When I woke up this morning (after about 2.5 hours of sleep), I was impressed to lay out the whole Gospel for my students. All I've done in devotion time before has been telling Bible stories, doing prayer requests, and things like that. Nothing to put it all out there.
Lately, I've been noticing how many of the students' hearts are softening. They are asking lots of questions, and this has been really encouraging for me.
So, this morning, I told my class my story. I asked them if they knew anyone who only wanted to be their friend when that person wanted something. Many of them said they did. Then, I told them that's how I used to treat God. He was my friend only when I wanted something from Him. I told them about how I grew up going to church and hearing about God and learning Bible stories. I knew that Jesus was kind and that He answered prayers, so I talked to Him a lot. But not about everything--only mostly when I needed something.
I told my kids about how I remember asking Jesus to come into my heart in my bedroom one night when I was about 8 or 9. I remember feeling like my life had been changed, but it wasn't until many years later that I understood what it all meant.
We reviewed some of the Scripture that we have been learning... about how God has a wonderful plan for our lives, how much God loves us. We also talked about sin and why none of us can have a relationship with God because none of us are perfect like He is. We used a lot of different pictures to talk about this, and I could tell they were really understanding. So, then, I explained that only Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, can join us with God. Because He was perfect when He was on earth, only He could pay the price of our sins--so that we could be clean and have a relationship with God.
I could tell that most of them were still tracking with me, so I shared with them that now, Jesus is my best friend. Even closer to me than Mr. Matt, I said, which got a lot of responses. I don't only talk to Jesus now when I need something. I can talk to Him when I am happy, sad, nervous, lonely, or anything. And He's always with me! But this is only possible because I invited Jesus into my life and asked Him to make my sins go away. We talked about Ephesians 2:8-9 and how I didn't do anything to deserve being rescued from my sins. All I did was have faith and accept God's free gift.
I told the kids that I wanted them to be able to have Jesus as a best friend too--not to only talk to Him when they need or want something. I told them that the whole reason I came to Thailand was to tell them about how much Jesus loves them and wants to be best friends with them.
Then, we prayed together. I said that if anyone wanted Jesus to forgive their sins so that they could begin a close relationship with Jesus, they could repeat after me. I didn't know if anyone was agreeing with me or praying with me.
After we prayed, I asked them to write down any questions that they have about all of this. And I asked them to tell me if any of them prayed with me. Two girls wrote that they had prayed with me. But I knew one had already made the decision to follow Christ. I wasn't sure about the other one. I asked her later if that was the first time she prayed, and she sweetly said, "yes, that was the first time I understood." Praise Jesus! Yok placed her faith in Jesus today and now begins her 'best friend' relationship with Christ Jesus...
Yok's Christmas picture. So sweet!