In Just Three Days…
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“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV)
If after a very intense yet encouraging week of training, I still questioned if I was where I was supposed to be, today showed me the answer.
My name is Ludi Acevedo and I will be graduating from The University of North Texas in August with a degree in Development Family Studies. I came to PT not completely sure if this was where I should be for the summer. After being here for nearly two weeks, I no longer have any doubt in my heart that I belong at Elmwood UMC as a Project Transformation Intern. I am starting to see why God called me to work with youth this summer. Being at Project Transformation has already started to transform me. God has been moving in here. I have seen him in the relationships I have built with my fellow interns and in the ones I am building with the children.
In the last two weeks I have seen God move people in many ways. Today in particular I saw Him at our site with our youth. To give you some background on our kids, Monday when we started our Talk About God time we asked the kids to pray. Most of them said they did not know how to pray. When I said it was actually simple and it was just as if you had a conversation with your best friend, they laughed at me. They did not seem to understand what prayer was. Fast forward to Thursday and it was my turn to lead T.A.G. After that Monday night and a very moving worship service on Tuesday at SMU, I really felt that God had put it in my heart to talk about prayer with the kids. After praying about it and talking about it with the group, I decided to cut my original lesson short and lead into some basics about prayer.
I started off the lesson talking about how they could now be an example for others. I talked about 2 Timothy 4:12 and the children actually discussed what they thought about it. Afterwards I started asking the children what they knew about prayer. I must admit that I was nervous. I had never really talked to kids about God in a classroom setting. I was scared I would say something wrong. As the lesson continued, I remembered that this was not about me. It was not about what I said or how I looked. I instantly prayed in my haste, that God would use me to speak to these children-that they would see Him and not me. At this point we were writing down different ways the kids could pray. They had ideas such as; talking, music, drawing, writing, with someone and by being silent. After asking them a few questions, one that included asking each person one thing they pray about, we began our activity.
I am going to admit I had no idea the impact this next activity would make.
It was planned for about 10-15 minutes and ended up lasting about 30 minutes. The youth were all given blank papers and a few markers. They were to draw or write out their prayer. As they drew them out they were to be thinking about them and praying about them. I remember walking around the room and seeing the faces on these children. Some of them had hurt and anger written on their faces. A few others had pure joy as they drew pictures of their families. What surprised me was that every child was engaged the whole time. They were actually silent for most of the time. There were a few of the girls who actually teared up and had one of the interns pray with them. One of them actually told us that she had never had someone pray with her before. It was so moving to see their thirst for God at that moment- to see that desire to know Him grow in their heart. I remember not wanting to leave that room.
My fellow interns and I decided to collect the prayer requests and get together in the evening to pray over the group. I don’t think I realized what I was walking into when I sat on the couch that night. After praying together we started reading each one of them aloud. As we prayed for them, I felt the tears streaming from my face. My heart would break as Sarah would read the words full of anger and pain, yet at the same time with every angry word the same person would also write words of hope and encouragement. They were asking for God to come into their lives and be their light. It was incredible to see them do that. There were joyous ones where the kids prayed about how happy they were and how thankful they were for all they did have. A few other kids also prayed about the homeless. I can already see that some of these kids have a serving heart. A few others also prayed for everyone at PT and for all the children at the sites, their prayer was that they would all build a relationship with God.
These kids are already teaching me so many things. Those children who prayed about the homeless, were not even thinking about themselves. None of the prayer drawings had material things. The kids were not asking for anything physical. They were asking God to come into their lives, to comfort or change them. Some of them wrote about their attitude. A lot of them wrote about concerns they had for their family. It blew my mind that these children who were having a hard time understanding prayer three days before, were writing and sharing with us, intimate thoughts.
I can’t even explain how it felt to share that moment with my fellow youth interns. To be sitting in silence on the couches after reading all of them. To think about how much more there still is that we don’t know. To pray with each other. To remind each other that it is not about us, that the glory is all for Him. It’s about them seeing His love through us this summer, so that when we leave they know that they have someone who loves them and is with them every minute, that they know that they are not alone. That is my own personal prayer for this summer. I pray that we remain focused on why we are here. That we continue to build relationships with those around us, and we continue to grow in our spiritual walk with Him.
PT Intern 2011
University of North Texas
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