It was July. I was six. Vacation Bible School at the local Baptist Church would be the main activity for the week. From this VBS on my parents would always find God-centered activities for us to participate in. Whether that was Sunday School, “scare-me-to-death-dive-under-the-seat” kind of Apocalyptic movie showings at Church, Wednesday nights, revival meetings, music lessons, junior high gatherings, sports, domestic and international trips with the family, etc etc etc. It was their lifestyle, and now ours, to always be focused on God, His people, growing in Him, and His nations…. and of course, good food.
See, English was our second language which meant that these 5 days would be deemed as “many involuntary shyness moments” for me, towards all VBS peers and kind-hearted teachers.
For at least 1 and 1/2 years my three brothers, my Mother, the nicest local Bible College student–turn Tutor, and I would sit around our dining room table reading, writing, and speaking English. These lessons mixed with the “special” reading classes in kindergarten thru sixth grade were working. (Yes, i was placed in a special education class, due to the need to learn a new language. And by 6th grade, speed reading class was the completion of these special education sessions.)
But for now, back to VBS. This day will not be forgotten. It was lesson time. All classrooms were filled with students from all over town and surrounding regions. Wooden chairs filled the class room in the basement level of the Main Building. Our classroom was at the bottom of the stairs, to the right of the All-Purpose room. Windows were grass level, giving a glimpse of the path which led to the sports fields.
Story time started. The woman whose voice was tender yet strong began to share with us the story of Salvation. Her voice drifted off and the scene in front of me was no longer the classroom.
He was so real. Jesus came to visit me. His choice of visit, was a little bit different. He didnt come and sit on a chair with me, but instead, He came on the cross. Love was eminating from Him and around Him. Joy was coursing through Him and from Him. His eyes were full of life and spoke volumes. He communicated with me Spirit to spirit. His expression of love was gentle. His conversaton, from His heart to me was clear, He gave His life so that I might live in relationship with Him. He spoke to me of His love for me. His sacrifice decreed that my sins were forgiven and He was celebrating–excited to reveal His Love towards me. He was wholeness. He was beautiful. He was real.
Watching Him on the cross was hard. The reality went to the core of my being. The price He endured was painful. Tears flowed. He loved me, and for that I was deeply moved. I loved Him. My life couldn’t be my own.
I was returning into the room, and realized the teacher was in my periphrial (to my left) kneeling down asking me if I was OK. Silence was still pretty strong within me. His presence was still the main atmosphere around me. She wasnt seeing what I was.
She, pointing her finger in the direction of recess field outside, asked me if I wanted to go play. The classroom slowly came back into focus. “No,” I said. In broken english, I replied, “Jesus loves me. I want to pray.” She was trying to understand my accent. I explained again. She slowly prayed the salvation prayer with me, as I basqued in this new understanding of His necessary sacrifice and His deep true love.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
“You are My friends if you do what I command you.
“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
“This I command you, that you love one another.””
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Jn 15:13–17). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.