A Story of Love

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With love so strong that it can reach the greatest depths, our heavenly Father desperately desires to be known by His children, saying: “My son, my daughter, I exist! I have raised you, and I love you infinitely. I want to take care of you and bring you with Me into My kingdom.”

We started planning our Christmas Vacation Bible School for the children with this thought in mind. The theme was entitled “A Story of Love.” There is no story more beautiful than one of a loving Father who searches for His children because He loves them and wants to do everything possible to save them. Planning our VBS in only five days seemed like an impossibility, but God was already at work.

Allons-y, allons-y tout le monde! (Come on, come on, let’s go, everybody!), Valquíria said joyfully to the children that Monday morning. With two big mats on the ground and all the materials in place on the table, everything was ready. The children were happy, curious and a little shy when they entered the room. Nicolle and Véronique began to sing, and the next moment, all the children were clapping their hands and vying to play the little maracas made from tomato paste cans as worship began.

We prayed after the songs, and Valquíria explained our theme for the week, starting with that day’s topic—sin and its origin. It can sound like a big topic to cover on the first day, but since Satan loses no time fooling people with his lies, we should lose no time presenting the truth. We felt the Holy Spirit was giving us wisdom, and we could see Him teaching Valquíria how to talk about the war in Heaven between Lucifer and God in a way that touched every little heart. It was interesting to see how even little children realize there is a big conflict in the world.

Since most of the 36 children did not know Jesus personally, we sensed the importance of sharing this message with them. We looked forward to day two as the excitement would be even bigger!

On the second day, we talked about the birth of Jesus, choosing some of the children to act in front of the others while a missionary read the story. While we could have told the story with more biblical details, we applied a more straightforward method adapted to the culture and the age of the children.

On the third day, we divided the children into four groups, with each presenting a miracle from the life of Jesus. We took the time to teach each group a story. Then the children acted it out in front of the others, recounting stories about Jesus healing a paralytic, raising Lazarus, healing the ten lepers and feeding a hungry crowd. Looking at the children, we could see the amazement in their eyes as they began forming new questions in their minds: What if we were there? What would we do? Most Bible stories should cause this type of reflection in all of us.

On day four, we addressed Jesus’ death and resurrection. This time it was our turn to put ourselves in the story. During the play, we were certain that the children focused on our reenactment of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. But the truth was that they were constantly watching us—not who we were supposed to be—but us. The children knew that it is not enough to talk about how to live but to live what we say.

Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians 3:2 strongly came to mind: “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” At all times, we are the message of God to the world, a message of love that reminds us that the cross is not the end of the story but the beginning of hope for a new life in Christ.
A wonderful message was again waiting for the children on the fifth day. We portrayed the return of Jesus and our new life in Heaven. We began with songs as we sat on benches under a big tree. After worship, the children learned about a perfect place, where One is waiting for us—He who gave His life because He loved us so. At the end of the story, we asked the children to get up, and then we called them one by one by name. They formed a line, and we walked in the direction of our usual reunion room. On our way, we sang enthusiastically.

Another surprise awaited the children at the entrance to the room. The adult that played Jesus on the fourth day was standing there and giving a crown to everyone. Some of the children at the back of the line thought there might not be enough crowns for everyone to receive one. When their turn came, they were thrilled to receive theirs, learning that Jesus will not forget their crown when He returns.

Inside, we had covered a long table with jars of popcorn, cookies, and candies. While the children sang and ate, they realized that some of the seats were empty and some of the children were missing. At that moment, we explained to them that just like we wanted our friends to be with us during the celebration, Jesus wants everyone to be with Him in Heaven. This is why we can’t keep this love story locked up inside our hearts, but we need to tell it to our friends and family so that they meet Jesus and we have a beautiful celebration together in Heaven.

Our final day ended with lunch and a tasty dessert—bissap, a locally-made popsicle created from hibiscus flowers. One girl came to us and said: “It is too much! We ate popcorn, cookies, a meal, and now we are having bissap!” Then Nicolle responded, “In Heaven, it will be like that. Everything will abound because the One who fills our cups does not stop when His blessings reach the top, but He overflows our cups because of His abundant love for each of us.

To reach more unreached children, please give to AFM’s Student Missionary fund. Or, if you are a student, fill out an application to go and reach them. God is calling you!

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