Children sit on the floor, colouring and talking excitedly. Most of them have names like “Assad,” “Mohammed,” and “Aisha.” Many of the girls wear head coverings, decorated in sequins or shiny threads. Mothers sit in the back chattering away in a foreign language, thankful for a short break. And in the midst of this all, the Kids’N’Things team from OM Lifehope prepares to tell these kids about Jesus.
The team arrives at Ladypool Road Congregational Church an hour early to set up for the last day of Easter holiday club. They quickly busy themselves with setting out craft supplies or prepping Bible stories, while volunteers from Lifehope and the church help wherever possible. After everything is prepped for the day, the group takes some time to sit and debrief about the previous days. The first day of the club brought twenty-four kids and on the second, close to forty-five came, so they are anticipating a good turnout. “People knew about it, heard about it, and they came,” says Kees-Jan Koster, leader of this week’s club.
The team closes in prayer and children gradually file in, getting started on a craft. The kids are divided into three teams: Yellow Shooting Stars, Green Pearly Seaweeds and Shiny Sharky Submarines, fitting with the theme of Lionheart’s Great Undersea Adventure. Soon around forty kids have arrived, and the group transitions from craft-making to game time. Children squeal and shout as they play Sharks and Fishermen, thoroughly invested and having a wonderful time.
After a short break for biscuits and juice, the team shifts modes once again, gathering the kids together to watch a puppet show featuring the main character Lionheart, and then perform a “funky song.” Acting out various hand motions, the children sing along to the lyrics, “You’re the God of the impossible, and I’m wonderstruck by you.” Next, a few children are selected from the audience to participate in a short drama, where they learn about the importance of the Bible, saying, “Maybe you should read it for yourself.”
Teaching truths about God and the Bible takes up the rest of the day. As the children learn “How do we know it’s true?” they are introduced to Christian topics they might otherwise never have heard. Tamara Verboom presents the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. According to Kees-Jan, “It shows God’s power and who God is.” The children are restless, as children are, but some of them are focused and paying attention. As Tamara talks, the mothers in the background look on, and one Muslim father walks in, sitting down and watching too.
Soon enough, this intimidating experience is over, and the room is empty except for the workers who stay to clean up and take down the set. It’s hard to tell how many of the children or parents will be affected by what they heard today, but all we can do is continue to sow seeds and obey what the team sang during their final song: “Don’t worry, trust Jesus.”