Bible lessons in orphanages

 One Seed At A Time

 

As I approach the classroom, I can already hear the noise of loud voices and laughter. I'm on my way to a group of 9th graders today. Their class is very open and friendly, they enthusiastically take part in the discussions and games during our lessons, even though they also often tell me of their unbelief. They say, 'We don't believe what's in the Bible is from God, we don't believe there's any such thing as genuine, unconditional love." They've had so much disappointment and betrayal in their short lives that their attitude is quite understandable, really. They hide the pain in their wounded hearts with laughter and cutting jokes. I often hear myself being addressed rudely, but do my best not to react to such provocation, knowing what prompts them to act this way and how often they are simply hurting inside.

 

Many of these kids think that God does exist, but He's just not interested in having anything to do with them. They live without forgiving or asking forgiveness, harboring grudges and deep resentments in their hearts. This condition of their hearts swallows up their minds and outlook, leaving them with quite a jaundiced view of the world around them. As a result, quite naturally, God just isn't very high on their list of priorities. However, they are definitely interested in the topics we discuss. Sometimes they even have quite serious questions on spiritual things that affect their daily life. That of course is encouraging, and I have seen that not one lesson goes by without having an impact in their hearts and lives. Every topic we cover is taken deep into their hearts, and I've seen evidence of this many, many times.

 

This Wednesday, before starting our lesson with this class, the director came in to have a 'progress report' meeting with me and the class. As he finished his remarks, the director turned to me and asked, "Tell me, do you think your lessons are really a help to our students?" I was still trying to formulate an answer that wouldn't come out as a defensive, knee-jerk reaction, when one of the teens piped up. To my great astonishment, it was Anton*, one of the guys who had expressed many times over his opinion that there really wasn't much point to our lessons with them. He said quite simply, in a loud, clear voice, "Yes, of course they help us!" For me, these words were like lightning out of a clear sky. Not because of the clear, firm, "Yes!" in response to the director's question - but because it came from Anton. If even guys like Anton (regardless of their show of disinterestedness) think our time with them is time well spent, praise God! This was just one more confirmation for me that not one lesson there in the orphanage is in vain and that the Holy Spirit is working in these teens' hearts, bringing about changes. Our responsibility is to sow the good seed of His Word. God will produce the harvest in His own time. May He be praised in our lives and ministry!

 

 

Another story...

Let me share one more testimony of how we've seen that the seeds we plant in the hearts of these children will sprout and grow in time. We also conduct lessons in the dorms of the city's vocational school. This is one of the limited choices that an orphanage student has upon leaving the orphanage after graduating from 9th grade. Anya is one of the girls who makes it a point to never miss a lesson. During one of our lessons, we discussed having children, how children are a gift from God, and how many people reject this gift when they decide to have an abortion. We watched an informational film together with the students, where medical and psychological specialists discussed the negative effects, both physical and psychological, that can be the result of having an abortion. This turned out to be a very relevant theme for the group, even if what we watched and heard was quite unpleasant. By the end of that lesson, as we discussed the film, several of the girls said that they had begun reconsidering their personal view of abortion.

 

Not long after that lesson, Anya was witness to a conversation between a grandmother and her granddaughter. They were talking about abortion, as it so happened, so Anya pricked up her ears. The grandmother was arguing in favor of abortion and insisting that her granddaughter go through with this awful deed. Anya shared with me how painful it was for her to sit there and listen to the grandmother's arguments and manipulation. She decided to not just listen anymore and jumped right into the conversation. She remembered our recent lesson, clearly recalling those awful pictures. Anya began trying to convince the grandmother to stop pressuring her granddaughter into an abortion, while simultaneously attempting to convince the granddaughter that this wasn't a decision to be made lightly, that abortion was a very serious operation, especially for a girl as young as she was. Anya shared with this girl at some length what the consequences of an abortion could entail, physically and psychologically.

 Anya really wanted to be able to follow up with this girl and see what happened next in her life and what decision she'd made. Unfortunately, as I write, she has yet to see them again. She is holding out hope that they took her advice and made the right choice.

 

This story of Anya and her chance encounter was yet another confirmation for me of how these teens, as they accept the truths of God's Word, are putting them to practice in their own lives and reaching out to others. That is to say, we see that our ministry is indeed not in vain. Praise the Lord!

 
(Testimony of a teacher with Agape Ministries)

 

 

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