As I prepare for each lesson daily, I pray God speaks through me to each child. I ask God to allow me to say what every child needs to hear.
Each day that passes, I get closer to leaving by assignment here in Peru. This makes me work harder, because I want to make the most of this experience.
When I got here, I told each kid that we were going to be learning a verse from the Bible every week—11 verses in all. They looked at me and said: “Miss, that is too much. I will never be able to memorize so much.”
“I know you all are capable of doing it,” I said. “Do not complain. Just do it! How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time. Just do your work and trust in God that he is going to give you the capability.”
They all laughed. With that I promised that every boy that told me the 11 verses would get a remote-control toy car, and each girl would get a Princess Barbie doll. At the mention of the gifts, I saw their confidence build up quickly. I heard a couple of them saying, “I’m going to do it. I know I can.”
Each Monday, I gave them a Bible verse. Before leaving class, we repeated it over and over. We had one verse down, then five verses, and then 10. You should have seen their faces after memorizing 10 verses. They were jumping up and down saying, “We just need one more Bible verse!” Others were telling me that by the end of the following week, they would tell me all the Bible verses.
On the Monday when the kids were given their last memory verse, class was not even over before I already had a line of kids waiting to tell me all their Bible verses. At the end of that day, eight kids already had told me their Bible verses. I was seeing some practice; others were helping their friends memorize the Bible verses. It was beautiful. Thirteen out of 20 kids have already told me their Bible verse. Their deadline is in two weeks.
I am sure I am still going to have more of them tell me their Bible verses. It took one little girl three times, finally she told me all of them. She almost wanted to cry when she made a mistake, but when she completed all of them, her face lit up. There is nothing more beautiful that seeing the face of the kids after they have told me their last Bible verse.
Words of life
I know that most of the kids are just memorizing the verses just because they want to get the gift. But what they do not know is that they are actually getting something much more rewarding than anything they could ever imagine. They are getting words of life.
I pray that in time, God inscribes those verses in their hearts and brings light into their life. God has a purpose for all, and it is sure not a coincidence that he has placed me in the lives of these kids. I know they are sure making an impact on mine.
Janet Ruiz, a student at the University of Texas-Pan American, is serving with Go Now Missions in Peru.