Message From Matt | July 27, 2018

Impacted by 10 year olds! 
I met a couple of kids this past week while on our church mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico that really impacted me!  Both are 10 year old boys named Chi and David.  Chi asked me to pray with him because his father has been missing for 4 months.  Back on March 25th his father went to work that morning and called home that evening to say that he was going to stay overnight with a friend in the city because he had to be at work early the next day.  He said that he would be home that next night but he never showed up and the family doesn’t know if he is dead or alive.  The mom now has the burden to provide for 2 children that live at home and prays everyday that her husband is alive and will return home.  
David lives in the same mountain village as Chi and sells corn in a nearby town to help his family financially.  I consider his home life to be atrocious as he is often  abused and easily becomes aggressive with other children. Lately he has been cutting himself.  Veronica, Pastor Edmundo’s wife, approached David on the first day of VBS after he was being aggressive with some other kids and as she pulled him close to hug him and ask him why he was starting fights, he pulled back and said “ Don’t touch me”!  He said “When they hug me, they hurt me”.  Immediately, Veronica had tears well up and got Edmundo to figure out the best way to help him.  
Unfortunately, these two boys are not the only ones affected by these types of circumstances in their mountain village.   There are many that are affected in similar ways and yet looking at most of these kids, you can never tell that they live in bad conditions!  Most seem very happy!  Even though these kids had very few material things, especially compared to us, most seemed very happy.  The kids were happy to play “tag” or “duck, duck, goose”, to get candy, and to sing and dance to songs about Jesus!   Most everyone had fun!  Most everyone was happy!  I was impacted by their happiness! Thankfully, Chi asked God to forgive him and to save him which made all of us happy and David, who had already accepted Christ, actually got a microphone on the last day and “preached” for 20 minutes on forgiveness, honoring your parents and following Jesus!  I was impacted by David’s forgiveness!

Why were Chi and the other kids happy?  

Maybe it’s because they don’t know any better and aren’t aware of what we have in America and what they are missing out on.  Maybe they were excited for the American visitors to be there with them. Maybe they live life the best way they know how and are excited for any event that gets them out of their normal routine.  No matter what the reason is, these kids were happy.  Even though their circumstances weren’t the greatest, they still enjoyed every moment of the VBS!  Chi, even with the pain of missing his dad, was running around like a happy kid!   

Why was David forgiving?

When David got on the microphone and began speaking, all the kids stopped what they were doing and listened…for 20 minutes!  As he spoke he had tears in his eyes and and Cynthia, our translator, was crying while telling me what he was saying!  I was blown away when David said that Jesus loves us all and that He forgives us of our sins.  Since Jesus loves us and forgives us, we should forgive those who hurt and wrong us as well…even if it is our parents.  He went on to say that all of them needed to honor their father and mother because that is what the Bible says to do, not because they deserve it.  As I was listening to this, I couldn’t believe that it was coming from a 10 year old.  He was the best preacher that I heard all week as his message was full of truth and passion.  David forgave because Christ forgave him!  David forgave because the Bible states that we should forgive! 

So I have to ask, “Are you Happy? Are you forgiving?”

I hope that you are!  Actually, I hope that you are filled with the joy, peace, happiness, love and all the blessings that God gives to all of His children, but maybe you are not happy right now!  Maybe you are not feeling the joy of the Lord, which is different than happiness!  In fact, you might not feel the joy of the Lord in your life at all as many things have made you feel discouraged or depressed!  If that is you, I want you to be encouraged today!  I want you to remember that you have been given everything from a God that loves you so much that He promised to always be with you and to never leave you!   He has forgiven you of your sins and made you clean!  He has replaced your sadness with gladness!  He has given you hope and an eternal future with Him to look forward to!  He has been there for you in the worst times and during the best times!  He is good!  He is great!  Rejoice today that you have a God that can make “beauty from ashes”!

Be happy today!  Be forgiving today!