Well, we are officially on outreach! We arrived in Bolivia after 22 hours of traveling. We have only been here for two days, but already, God has been at work. Little did I know how much it would involve my own family.
Yesterday, we did a program for children. Isaac volunteered to share his personal testimony. He told a room of 30 children how he had grown up in church, but he realized that he was sinful, and needed Jesus to forgive him and make him new.
Hearing Isaac share his testimony was an interesting moment for me. From time to time, I have those realizations that my children are separate people from me. As life goes on, they are learning to choose for themselves, and are making decisions that will affect their futures. Isaac very calmly shared how he had decided that following Jesus is what he wants in this life.
After sharing his testimony, Isaac invited the kids to make a decision to follow Jesus, just as he had. Three children came forward to pray and to give their lives to Jesus. What a beautiful moment, seeing my child leading others to Jesus.
Today, I was surprised by another touching moment with my children. JonDavid approached me saying, “Mom, I think Emma needs to talk to you. She is crying and talking about how much sin she has and she needs to change.”
Apparantly, my young evangelist son, JonDavid, had been talking with Emma about sin. She realized the weight of her “6 year old sin,” and began tellling JonDavid that she needed to get rid of it. Here is a brief transcript of their conversation:
JonDavid: “Emma, we all have to ask Jesus to wash us of our sin. He´s the only One who can give you a new heart.”
Emma: “I have a lot of sin, and my heart is bad. Can I get rid of it?”
JonDavid: “You probably need to go talk to mom, she can pray with you, just like she did with me.”
Emma: “(Crying) I can´t tell mom! She will be mad at me because I have so much sin!”
JonDavid: “No, it´s ok. She will be proud of you that you are trusting Jesus. We all have to do this, even mom and dad! Come on, I will go talk to mom for you……”
This is the moment when JonDavid approached me. Apparantly, he sent Emma the “all clear” sign, because she showed up after his explanation, tears running down her cheeks. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me,
“Momma, I want to have a heart clean of sin. I don´t want it any more. It makes me mad, and makes everybody else mad too!” Then, she put her face in her hands and cried.
What is interesting about this is that Emma usually only expresses regret for wrong-doing when she gets caught. She is the typical kid who is care-free and happy and doesn´t get hung up on feeling remorse or regret. She makes mistakes; we, as her parents, point them out, and she apologizes and moves on. Today was the first time I saw her with a genuine awareness and regret for having made mistakes and committed sin outside of “getting caught.”
As she sobbed into her hands, I gathered her in my arms, sat her in my lap, and prayed with her for Jesus to give her a brand-new heart. How many times does Jesus want to do this with us? In the midst of our sin, shame and regret, He gathers us into His arms and gives us a new beginning.
So, here we are in Bolivia, and I am reminded of the words of Jesus, “Let the little children come unto Me.” In the midst of the heat and unfamiliar surroundings, the children are running to Jesus. The beautiful thing for this Momma is seeing the first children running to Him are my own.