By the time you read this, I will have returned from my second trip to Haiti in the last two years. I have been honored to be asked to help start a school for pastors in the city of Leogane.
I will return in October to teach the first class.
This past week was my fifth mission trip, four of which have been overseas. I have been to Ukraine, Nigeria, Long Island and Haiti. Clearly there are some contrasts in those places. With the exception of the trip to Long Island I have seen some of the most oppressive poverty in the world.
But I have to tell you something that has overwhelmed me on each trip. I have been privileged to spend a great deal of time around children in each of these places. I spent my 35th birthday in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, and I learned that I shared that special day with a 10-year-old girl. We had a joint birthday party, and she baked a cake for both of us.
I will never forget the joyful smile on her face.
Last year in Haiti, I spent most of my time painting at a school. At one point, a paint battle broke out. I’m not at liberty to disclose how it started. We all ended up with blue and yellow paint all over us, and again, the joyful expressions and smiles were contagious and beautiful.
I am reminded that Jesus reprimanded his disciples when they tried to keep children from "bothering" him.
"Let the children come to me," was his command. And to this day, the Lord has told us to bring the little ones to him.
We live in a time when that seems so much harder to do. How do I go about sharing what I know with the next generation? Perhaps the most important thing I can do is to pray for them.
In fact, I recently heard this haunting quote. "By neglecting to pray for our children, we are hindering their coming to Jesus."
I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be a barrier to boys and girls coming to Jesus. So I have made a covenant to pray more often for the children in my life, whether it is my two great-nieces or the boys and girls in my church family. They are indeed precious to the Lord. I intend to pray regularly for them, and I invite you to do the same.
God will hear those prayers as we diligently come to him.