Today as I was teaching the youth in Sunday School, I noticed a couple of things that God has been using to teach me a couple of lessons this afternoon.
The first thing is really a praise. For one thing, every Sunday we're having more youth come to the Sunday School hour to study with us. This is very encouraging to me, not for number's sake, but because it shows me that the youth are learning, or being challenged by God's Word, or at the very least, understanding what I'm trying to teach :o) We have been studying "How to Think Like Jesus", and I believe these passages from the Bible are really connecting with their needs at these crucial stages of their lives. So praise the Lord for reaching and teaching them and for using and teaching me at the same time!
Another thing I noticed this morning taught me a couple of different things. What I noticed was that at the end of the lesson today, I felt like this lesson really connected with every teen in that room. I'm sure it probably sounds really impressive to all of you uni-lingual people back in the States that I'm trying to teach all in Spanish. But in reality, I just prepare my notes ahead of time with, literally, everything I'm planning to say. So at times, I'm more reading my notes than communicating personally. I mean that's fine and everything (didn't Charles Spurgeon do the same and just read his sermons?), but now I'm starting to get to the point where I can leave my notes more often and just speak about whatever the Holy Spirit is laying on my heart. I always noticed when I was working with the teens at Cornerstone that those were the times when I seemed to connect best with the teens - when the Holy Spirit leads me to speak about something I wasn't planning on speaking about. That way, only God can get the glory for the teaching and its effect on the teens lives, not some clever way I devised my lesson.
Well, anyway, at the end of the lesson today, I put down my notes and just talked to the teens. I tried to emphasize to them when I shared my testimony that I am nothing special - I am not some kind of significant person that God is sending to another country - but that I am only a slave of Jesus Christ. I told them that the only reason that God is leading me and using me is because I made the decision to surrender my life to Him when I was 12 years old. And we've been together long enough now, and I've messed up my Spanish enough times, that they've seen that I'm nothing special. Today we talked about the lives of 4 men in the Bible that God used in a very powerful way - Abraham, Joseph, David, and Saul/Paul. We studied what their lives were like before God called them and what their lives were like after they surrendered their plans and followed God's will for their lives. So at the end, I just tried to communicate to them how much bigger God's plans are for them than any plans they could have for their own lives. And it was one of those times where we really connected. I mean every person in that room met my eyes. There was nobody talking, looking around, or doing other things. It was very powerful to me to see God working in their hearts and challenging their thinking.
That taught me two things. #1 - You can communicate more sometimes through "heart language" than you can through spoken language. I know I messed up my Spanish, probably, when I left my notes, but they all got exactly what I was trying to communicate. #2 - That I still need to work on learning more Spanish. Seeing that it is more effective to communicate heart-to-heart, I really need to become more knowledgable of the language so that I can communicate more fluently and be able to be free to say whatever the Holy Spirit leads me to speak on.
So I am very encouraged today! I am encouraged that God chooses and uses weak vessels. I am encouraged that God qualifies the called. I am encouraged that the youth here are hungry for God's Word. And I am encouraged that God can use me and teach me at the same time. We serve a great and powerful God who gives us the blessed opportunity of being a part of reaping eternal fruit in our world.!