Are We Together? - Day 8
Today we sat down with 3 pastors from around Rwanda to share about Awana, along with Joshua a local Awana leader, Brian & Sandee Rhodes the Awana Sr. Vice President of Global Field, Stephen Maphosah the Awana Africa Director, and Alfred the Awana Missionary in Rwanda, to talk about ministry. After talking about family and life, they shared about their churches and Awana Clubs in their church and schools. Every one of them spoke and said how much they love Awana, and how Scripture has really penetrated the lives of their children through the ministry. It has been amazing to see and hear of these Awana Clubs that run over 200 children, and use students to help lead these ministries. It is amazing to see how many kids each Awana Club is reaching compared to the US Awana Clubs. So what is it that keeps more kids from coming to Awana in our home churches? One word came to mind: Distractions. In the US, we have so many different things going on, filling up our calendars and days. In Africa, their days and lives aren’t as bogged down and the children are looking for things to do. Awana comes in and helps these children BELONG. Belong to an Awana Family (just like I wrote about in yesterday’s post). Awana Rwanda started in 2014, and Awana can now found in 23 countries in Africa. With 22 Missionaries serving the Lord in this ministry and thousands of leaders who are serving to help the ministry of Awana grow. Stephen shares with us about how Awana is truly God’s miracle. We thank God for of our founder, Art Rorheim, who passed away in January at 99 years old. This man was used by God in a unique way, and was able to develop a way to reach kids with the Gospel in his community. He had no desire to reach the world, because his world was where he was at, in Chicago. As Awana began to grow in America, people started taking Awana to other countries. He started to take Awana outside of America and Awana began growing in different countries without being organized. God blessed Art in a unique way in sharing the Gospel and using tools to reach kids. Over the years Awana has grown into 122 countries, through the influence that started in Art Rorheim. He was surprised to see how many missionaries were at work in America and around the world, and was so excited to see how this ministry called Awana worked. He was one of the most simple men you could find. In his office he would talk about his passion for the Gospel. He was the first Awana Agent with the Mission of reaching kids the Grace of Jesus Christ (insert Awana T&T plug). God has been so good through the experience of working with Awana. Our mission is clear. We have no time to waste, because there are so many people that need to be reached with the Gospel of Christ. In Africa, there are more young people than old people. The continent of Africa is over 1 billion people today, but 70% of that represents people under the age of 30, and the biggest of that number is children and youth. At Awana, we focus our call in the Great Commission in children and youth. It is here, during the formative years that children will begin to solidify their core beliefs (whether they believe something is true or not). Take a tree for example. If you look outside at a big tree, there is not much you can do (unless you have very big equipment) to help that tree grow in another direction. But if you take a small tree, you can help shape it in the way it should grow. Children need a loving caring adult who will share the love of Jesus with them, and help shape them into the person God wants them to be. Children and youth is where we focus the Great Commission work that God has called us to. I believe if we are going we are going to win America or Africa or any other part of the world for Christ, the church must be full of children and youth. Because children are the most open to learning more, the greatest opportunity lies with them. The Bible says in Prov. 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It is a very practical principle. If. It is my prayer that God will ignite a passion in you, to see where the greatest harvest in our children. Children have the capacity to learn and grow to become leaders of the future. It is my prayer for you, to realize that Awana is a tool that God can use to help us reach the Great Commission. Embedded within this tool of Awana, there must be born a vision. A vision for the world. How do we have a vision for the world? We must first realize where God has placed us. For me, Kansas is my Jerusalem. For the local leaders here, Rwanda is their Jerusalem. This is our starting point. We must see the children of Wichita, Kansas, Rwanda, or wherever you are, as your children. We must take responsibility to reach out to these children. If God gives you a vision for the children in your Jerusalem, He will open doors for your neighboring areas, then He will open doors for children in the US and then the world. There are so many things we think when we think about accomplishing so great a mission. We only accomplish this great mission when we take part in the vision of God in reaching the children of the world. On our own we can do nothing, but God through us can do a great work! God does not require anything from us that we can bring, but he requires our faith. Faith is the only currency that works in the Kingdom of God. When God sees your faith, He will do extraordinary things. We must be a people of Vision and Faith. That God is going to do it, through us! As ordinary as we are, God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We need to have faith in God. I believe very strongly that God has got a big team in the family of Awana. We have brothers and sisters in America, Asia, and here in Africa. We are going to allow God to help us to work shoulder by shoulder, and help each other to accomplish a great purpose for God. Using the tool of Awana to reach out to boys and girls with the Gospel. It is a privilege that you and I get participate in what God is doing, and boy do I want to be a part of what God is doing. God wants to use you. Not just your Awana Missionary, or your pastor, but God wants you to accomplish His work. To do a great work in Wichita, or Chicago, or Rwanda. Why? Because you have a vision for your city, for your country. With a great faith, God will see it through for his glory. There are so many people that God is going to use in Rwanda. I pray that God will raise people with great vision, passion, and faith, who can turn this world upside down. Who knows? Maybe another 10 or 15 years, Rwanda will be the headquarters of Africa or the world. Why not? God is in Rwanda. It is fascinating to see Rwanda, the Land of 1000 Hills, and every one of them belong to the Lord. So you never know how God is going to use you, you have to be prepared and ready. Who am I? I am not anyone special. But I am to be used by God in my own unique way, through the experience God has given to me over the years. God has given you a unique experience as well to be used for His glory, so that you may be a great leader, mightily used by God in your world of ministry. Awana around the world is in for a big surprise. We are coming to God with a vision and faith that God is going to do the rest! This is why we call Awana: God’s Miracle. We will do what we can, and allow God to do the rest. This is very important. God does not ask us to do things we cannot do, but only which can do. He will do the rest! All of us are gifted. Use your gifts. God has given us a vision. Walk in the vision. God has given us the capacity to have faith. Walk by faith. Are we going together?