Steven and Lisa Rief, Redland, OR

Posted in: Stories From The Fields
Date: December 7, 2016

Rief-Steve-Lisa-SquareAnticipation was high for the beginning night of our AWANA Kid’s Club in mid-October. A week before, we had a “worker’s” meeting in our home to schedule the year’s events, get feedback and new ideas and pray together. We could hardly stop the talking, everyone was so excited and sharing and laughing. Ideas came in rapid succession and just as fast, groups of two or three committed to taking responsibility for all the details. What a joy to start a new year with so much energy and support!

Yet, as the first night approached, though we’d sent postcards, put up flyers, and put out a new bright sign along our main road, few called to ask for info. The past few years had seen the number of regular clubbers really decline. This year, as the clock reached our advertised start time, I stood in the building without anyone yet registered for the new year. Then, slowly, they trickled in, some running late, but all smiling and leaping, parents telling us that “for weeks” AWANA was all their kids could talk about. “Is it today? They started asking from practically the beginning of October!” I was reminded, again, why we do this. These kids love learning about Jesus and they memorize scripture with such enthusiasm, as though they sense a real privilege to “hide it in their hearts.”

I mentioned to one of our volunteers that AWANA had really shrunk and was immediately told, “What does the number matter–that’s God’s business. Look at the kids that are here!” That’s right. God has brought us two unsaved families from the community and a number of very excited Christian kids who have their own lights–for Jesus to shine! I am humbled by their authentic excitement and look forward to what God will do this year!

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