California: Invest in the lives of children

Student missionaries learn that investing in children's lives means taking time to play silly games with them, as well as teaching them serious lessons about God's love. (Go Now Missions Photo)

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When I went off to college, I learned the important skill of investing in people. Through multiple interventions by God, I finally started investing time in children. This summer has been full of investing in children, and God really has shown me lately how important it is. Investing in all people is important and needed, and we should definitely do that with people of all races, nationalities and ages. But when we invest in children, we get to be a part of building their foundation and building their frame of reference.

Wilkes children 300Preschoolers in Tahoe City, Calif., learn simple but profound lessons about God’s love for them. (Go Now Missions Photo)Recently, my missions partner was teaching about God’s love. This is the basic message we are trying to convey throughout the summer, and she has been knocking it out of the park. At one point, she posed the question to the class, “Do you know how much God loves you?” Without skipping a beat, one girl said, “I know God loves us so much he knows the number of hairs on our head!” Soon after, another girl said: “I remember that! I tell myself that every day!” Keep in mind, these kids just graduated from preschool. Also, many of them only hear about Jesus and God here, but it stuck with them, and they know it to be true because someone took the time to invest in them. 

Here is another example of investing in children. I had the opportunity to babysit two adorable kids on a recent Wednesday night. The older child is one of our preschoolers. She’s around age 4, and her brother is about a year old. About the time I was putting the older one to bed, her brother woke up crying. I could not get him to stop crying, even though I changed his diaper, gave him a bottle and walked him around the house. So, the next thing I could think to do was to just hold him, pray over him, speak Scripture to him, and sing “Jesus Loves Me” over and over and over again. About 10 minutes later, the older child walked into his room, stood next to him, and started telling him how much Jesus loves him. This not only absolutely melted my heart, but also finally got the baby to stop crying. The things she said to him are things she learned here in the preschool. She knew it to be true, because someone took the time to invest time into her life. 

Taking time to invest in someone else is so important. If you are investing in someone’s life, please continue to do so and do not give up. Even though you may not see it, you are making a huge impact in their lives that will carry with them. If you are not investing in someone else, I challenge you to start praying about it to see if God has placed someone in your life for that reason. It will be worth it.

Jenifer Wilkes, a student at Tarleton State University, is serving through Go Now Missions with a children’s ministry at First Baptist Church in Tahoe City, Calif.

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