Jesus encourages us by answering our prayers! Let me tell you a story – by Glenda Lowell, April 2015
Once upon a time there was an old woman who sat in a church pew and she heard a request from the hall, “we need volunteers to listen to the children as they say their Scripture verses and we have so many children we don’t know what to do”. (this is not a fictional childhood story)
This woman always prayed for the AWANA program in her church but she thought she was too old to help with active boys and girls – however, she was willing to help where there was a need and the Lord seemed to say, “This, you can do”.
The first evening as the children marched into the room she was impressed that so many of them weren’t from her church. She had heard someone say, “This is just a free baby-sitting time for the parents”. But, imagine this – they came to us voluntarily and who cared about the reason for this wonderful opportunity to teach children about Jesus’ love and God’s Word.
Among the crowd of kids, there was one little boy who seemed very disgruntled to be there. Week after week, he came in and crawled under the chairs, sometimes he would interrupt the leader and loudly expressed himself and didn’t seem to show any interest at all. One night, he was wandering around the room as the leader was speaking and I motioned for him to come over to me. When he came, I put my arm around him and talked quietly to him and he calmed down.
As I held him close, I silently prayed that God would open his heart to Jesus love for him. The next week, this little boy came in and didn’t crawl around on the floor or lay across three chairs with disinterest. I was amazed that he sat on a chair and listened to every word the leader said about letting Jesus come into your heart. Just out of the blue – this little boy responded “How do you do that?”
The leader quickly encouraged the teachers to follow up with the answer. His teacher did and this little boy asked Jesus to be his Savior. We learned from his parents that he has Autism but I thought, this doesn’t mean he isn’t saved. The next week, all of the teachers were surprised to witness the change in this young lad. He sat quietly by a favorite teacher and responded to the leader with a different attitude. As the weekly AWANA program continued, he would always seek out this lady and sit by her. You could tell he was listening because once he remarked to her, “Love is not rude” and another time when he saw her sitting by herself, he climbed upon a chair next to her and said, “Are you lonely?” Showing genuine compassion is a gift from God. As the weeks progressed, this changed attitude was a witness to all of us and we were greatly encouraged to continue our service to the Lord in this ministry to children.