Friday) went great and Luke spoke 2 different times. In the morning he taught on the topic of what it means to be ‘Adopted into the family of God.” Then, in the afternoon Luke and Fostance shared with the youth about sports ministry and how they can use sport to proclaim Jesus in their villages. Both talks went very well and God helped us to communicate effectively and many youth responded. And that night we saw something that will forever be etched in our minds.
So often here in Malawi, we find ourselves wanting to ‘fix’ things that we perceive as wrong. Our hearts long for the youth of this country to know, experience, and love Christ with everything in them. In our attempts to effectively communicate Jesus to these people we often fail and then we contextualize the message and strategically plan how to do it better next time. In our western, try-to-fix everything quickly minds, we assume that we are accurately analyzing and then understanding situations, even in cultures that are far different than ours. After we think we’ve found the problem, we immediately want to fix it. Sometimes we feel as if we are getting nowhere and we are the only believers. But then we are reminded of our foolishness in thinking that way. Sometimes these reminders come more subtly than others but this time was a clear, beautiful picture, which encouraged us deeply.
After several teaching sessions, the youth were ready to sing praises and dance. We won’t forget what we saw about an hour into the praise time. We saw a small girl (about the same size as the girl in the photo) with a tiny baby strapped on her back.
We were dancing and singing when all of the sudden, our attention was drawn to a small child probably around 6 years old near the front of the group. Her faced literally shined with the glory of the Lord! Her eyes were closed and she was on her knees with her hands raised up and voice crying out to God. Everyone danced around her but the smile on this young ones’ face will forever stay with us. We did not know her name but we are certain that God does and that name is written in the Book of Life. It was clear: she knew, experienced, and worshipped Christ. She has very little material possessions, if any. She has the huge responsibility of watching her little baby brother whom was on her back. Most likely she has no earthy father. She rises every morning just after 4 a.m. to fetch water for her family from the well. But she has found a deep Well of everlasting joy and satisfaction in Jesus Christ. We did not have the chance to speak even one word to her but we know who her Father is. She was a child of God and it was so incredibly refreshing to see her worship.
So often we think we’ve got the perfect youth ministry ideas and ways of leading kids to Christ but this experience confirmed to me that it’s got to be a work of the Lord. Because the thought that kept running through our minds was, “We have 5 years of Bible college training, all the theology courses you can take at the Moody Bible Institute, years of seeking God in His Word and sharing it with others. But, when the rubber hits the road at what actually matters on this earth, we are pretty sure that little girl knows Christ deeper than we do.” God is continually our strength and we know and love the Lord but what we saw from this little one that night at the youth camp impacted and encouraged us deeply and we just wanted to share it with you. May we all seek His face like never before. Whether we are in plenty or in want, our prayer is that we’d all experience the power of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ who can be the source of unending life and joy. He is our well!
1 Corinthians 1:27 - "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."