Things have been very busy for me lately. We are one week away from the debut of our school musical, “Down by the Creek Bank,” and there is still much to do. Set pieces, props, and final touches take up my thoughts, my time, and my energy. I think this is probably what my mother feels like as she plans Easter and Christmas worship services each year! I don't know how she does it -- this is hard!
And I am stressed. But in the middle of all of this I still make time for a weekly bible study with the teenage girls at GSCH. Since it is a choice for them to come, the numbers in attendance fluctuate each week. When I started this bible study 8 weeks ago, I had 8-10 girls on a given night. But lately I have had a faithful 4-5 girls who come every week with their bible and notebook, ready to learn.
It saddens me that many of the girls would rather sit in front of their TV for an hour instead of spending that time focused on eternal things, but I am grateful for the small, consistent group of girls that I do have. My prayer is that this small group will grow in Christ and have an impact on the other girls in their casita in ways that I never could.
On Sunday afternoon I sat with a visitor and talked about these bible studies. She was very encouraging to me, and she wanted to do something nice for the girls who attend. She pulled out a few dollar bills and said, “Could I give you some money to buy the girls an ice cream after bible study one night?”
“Sure!” I replied.
“How much will you need?” She asked. “Is $6 enough?”
That's enough for 6 girls. I thought. That's plenty! I 'm only expecting four or five.
Before I gave my answer, she asked again, “Or maybe $7, just in case?”
Knodding my head, I thought, I don't think I'll have seven girls …
Before I could answer, she put $8 into my hand. I was grateful for this gift to my bible study girls, but secretly I was thinking, There is no way 8 girls are going to come. I haven't had that many girls for the past 4 weeks!
On Monday morning, I needed to print out a worksheet for each girl who was to come. I remember standing at the copy machine thinking, How many should I print out?
I wanted to believe that more girls would come, but I also didn't want to waste a bunch of paper and ink on worksheets that no one would ever use. I decided to print 8 worksheets, since that is the amount that the visitor had given me the day before.
I have been praying and praying for the girls at GSCH – that God will give them a hunger to know Him deeper and to serve him wholeheartedly. But even as I have been praying this prayer, I have had a lingering doubt in the back of my head that he will fulfill this prayer.
So as I walked up to the Casitas on Monday night, I didn't know what to expect. I went to Casita 5 first (16 – 18 year old girls) and asked if anyone wanted to come to bible study. Per the norm, they all ignored me for a few seconds as they stared blankly at their television screen. So I asked again.
Then one girl looked over at me to say something.
Here comes some snarky remark or excuse of why she doesn't want to come. I thought. She had never attended before -- she liked her show too much.
“I'll come.” She told me. Then she turned to her housemates, “Tell me how it ends.”
I stared speechless as she rose from the couch and walked to her room to grab her bible.
Okay, then, I thought. Let's see about Casita 3.
I walked 40 yards to Casita 3 (13-15 year old girls) and I could barely ask the question before girls were getting up from their couch to go retrieve their bibles.
“Wait for me, Bailey!” They told me. “I'm coming!” Again I was surprised, but I waited for them and we walked to the Cafeteria together.
Once we got to the Cafeteria and sat down, I took a head count.
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight.
There were eight girls present.
We continued with bible study in a different way than usual. Instead of telling them about a passage of scripture, I handed each of them their own worksheet (Thank goodness I had printed eight!), and I told them to spread out in the cafeteria to be alone and spend time with the Lord. Once we were all situated, we each individually studied Psalm 73 – “Though my heart and my flesh may fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I looked around at each of the girls and prayed.
Thank you for these girls, Lord. Fill them. Be their strength. Speak to their hearts tonight.
He spoke back to me, “Oh, ye of little faith.”