Yesterday in church the pastor read, Mark 10:15. It says, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” and hearing it made me smile. It reminded me of my son, Chito, and his three-year-old faith. I am always telling him Bible stories, and teaching him about Jesus, and he just listens and takes it all in. There are times I think he might not even be listening, but days later, I’ll hear him telling his little brother about “a guy who brought lots and lots of animals on a grande barco” (big boat) while they are playing with their toy animals. His faith is so pure. He never questions how it could be real, or why God would do things, he just listens and believes.
A few weeks ago, I had been explaining to him how Jesus is in our hearts and even though we can’t see God, He is here with us. A few days later I heard him talking as he played in a fort he made. I asked him who he was talking to, and he told me, “I’m talking to Jesús, because he is my amigo, and sometimes I like to tell him, hola Jesús!” I was laughing at the way he spoke to Jesus, it was the same way that I would talk to my “invisible friends” as a kid. Even though he doesn’t understand exactly the way it all works, he knows better than many adults, what it means to talk with Jesus, and spend time with Him.
With 2 boys, things in our house can get a little rowdy. It’s not uncommon for there to be fighting, and sometimes those fights end with the “desired toy” breaking. A few days ago there was a big fight over a toy guitar that they had just gotten for Christmas. Well between the mix of a good-sized 2 year-old and the cheap quality of the toys here, the poor guitar did not stand a chance when my little guy fell and landed on it. Less than 24 hours after Christmas the thing was in pieces. That night while the boys were in bed, my husband glued it all back together, and it actually looked great. The next morning the boys were so happy to see that it played music again, and Chito started shouting, “yay, Papi fixed!”
In our house there is nothing that Papi cannot fix. ANYTHING that breaks, Chito says, “Don’t worry, Papi will fix!” He has full faith that Papi can repair anything…clogged sinks, broken toys, a burned out lightbulb…”Papi fix”!
Chito has a similar mindset about Jesus. Whenever he gets a “boo-boo”, or an “ouchie” he has me give it a kiss, and then says, “it’s ok Mami, Jesus will fix!” It’s that simple. There is nothing that Jesus cannot fix. A broken leg, a scraped elbow, a bitemark on his cheek that his brother gave him…”Don’t worry, Jesus fix!”
A couple of days ago, a handle on a toy animal broke. Chito picked it up and looked at it for a minute. With a confused look on his face he asked me, “Mami, who will fix this, Papi or Jesus?” I laughed because I could tell he was really thinking about it. He didn’t know whether to call for his Papi or say a quick prayer. Papi fixes toys, but Jesus heals animals…this was a tough one for him!
I could share a million little child-like stories about his thoughts on Jesus, or his version of David and Goliath. He may be only three, but he is teaching me every day. It’s no wonder why Jesus himself said that we need to “come like a child”. Kid’s get excited when they learn about Jesus. Kid’s don’t second guess, they just hear God’s word and believe it. Kid’s aren’t embarrassed to say, “Hola Jesús, you’re my amigo” and not care what anyone will say.
Hope and a Future, has done a bunch of work with kids over the past year, and God-willing we will be doing a bunch more this year. People might wonder why we spend time doing things like VBS, or why we “waste” so much time putting together little bags with Bible verses in them for kids. Some people might think that our main focus should be the parents, but I disagree. I’m not saying that it isn’t important to share God’s word with adults, or try to help the parents out with things, it certainly is. However, I think it is equally important to be teaching kids about Jesus. These kids just see us and smile. It is so easy to reach them!
Most of these kids have rough roads ahead of them. They won’t have enough money, and will steal to feed their families.Girls will have children while they are still children, because they were promised they’d be loved. They will turn to gangs to be their family, because they have no one else. It’s sad, but this is the reality for so many of these children.
We want to teach them that it doesn’t have to be this way. We want the Bible stories that they have heard from us as a child, to be ringing in their ears years from now. We want them to see that even though they may find themselves in some difficult circumstances, their future doesn’t have to be this way. In order for these kids to make better choices for their futures, they need to be hearing God’s word now, while they are still kids. That’s why we have done several children’s ministries. So that these kid’s might come to have a child-like faith now, that will be with them as they grow.