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Reaching out in Norfolk

September 2014 | by Matthew Pickhaver

Together with our friends at Hillcrest Chapel and fellow members of Norwich Evangelical Free Church (NEFC), we ran the same three-morning children’s club that we had done at Needham Market in February.

This was based on the theme, ‘The Sower, the Samaritan and the Son’, with songs, lessons, games, crafts and quizzes based on three of the Lord’s parables.

As well as praying, many others had helped make or collect resources, while nine people also gave up their time to be at some or all of the three mornings.

A total of 2000 fliers were distributed over five door-to-door sessions and in seven local primary schools — three of which gave one to every pupil, with one allowing me to take a special assembly. 

Having set up on Monday, we gathered on Tuesday for prayer, not knowing what to expect. As it happens, when 10.00am came, not a single child turned up. This may sound surprising, but in human terms it is not. This was a brand new venture in a new area and often it takes time to get known and to be trusted.

Strangely enough, one of our personal readings that morning had included Acts 16:6, ‘They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia’. This was a reminder that the Lord still knows best and is in control, even though, for whatever reason, it was not his will that we reach any children on this first day. A devotional we read in the evening contained the words, ‘God has always brought good things out of nothing’.

Nevertheless, we had a great time of fellowship together as we set about making extra banners to put up in the window and on the noticeboard by the road, drawing attention to the remaining two days. 

Children

While two of our number were out at the front, a lady drove past with her son Daniel. She had picked up a left-over flier in his classroom at the end of term and had set out to bring him, albeit a bit late. 

On hearing that there weren’t any other children, she said that she wouldn’t leave him but may come back earlier on Wednesday,  which she did. So we ran the first session on the Sower, adapting it for one, and Daniel, a confident six-year-old with some knowledge of Bible stories, listened well.

This caused us to reflect on the value of one soul. Very often our Lord himself dealt with one person at a time. On Thursday Daniel returned, having learned his memory verse (James 1:22), and bringing his 12-year-old sister, Amy, who stayed too. They were joined by Olivia, nine.

Olivia has attended some Christian holiday clubs and I’d also met her again while leafleting. All three children took part well together throughout the session and seemed to enjoy it very much, contributing to a Good Samaritan collage. 

As Daniel and Olivia were so keen, we offered to run day three on the Friday, to which their parents agreed. They returned for the final session, both having learned their memory verse (Romans 5:8) and bringing back their coloured-in memory verse booklets. Although we already knew that Amy could not make it, she had sent in her booklet too.

During the lesson and quiz, on the ‘Lost sheep, lost silver and lost son’, both Daniel and Olivia showed a good and growing understanding of what they were learning. They went away with a final memory verse (John 6:37) and some bookmarks and stationery with more Scripture on. 

Gratitude

Afterwards, I had a long chat with Daniel and Amy’s mother, who asked what we believed as ‘Free’ churches and I was able to explain the gospel briefly as well as inviting her to services at either Hillcrest or NEFC. She was very grateful for the club and left keen to be informed of any further events.

Pray that the Lord would guide us in our next step and that we may never ‘despise the day of small things’ (Zechariah 4:10), but remember that our ‘labour is not in vain in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58). 

Matthew Pickhaver

 

 

 

 

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