Jesus said, "Suffer littl echildren, and forbid them not to come unto me, for o sue is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:14).
My husband is a pastor for the South India Union section, specifically the South Tamil Section. Our headquarters are located in Kochadi, Madurai. This city is known as the temple city because several famous Hindu temples arc located within its boundaries.
We recently began having a church service for our neighbors. We talked to our Hindu friends about God, His creation, Christ's birth, His ministry and resurrection, His second coming and heaven. Though they listened, we ran into great difficulties in teaching the adults. One old man said, "All of us worship the same God, and we will reach the same place in the end. Unlike children who are so eager to learn, adults often have a harder time accepting knowledge that is new to them.
Our church service had one great drawback. We had no children's Sabbath school. Fortunately, my daughter is very fond of children and she quickly made friends with the children of the area. We were soon able to begin a children's division.
Though we continued our efforts to teach the adults, we really concentrated on teaching and nurturing the children. Youngsters of all ages would come to our house on Sabbath afternoons to hear stories and learn new songs. They were so eager to learn; we would often find ourselves surrounded by children long after sunset. They loved our afternoons together and did not want to go back home. We eventually had a need for two branch Sabbath schools.
We found that by interacting and loving the children of our neighbors, we were able to form closer ties with the families in the community. One mother of 12 children witnessed the care and concern we had for her children. This gave her the courage to come and talk to us about a particular problem one of her daughters was having. The girl had received several marriage proposals but nothing had worked out because she suffered from acute stomachaches. The mother asked us to pray for her child. We jumped at the opportunity to witness to this family; we invited the mother and her daughter to the Friday evening prayer meetings held at our house. The mother brought the whole family! Miraculously, the daughter was healed after the first prayer meeting.
Several weeks later, the mother offered us sweets and told us her daughter was engaged to be married and the wedding was to take place in a month's time. Praise the Lord. Isn't God wonderful? This young lady happened to be the granddaughter of the Hindu man who had argued with us about God. Because of his granddaughter's experience, the man began taking his grandchildren to the branch Sabbath school.
One lady who was married to a drunkard was amazed at the change that had taken place in her son's life after he began attending Sabbath school and church. She told me, "Madam, what you teach has changed my son's behavior. He doesn't use bad language as he used to."
One child, the only son in the family, told his parents that there should be no pictures of gods in the house except that of Jesus. The boy tore up all the Hindu gods' pictures. He told his family that Hindu gods have no life and only the God in heaven has life; therefore, they should worship only that God. The parents gave in to their son's wishes.
Children are so eager to believe; they accept the promises of God and eagerly await His second coming. One evening I used pictures to teach a five-year-old boy about Jesus' return. The following morning he came to me and said, "Teacher, you said Jesus will come in the clouds with His angels. I kept looking at the sky, but He never came. When will He come to take us to Heaven?" His eyes were focused on Jesus' return.
A seven-year-old Hindu girl refused to apply the holy ash on her forehead saying, "I will not apply this anymore because I have accepted Jesus." Her simple faith was evidenced by those around her.
The tiny seeds that are sown in the hearts of the little ones are germinating. It is our earnest prayer that these seeds grow and yield in 60 and 100 folds. I thank God for the opportunity He has given me to serve Him. Please remember our Children's Ministries in your prayers.