We try to work alongside our “disadvantaged” children as long as possible. Many of them go to our year-round camps, retreats and clubs, some even start going to church. Sometimes we see a change happen quickly, other times it takes years. Frontlines Ministries Director, Joshua McGuire, shares about a recent experience working with one of those children.
“Joel” and his sisters have been attending our camps and programs for a few years. Over the last couple of years, he has become increasingly disinterested in coming although his parents continue to make him. He came to the Brantford/Welland retreat this Fall and said that his dad promised this would be the last time he would have to come. I expected that Joel’s weekend would be like this summer, frequently feeling homesick and having constant squabbles with his cabin mates. Instead, Joel seemed to be happy, enjoying not only the activities, but also spending time with the counsellors and other boys. At one point during the weekend his cabin counsellor asked him, “Why don’t you want to come back to camp?” Joel said he enjoyed everything about camp, except for the chapels. Normally this answer would not have surprised me. Joel’s parents are not Christians and I have never seen Joel show any real interest in spiritual things. However, as I watched Joel over the weekend, I noticed something surprising, Joel was eagerly answering the questions that I asked the kids throughout the lessons. Not only that, but he looked like he was actually following and paying attention through the entirety of each chapel. For once, by all appearances, it looked like Joel was interested and engaged in spiritual things. It reminds me of how God works slowly and steadily in hearts. Many are like Joel, disinterested and in some cases even hostile to the Gospel. Yet in Ezekiel 36:26, God says “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Although Joel’s heart has been hard to the Gospel, my prayer is that God would do just that in his heart. Was this retreat the beginning signs of that happening? We’re praying so!
Give a gift: www.cefontario.org/give
Josh McGuire Frontlines Ministries Director