“Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.” John 6:5-6
Hello from Durres! Our short-term team has just finished a week of children’s camp with the Durres Evangelical Church, where we had 25 children attend. Each day we played games, sang, heard a Bible story, did crafts—a very typical week of camp. Yet as our team was prepping for the week of children’s camp over the past several months, I was preparing with the worst case scenario in mind.
I imagined that we could have a completely different set of children each day, that they would be so disruptive we could barely make it through teaching, that kids would come and go throughout the day, making it impossible for us to have any consistency with them. I was ready to change lesson plans at the last minute, and we brought lots of extra crafts and games in case what we had planned didn’t work out at all. As I prayed about the camp, I prayed more about the future interactions of the Durres church’s staff with the kids than I prayed about our week here with them, because I assumed our week would be crazy, and that we would just do the best we could.
I think all of these preparations and prayers were good and helpful; we were ready for anything and were able to go into camp knowing we could adjust on the fly as needed. But, we wound up with 25 kids who almost all came every day! They sat quietly for Bible time, they raised their hands, they had sweet answers to questions like “What has God provided for you?,” they didn’t throw any craft supplies across the room, and the only injury was one stubbed toe!
I had prepared for the worst, but God gave us a gift even better than I had thought possible. The whole time we were prepping and imagining what could have gone wrong, God already knew Himself what He would do. He already knew the 25 children He would bring to camp each day to hear about Him and to be loved by followers of Jesus in this city. Over the past few months of prep, I could have prayed with greater expectation that God would bring together the pieces of His plan—because for Him, it is no challenge to accomplish what He already knows He will do.
Several of our team members have been praying this week that over the next 10-20 years, kids from this camp will become leaders of the churches in Albania and carry the gospel throughout the country. To me, it seems like too big of a prayer to pray—but even as I am worrying about all the things could get in the way, Jesus already knows exactly what He will do in the hearts of these children. He may already be unrolling this plan.
Thank you to everyone who gave financially and prayed for this trip. God has used your giving and praying to plant seeds in 25 little hearts. Please pray with us that they grow and grow.
I am sure you learned a lot about expectations. And I am reminded of the great missionary statement of William Carey, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” Thanks for doing just that! And for being candid.
The prayer that “… kids from this camp will become leaders of the churches in Albania” was what God had put on my heart!
I am beside myself with joy to hear these things.
Oh, Mike talked about a mischievous boy… did your pants get pulled down? Ha!
Thanks Aubrey for the reminder that we are to pray big prayers and have great expectations from a very able Lord. I am confident that some of these kids you ministered to will be part of the church He builds in Albania!