“Jennifer! Jennifer!” I heard my name being shouted. I turned around to see a nine-year-old girl with her New Testament open. “Look, I found the memory verse in my Bible that you taught us last week.” I looked at her New Testament where she had the verse circled in blue ink. She was so excited to show me how she had found it on her own.
During our Christmas program, we gave the kids each a New Testament as a gift, which they proudly bring with them every week to our Bread and Fish kids club.
Jaclyn, one of our Loja Challengers who served for a year, started Bread and Fish a year ago while living in Chaguarpamba. This ministry involved her playing soccer and sharing Bible stories with them. When she left, we took over what she started and kept it going.
We hold the kids club every Saturday in the open-air basketball court. Most of the kids come running or riding their bikes, but some of them are dropped off by their parents. We sing songs, learn Bible stories and verses, make crafts, play games, and have snacks. We also have some special events throughout the year, like a Christmas program and VBS.
The kids are learning and growing in their faith. They come hungry to learn and desire to be loved.
I was teaching the story about how Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, and my heart was filled with joy as I looked at these kids sitting around me with their open Bibles. I asked for a volunteer to read a verse and was met with a chorus of “pick me, pick me.” They were so eager to read from their Bible’s that they didn’t want anyone else to have a turn.
Most of the kids are between six and ten years old, but there are two older girls who come and enjoy it as much as the younger kids. One of the older girls, a 16-year-old, has a desire to be a leader. So, we invest in coaching her. As she grows in her walk with God and in her ability as a leader, maybe someday she will be leading the next generation of kids.
God is touching the hearts of the young.
By Jennifer Riggs, OMS missionary, serving in Loja, Ecuador