A Reason to Leave Everything
Caleb| Short-term volunteer
Every Sunday for the past eleven or so years, I have had the pleasure of teaching young children about Jesus. Every week I would prepare a small group lesson or memorize a drama script to present it to the children on Sunday morning. While I loved my time with the children from my home church, watching as God changed their lives and the lives of their families, I had always craved for more. I joined the World Race with a hope to move past a script, and instead reach the unreached. That was exactly what I had the opportunity to do through a ministry called Manantiales.
About twenty from our team arrived in the beaten-down impoverished displacement village of Manantiales, fully armed with bags of coloring books, colored pencils, and other trinkets for the children of the community. Our purpose in being there that day was to go house to house delivering these care packages to families who have been involved with the program City of Refuge offered every Saturday. However, we were able to do much more than that. I was discouraged at first as I didn’t see my impact in being there. My whole group was simply following the leader from City of Refuge passing people along the way. Something in me didn’t feel right. On one particular street, our whole group stopped as our translators went to speak with a family further down the path. While waiting, a couple of us noticed a little girl and boy playing outside their house. We walked up to them, handed them some coloring utensils, and watched as their faces lit up. The mother noticed us from inside their house, and we all started talking. We were there for so long that the rest of the group left without us! We prayed over them and invited the family to check out the program.
As we continued on our way and walked through a tight alleyway, we were greeted by a hoard of happy young faces wanting to play! Many of them were not already involved in the foundation’s program, nor had ever heard the name of Jesus before! Naturally (me being the child I am inside), I jumped right in to play with them. I saw as the boys walked away just a little bit taller after being told that they were strong; I watched young girls blush after we told them they were beautiful. We walked for what felt like miles with kids hanging all around. It. Was. Glorious.
We had invited the kids and their families to come to the children’s program happening that next Saturday. We were able to see 280 kids come out to that event! If we didn’t go that day, how many kids would have continued their lives never hearing the Gospel? How many people are living their lives separated from God, simply because no one will go out and tell them that He made a way for them to have a relationship with Him?
As I was playing with the kids in the streets of the slums of this village, sharing the Gospel with them, I thought to myself, “This is why I left everything I’ve ever known to follow Jesus. This is the life I want.”