This is Blush. Blush is being trained by Canine Assistants to become a service dog for someone with a disability. So why did I have a speaker from a secular organization come speak to the children during Bible class today? Part of our class each week is spent learning about the felt needs of various people in our communities. The children are learning how they can help meet these needs and then share the Gospel with those they help.
The church helps many people all over the world with various felt needs. In some areas though, the world has organizations to meet felt needs that the church does not. The great news is that Christians can become involved in volunteering for these groups. As productive volunteers, we can influence the other volunteers, workers and the people the groups serve by showing them God’s love. I believe God can also provide opportunities to share His Words with them or invite them to worship with us.
The children loved meeting Blush and her volunteer today. They learned about some of the eighty nine commands the trained dogs can perform for their final owners. These dogs can do amazing things like help make beds or dress people. The children also learned that a lack of funding means that there is a five year waiting list for a service dog. These specially trained dogs can mean the difference between a life of dependence and independence for people with a disability. Yet over two thousand people will have to wait several years to get this help.
Learning about service dogs helped the children develop empathy for people with disabilities. Having the dog actually there to see and pet insured that the lesson will be memorable. Although the children may never become involved with Canine Assistants, they will never forget about the needs of people with disabilities and how service dogs can help. The older children can take what they learned about the needs of people with disabilities and use the information at a higher level. They can have discussions about the ways people can volunteer to help meet the needs of people while they wait for a service dog.
These discussions will hopefully mean that some of these children will help meet the felt needs of people with disabilities in the future. After helping meet felt needs, the children can share the Gospel message with them.
For those of you following our Missionary Journeys adventures this summer, our drama center tied into our community service center. After seeing Priscilla and Aquilla share the way more perfectly with Apollos, the children learned about being modern day tent makers. Tent makers are Christians who have secular careers, but share the Gospel with the people they meet. They are basically self supporting missionaries in our communities.
After the drama the children wore their testimony t-shirts and practiced how they can share the Gospel story with others. It is a very basic telling, but allows the children to begin practicing sharing their faith at a very young age. Hopefully, because they are starting so young, sharing their faith will become a natural activity for them.
The winter wonderland of Kazakhstan awaited the children in our third center. The children, many of whom have seen very little snow, learned about a country where there is snow on the ground over two hundred days a year. They learned how the Gospel is being spread in the country and how the church is helping care for older orphans in the area. The journey to Kazakhstan ended with a taste of some very special chocolate.
The next time your child shows an interest in helping a charity that is not connected with the church: let them. Take advantage of the opportunity to show them how they can serve others. Also teach them how they can still influence others for Christ even when they are working with a secular organization. After all, the non Christians we meet every day live in the secular world. We could probably all use a little more practice sharing our faith with those we meet. Maybe God really meant for all of us to become tent makers like Aquilla, Priscilla and the Apostle Paul.