One moment in time. One frustrated pastor. One Bible Story.
This is where one would think the story begins, but not quite. Let’s go back 10 years to a village in South Sudan.
Moses is a young pastor looking to make a big impact for the Kingdom of God; yet his church remains stagnant: 10 women and 15 children. Moses continually considers leaving this fledgling church and do something else. Tony, a missionary to this war-torn country, confronts his thinking and poses this challenge: You can’t quit now. These children are the future leaders of the church. Moses acquiesces and reluctantly continues to pastor this small church, remaining faithful to God’s calling where he is.
Fast forward to June, 2016
The people of South Sudan are literally running for their lives as the rebels in their country are looking to kill the people in the villages. Moses and his wife are running through the fields at night trying to escape. This would be my first encounter with Moses. Each day Tony, the missionary ministering in South Sudan, is still working with Moses and sending out emails to be praying for Moses and his family as they seek asylum and safety in the neighboring country. After weeks of prayer, we finally get the email we have been waiting for: Moses and his family are safe in a refugee camp in northern Uganda.
I am bound to Uganda to lead a KIDStory workshop for South Sudanese pastors serving in the refugee camps in South Sudan. In the first few minutes of the training, as we are telling the story of Jesus Blessing the Children, the Holy Spirit is convicting the pastors of their lack of care for God’s beloved. I watch and
listen as Moses, just weeks after running for his life, now wrestles with his complete denial that children can have an intimate, deepening relationship with Jesus. The wrestling match ends with Moses’ commitment to the Lord that He would return to the refugee camp and begin telling Bible stories to the children. He was determined to create an environment like Jesus did, where children have an encounter with God and they are welcomed, loved and blessed. Moses would begin his first StoryClub.
Three months have gone by and there comes a desperate call for help. What do I do? There are over 200 children coming (to our StoryClub)! The conversations begin about how to multiply the number of leaders.
HELP!!!! The urgent plea for advice comes again. What do I do? There are over 300 children and 200 adults coming to hear the Bible stories. The children are going home and telling the Bible Stories and now the parents have determined they need to hear the stories for themselves.
We have the opportunity to hear from Moses and discover that over 500 children and 250 adults are coming to hear the Bible Stories. God continues to have Moses enlarge his tent and open wide the curtains. Moses is not holding back; his cords are lengthened and his stakes are strengthened. (Isaiah 54:2)
Oh … those 15 children in the South Sudan church … they too attended the KIDStory workshop and are planting churches under Moses’ leadership!
It’s all about impacting children (Of all ages!) with God’s transforming hope through the telling of His Story and the working of His Spirit.
Gary Strudler, KIDStory Global Director