[Day 6] A Sweet Testimony—Children’s Functioning, Caring, Growing in Church Life II
When my older son applied for college, several colleges accepted him. He then targeted the two schools he wanted to go to the most. One is the University of Washington and the other is the University of Miami. His first choice was the University of Washington, which was ranked higher, but the school didn’t offer a scholarship. The University of Miami offered him half of a scholarship. We then said to him, “Both of these universities have church life, and we will support you to whichever you choose.”
We prayed for him, and he prayed for himself. Finally, he decided to go to Miami University. He said, “Both universities have good church life, so I will choose Miami University which will offer me a scholarship. My younger brother is excellent in his schoolwork, and he will attend college in two more years, so I would like to save more money for the tuition fee he needs!” At that time, we were touched by his words. In the past, the younger son said he would help the older one pay for his tuition. Then, it was the older brother who left the tuition for his younger brother.
We thank the Lord that He does not treat every child with favoritism. Although he went to a common university, he has strong emotional intelligence and leadership skills because of the perfection he had received in church life. In his junior year, he had a great internship opportunity. At that time, it was a big competition —only five people were left for the final round of interviews. The other four were from Ivy League universities and my son was the only one from an average ranked university. Thank God he was chosen! I was recalling these past events and was able to sum up one thing: we indeed need to change our mind-set. It doesn’t matter if a child excels or not in school, every child has their different potential. We simply bring our children into church life, and the Lord will develop their potential, or gifts.
As the proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” For us, it is “a church that raises a child.” In church life, there are saints of all ages, each with different specialties and characteristics. It is a big family of light, love, holiness and righteousness. What a blessing!
My children grew up in church life, and their growth and experiences were inspiring to us parents. Later, after they graduated from college, they all went to full-time training; now they are both working and employed. My older son got married and is working full-time while opening his home and serving the campus with his church brothers and sisters. The younger one is not yet married. He has a small apartment of his own, there he also has opened to serve with the church brothers and sisters. Whenever we think of ourselves and our children as having benefited so much from church life, we hope that all the children in God’s family will benefit. Not only the children in our family can grow up healthily in God’s family, but we also hope that every child in God’s family will grow up healthily in this way and not be defiled by this age.
Therefore, we have a stronger burden that every family will take care of backsliding ones and new believers, besides encouraging every saint to have family time at home. We start this from visiting and caring for them going to their home. Furthermore, we need to help saints who do not know what is and how to have family time. They do not realize how evil this generation has become, nor how important church life is. Even more, we could help “left-behind children” in China who are being raised by their grandparents, because their parents are working in another city.
For this reason, we began to implement a practice of “two homes” having meetings in homes to take care of the saints and children who need care and help, that is, to go to the homes of the backsliding and new believers and help them build the family-time.
For example, when our two families were paired together, we built a chat group and first prayed in the group for the people we were meeting in their homes. Then, we contacted and fellowship with them and made appointments for future visits. During the contact process, each person’s situation and reaction was different. Some were very happy and welcomed your help to build family time, have children’s meetings, and home meetings together. But some would politely reject you, well, you need to continue praying for them and contacting them until the Lord works and opens the way. So, we start from praying, then contact and fellowship with them at an agreed time before we can go and build family time.
We have two burdens in sending meetings home. One is for the children and the other is for the parents. The first half of the meeting is for the children, that is, all the people participate. At the beginning, we greet and fellowship a little bit, then we sing children’s hymns together. If the children and parents are willing, we can add more hymns, stories, scripture reading and memorization, etc., for about 15-20 minutes. The second half of the meeting is for the parents, that is, firstly, take the children to another room by one coordinate sister or brother, and lead them to do some crafts, or tell stories, and play some games. The others accompany the parents to have a little study and open fellowship with each other, also for about 15-20 minutes. Finally, everyone came together and prayed for each other, and then the meeting ended. So, the whole process is about 30-40 minutes. Totally each home meeting lasts up to 40 minutes.
May the Lord bless us and the children!