My story begins in July: the day before the Oceania Convention. I had a chance meeting with Pastor Helen Kirby from Hope Adelaide. I chatted with Pastor Helen about general things – through this brief encounter, Pastor Helen asked if I would come to Adelaide to work with the children during their upcoming church conference in September. I immediately thought – who me? She must be mistaken – I could think of others who could do that easily, but not me! Inwardly I was rejecting the idea- outwardly, I smiled and said that I would pray about it! Which was code for no way, I can’t do that!
I let it sit for about a month – but I couldn’t get the idea of going out of my mind. I spoke to a couple of people about it, secretly hoping they would suggest someone else. I asked God continuously – what it was He wanted me to teach the children. I was reminded of what a visiting speaker had said: that children when they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, they don’t get a child-sized Holy Spirit!
The night before I was due to fly to Adelaide, I received the materials I would need plus a list of the children’s names. To my shock and dismay, I learned that I was going to be working with the upper primary kids – 7-12 year olds. That may not sound like a big deal but I had spent 30 years or more working with mostly 3-7 year olds – that was where I felt my skill set lay and I was in my comfort zone there. I felt my stomach knot and panic set in – I thought –I don’t know how to work with older kids. But, somehow, I remembered that God had allowed this opportunity, so surely He will equip me to serve. So off I went.
I had organised to go straight to the church once I reached Adelaide. The children were due in an hour or 2- I can tell you, I was nervous, and kind of dreading it. The children poured in- it was the first day of school holidays, it was Friday night and they were almost literally bouncing off the walls. They were so loud, excited and exuberant! I knew I would have to find a way to get to know them and settle them down quickly. I did the only thing I could think of – I prayed! I asked God to show me how to reach them and how to minister to them effectively.
The next day I was scheduled to teach four sessions. When the kids arrived, they were settled, and we began by reading the Bible passages I had prepared. We had some really great discussions about sharing your faith at school, caring for the lonely kids and generally how to live out their Christian faith. It was amazing – the children opened up and we had fun! I had one more session on Sunday morning, and I spoke to them about the visiting prophets coming on Sunday evening, what to expect and what it means if the prophets prayed for them. I prayed for the children as well. That evening, at the evening service, the visiting prophets asked for anyone who had not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit, to come forward- and to my delight and joy, two of MY children went to the front to be prayed for.
My time in Adelaide, apart from ministering to an incredible group of children, was such a blessing in so many ways. I was welcomed, waited on hand and foot, given comfortable accommodation and driven to and from the airport. I reflected upon the fact that my insecurities could have prevented me from having a truly blessed and rewarding time. God never disappoints, He always equips us for his service – and sometimes you just have to say yes – I will go, even if it is out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.
Prep Teacher, Elevate W5