Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Train—–to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction. To make proficient by instruction and practice, as in some art, profession, or work.
I want to do something tonight that I don’t usually do. I want to write my post commending a few individuals that by their actions have proven the above scripture to be exactly correct beyond doubt. As I have mentioned previously, we have been involved in mission work for about 16 or 17 years on a regular basis and fifteen years as H.O.P.E. Ministries. I have had two different boards since the start of the ministry. A couple of the board members that currently serve have been with the ministry for almost the entire time. The others have been with us for several years. I am surrounded by some of the most dedicated and outstanding over achievers that God has blessed anyone to work with. They are perfectly content to stay out of the public eye and just work feverishly behind the scenes when called upon. Never has any one of them said “I can’t do that” when asked to do something. Sometimes they have responded with “I may need some help with that” or “I’ll try” but they have always done their dead level best to make sure that needs are met and God gets the glory. Each one has a special ability or knowledge about different things that is invaluable to the ministry. I am proud, honored, and humbled to be able to do the work of the Lord with such wonderful people who over the years have become more like family than friends. All that being said, it is not them that I want to talk about. It is their children. Today was kind of an off day for us with some of our board being absent for various reasons. We had a crowd of probably 40-50 volunteers to help us assemble 210 Easter baskets out of 260 we will be giving away this week. Brush Creek Baptist church prepared 50 for us that I picked up yesterday. In spite of some of our board being out, I begin to look around at their kids. Most of their kids I have known since they were born and have watched them grow up as their parents faithfully served in mission work. I remember and I think I still have the little note that one young lady wrote to me several years ago when she had first learned to write. Today, as in past projects, I looked around and she was putting together baskets, taking pictures, helping prepare lunch, and anything else that needed doing. Two of the other young ladies, one which graduated high school earlier this year, were wrapping and tying Easter baskets continually until they were finished after having assembled a few. My son, who pretty much serves as our greeter, and also helps me haul everything to the building before and after projects and helps me deliver everything, wasn’t able to be there today. One of our other young ladies was there working last night getting everything set up and helped with shopping but wasn’t able to attend today. A young man and his two sisters that are usually there were also unable to be there today but are always faithful when we do projects. Some come and work the night before a project and some come and help clean after the projects and also help sort items for delivery and also help deliver them. All these kids have been doing this for at least several years and some for all their lives. We even have one young man about 2-3 years old that was carrying baskets today while his mom picked the stuff to go in them. One of our board members great grand daughters was there working as a runner carrying completed baskets to the tables. We even had two other girls there today for the first time working as runners and another one that was assembling baskets. Another young lady who is now out of college was there today assembling baskets and playing with the little boy. She has been involved since she was in high school along with her whole family.
I don’t believe I have missed anyone and all that may not mean much to you. I remember kind of joking years ago at one of our meetings with the mother of two of the young ladies I mentioned, that we were training our replacements. As I watched those two girls back before Christmas when we were setting up for shoe boxes I mentioned to their mom; “they don’t need us, they know what to do.” As I watched 3 of the young ladies today that I have seen grow up doing this work I thought to myself, “it looks like we might have done something right.” Three teenage girls there with their family working on a Saturday morning trying to help others. God has definitely given them a heart for him and for other people that are in need. It is true that “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” In the case of all these kids I have mentioned, I’m glad it didn’t.
As I watched the little great grand daughter and the little 2-3 year old boy working as well as the three young ladies there for the first time I thought to myself, “the future is looking pretty bright.” Not just in the aspect of the ministry but also just for being good young people. They are obviously getting some good training at home. God just keeps sending them in or birthing them in and I see them on one side and yesterday’s future all grown up and stepping in filling bigger roles than in days gone by. Like I said, this may not mean nothing at all to you but when I looked around today I just couldn’t help but think how blessed I am to just get to be a part of such a great work for the Lord with such wonderful people. It is definitely a long way from where it started fifteen years ago and when I look and see how God has blessed it, I am confident in him that he isn’t through growing it yet. It will wind up one day in far more capable hands than mine led by someone with far more intellect than me. It will one day be necessary for that to happen. But in the mean time, I am just enjoying the ride and watching what God has done and continues to do.
Please continue to pray for our ministry. We are looking at some things that are too big for us that we feel led of the Lord to undertake. I will have more on that later. One thing I will mention now is that we are looking at doing some sort of food distribution this summer. I will have more on that later. Please help us pray about a building that we may have need of for a special project in the future. I will have more on that later as the Lord works it out. Also, please pray for the families of our boardmembers. We are all human and face the same issues in our families and endure the same struggles as everyone else. As you know, when the Lord starts to really bless, Satan is going to amp up the fight. Just remember us all in prayer.
In closing, I want to say that I know this is a big deviation from my usual encouraging posts. I hope that this will serve as an encouragement to each of you. What I have written isn’t just a brag letter about my board members and their children but it is written testimony that when you do train up children to love the things of God, that love will only increase with time and shape their character into young folks we can all be proud of and God will be pleased with. I am thankful for every person and especially every child that have passed through our doors. Especially for those that keep coming back. If you have small children especially, I encourage you to saturate their minds and lives with the things of the Lord. It pays big dividends. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!