Remember that Sunday School song, Jesus Loves the Little Children?
Jesus loves the little children
all the children of the world,
red and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
I was reminded of that song last week when I was at Oneida Baptist Institute in KY. This boarding school has students from 24 different countries. I met students from Korea, China, Nigeria, Ethiopia, India & Liberia. They come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and religions. They come to OBI for many different reasons but they all have one thing in common….Jesus loves all of them and wants a personal relationship with each of them.
We first visited the campus of OBI back in July when we went on a family missions trip to serve in the community of Oneida. There were only a few students on campus for summer session. My husband Rich met the president and shared a little bit about FCA. He also had the opportunity to speak to a Muslim
student named Amir from Ethiopia.
Last week, Rich was invited back to OBI to speak in the daily chapel services. It was such a humbling, amazing experience to see God move in the hearts of the student body. On Monday, Rich shared his testimony. For those who have not heard his testimony, it is a powerful story that connects with people
of all ages but especially teenagers. He doesn’t sugar coat the wrong choices he made or the consequences he’s faced. He’s straightforward and uses his life as an example of what can happen when we choose to do things our own way instead of following God’s plan. At the end of chapel on Monday, there were 25 students who made decisions.
On Tuesday, the message focused on why we have doubts and what we need to do to alleviate those doubts. One of the students in that service who’d had lots of doubts and questions was Amir, the Muslim student Rich had spoken with back in July. At the end of chapel on Tuesday, Amir got saved. What an amazing God we serve!! A God who doesn’t need us but allows us to be a part of His beautiful
plan. God gave Rich the opportunity to plant a seed in Amir’s life in July and then opened the door to put Rich back in Amir’s life when he made that ultimate choice. Amir was one of 6 new decisions that were made that day. And God wasn’t done yet. Actually, He was just getting started.
On Wednesday & Thursday, Rich shared with the students the importance of taking our decision to trust Christ and living it out in our daily lives. Wednesday focused on being authentic in our daily choices, whether private or public. Thursday was the final day of chapel for the week and Rich stressed the importance of spiritual training.
During our time at OBI, we had connected with many of the students and they shared their stories with us. They asked us to pray for them and with them. They asked us to pray for their families. So at the end of chapel on Thursday, Rich opened the altar for the students to come share their burdens and prayer needs
with their teachers. These are the adults who love them and pour into their lives daily. People who can help them with their struggles and be there to celebrate their victories.
As the song “Beautiful Exchange” by Hillsong played, the students began to come forward. It began with just a couple and then a few more. Within just a few minutes the altar was overflowing with more than 150 students praying with teachers, praying with each other and sharing the burdens they had been carrying for too long. There were lines of students waiting to pray with a teacher or OBI staff member. A local church pastor was there and he began praying with students. God's Spirit was moving and nothing else mattered. As students would see a friend go to the altar, they would encircle them and begin to pray. It was a beautiful picture of what it means to bear one another's burdens. I'm so humbled that God would choose to be a part of it.
Our journey over the past few years has not been easy. We've been in the wilderness and have had our share of struggles. We've had times of doubting God's purpose and plan for us. However, last week was an oasis in our wilderness journey. God gave us a glimpse of how His plan is always better than our own and how his timing has purpose as well. If Rich had not lost his job last November, we would not have been able to go on the family missions trip to Oneida in July. Rich would not have met the president of OBI nor been able to share parts of his story with Amir. He would not have been asked to come last week to speak in chapel. We would have missed out on the blessings of last week. God could have used anyone to speak into the lives of those students, but I'm so thankful that he chose us.
Is God asking you to tell your story and show others how mighty and powerful He is? Has God led you through a wilderness? If so then tell someone else how big God is in your life. You may be the one voice that God uses to reach that weary soul that is ready to give up. Your story could be the encouragement that someone needs to keep trusting in God's plan. Don't be ashamed of the brokenness of your story. In our brokenness, God's power and glory is revealed. Give God the glory today by sharing your
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.