India (MNN) — For those in the colder regions of the world, spring couldn’t seem farther away. While snow and cold temperatures appear to be never-ending, April will be here before you know it.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India is eagerly anticipating the start of their Children’s Bible Clubs (CBC). Lindsay Ackerman with Mission India says volunteer CBC leaders are a key part of the program’s success.
“The volunteers come and run these Clubs all day, five days a week, and then they come back the next week and do it again for five more days,” she explains.
“These are people that are already in the community; they live there, they speak the local languages. They know all the local challenges and the local needs, so it’s very easy for them to step into a village or a slum and just launch a Club.”
Right now, CBC leaders are attending training sessions to prepare them for the two-month ministry. Pray that the leaders are encouraged by this fellowship and training. Pray that concepts and strategies will be easily understood.
“When they come for their training, we encourage them in different areas: ways to recognize the challenges that kids are facing and how to respond…ways to engage the kids through games and skits and songs and prayer…how to make contact with the family.”
For kids who attend these Clubs, the experience is a much-needed escape.
“They [the children] often are from low-caste backgrounds, or even from Untouchable backgrounds,” Ackerman explains. “They are growing up in an environment where they’re told that they’re not worth very much, that the gods have said they are of a lower status.”
But at Children’s Bible Clubs, kids learn they are loved by Jesus, no matter what caste they’re from. Fun activities unlock a new sense of self-confidence.
“When they get to the Club, they just get to be a kid,” says Ackerman. “It’s a time for them to have fun, to play with friends, make new friends. It’s really a ‘breath of fresh air’ for these kids.”
Best of all, they get to hear the Gospel.
“Volunteers tell us that they are just so encouraged to see the kids responding, to see them accepting Christ as their Savior,” Ackerman shares.
Not just for kids
One of the best parts about these Children’s Bible Clubs is their ripple effect. Kids who participate go home after the first day and tell their siblings and friends. As a result, even more children get to hear the Gospel.
But it doesn’t stop at the 5- to18-year-old age range.
“For some of these parents, it’s quite shocking that somebody cares about their child, and they’re curious to know more,” Ackerman explains.
In fact, many parents can be seen on the edges of a Children’s Bible Club, hanging around to see what or Who is changing their child’s life.
“It’s a wonderful door-opener to relationships and discipling, and for the message of the Gospel to come through in a really genuine way,” says Ackerman.
Volunteer CBC leaders play a role, too. After each day’s activities, leaders hit the streets.
“They will go door-to-door, back to those families’ homes and introduce themselves, and just say, ‘Hey, we’ve enjoyed having your son or daughter with us, and I wanted to get to know you [too]. Is there any way we can be praying for you, or helping you?'” Ackerman shares.
“Pray for the hearts of the children and families…that there will be a lot of soft hearts to the Good News and that many lives will be transformed,” asks Ackerman. Pray also for the safe delivery of CBC materials.
It costs just $1.00 to send “a child to a Children’s Bible Club, so $5 reaches 5 kids with the hope of the Gospel,” Ackerman states.