"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
"You can't make it too tough for me to complain."
-Miller Huckabee, Prince Mission Trip Motto
We have arrived! Around 6:30 this evening we pulled into the parking lot at First Baptist Church in Monticello, Utah. Our trip was long and crowded but our mission trip motto is still, "You can't make it too tough for me to complain."
This morning the guys departed the home of Ray and Kim Allen. We had a great time and breakfast with them before picking up the girls who stayed with Les and Denise Simpson. Our ride today included sixty miles of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. We ate lunch at Blake's Lotaburger in Farmington, New Mexico as we sought another different place to eat. We then did the final part of our 1,800 mile journey and, after a good night's sleep, should be ready for the week ahead.
After supper at Wagon Wheel Pizza in Monticello, we are now back at the church and getting ready for some sleep. The girls are in a camper that is located next to Pastor John's home. The guys are located in another camper across the parking lot. Staying on campus will make things much more convenient this week as we serve here.
Our projects this week include erecting the VBS tents tomorrow, decorating, preparing our studies, assisting church members with Vacation Bible School (probably 85 to 110 children), painting Pastor John's house, staining the deck, and whatever else needs to be done. It will be a week where we'll find ourselves physically tired but spiritually refreshed when Friday afternoon rolls around.
This week is a week for children. When the children come we want them to be so excited about what's going on that they can't wait for the next day. We want them to love VBS so much that they'll want their friends to come as well. My prayer is, especially for the Prince crew, that we will love the children as Jesus does. In Luke, Jesus has some words with his disciples about the place children should have in the hearts of all Christians:
"One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God'" (Luke 18:15-17).
This week, speaking for the VBS staff, our earthly priority will be children. Our goal is to love them into the Kingdom of God. We plan to do that by Bible study, stories, crafts, games, songs, and relationships. When parents bring their children we want to see Jesus touch and bless each child. Personally, working with children takes me out of my comfort zone. I know, however, that children are ripe for spiritual harvest. They have a faith that we as adults lose somewhere between childhood and being smarter and wiser!
Children also love games, crayons, glue, laughing, fun, snacks, and people who have time for them. So this week, as we take time to "Let the children come," would you please take time to pray for us? You can be a huge part of what's happening here if you will pray.
As a child, my first contact with my life-changing Bible verse was the result of a couple in New Freedom, Pennsylvania who had time for kids. Ralph and Ruth Carman had such a desire to teach and reach children that one night each week Ralph would take the milk out of his milk delivery truck and use that empty truck to pick up children for a Bible study in his garage. What kid wouldn't want a ride in a milk truck? After my first ride, Ralph's wife, Ruth handed me a white cut-out of a snowflake. My snowflake contained these words, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18). If my memory is correct, Isaiah 1:18 is the first Bible verse I ever memorized. A seed was planted. Why? A couple had kids on their hearts, a milk delivery truck, and a handful of snowflakes.
I'm eternally grateful.