In Matthew 19:14 Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” With the heart of this verse in mind, a team from Kentucky traveled to Columbia from June 17-25, 2016 to share the love of Christ with the children of Bogotá.
After taking an overnight flight and getting little sleep, the team set out on their first day sharing the simple story of God’s grace through a book by Max Lucado called Because I Love You. The children eagerly listened to the story and how it related to them, how Jesus had given his life for them, and then practiced telling the story themselves by creating salvation bracelets. The team was then privileged to assist the church of GO Partner Guillermo Parra in serving a meal to these precious children, who were all living in small shacks near a garbage dump. These children were sweet and eager to be loved on, soaking up each hug and kind word as Guillermo’s church offered haircuts, facepainting, and treats. Each morning the team traveled to a different feeding center run by Pastor Guillermo to share grace and love through song, stories, crafts, and food, with each team member, including pastors, teachers/professors, veterinarians, dieticians, and college students, stopping to take time for the least of these.
Another important focus of this team was to empower the children of Pastor Guillermo’s church to pray for the nations. Each day the children came to learn the steps of intercessory prayer (based on Jane Mackie’s book Kids Pray!). On the first day, about 120 children came to learn about the chains that sin and unforgiveness try to wrap around our hearts and how we have to repent daily. To illustrate this, children drew or wrote personal sins as well as lies from the enemy on paper chain links, and then in unison broke those chains off, symbolizing the power of forgiveness and grace in our lives. They also made prayer journals as a tool to help them pray for themselves and their families. On day two, the children learned about the power of praise worship. With the help of worship leaders from Guillermo’s church, the team taught nearly 160 children about using worship as a way to focus your whole heart on God as they danced, sang, and praised, lifting up a sweet sound to heaven. Children then used inflatable prayer globes as tool to pray for Nicaragua, specifically praying for another GO partner, Carlos Mayorga, as well as the country of Nicaragua which recently suffered a major earthquake, Venezuela, where food and medical attention is scarce, and for Columbia, their home country. To see the children praying with eyes closed and arms lifted was a special moment to say the least. The third day of our conference our numbers grew to around 180 children who came to pray for all the nations of the world. We took a large world map (26’ x 40’) and set up prayer stations all around the map where children were invited, in small groups, to pray for orphans, child laborers, the homeless, the hungry, and various other needs around the world. Seeing children from ages 2-14 pray for other children’s needs around the world is something powerful yet hard to describe. I know the heart of the Father was moved because our hearts were moved and also challenged to become like these children, whose inheritance is the kingdom of heaven.