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Missions with Children

This past Sunday night the children at our church shared with the rest of the congregation what they have been learning on Sunday nights over the last year. On Sunday nights the adults have a prayer meeting. The children then also pray, work on scripture memory and are systematically working through the countries of the world, learning where they are, what life is like there (particularly access to the gospel) and how they can pray for each nation. Over this past year they covered Africa and learned all the countries of Africa using some catchy songs arranged by region. The children sang these songs and college students who worked with the children read of key prayer requests for each region. They also sang a portion of Psalm 119 which they had learned. We concluded by praying for some of those requests.

It was a moving evening hearing all they had learned and being reminded of the needs in other places. To me the most moving part was hearing the children sing, “How Sweet and Awful.” My wife, who organizes our children’s ministry, taught them this powerful hymn and it summarizes well the missions emphasis. One of the parents caught a portion of the singing on video (I could not figure out how to embed it here).

Here are the words of the hymn:
How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?”
“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.
Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.
We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May, with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace
– Isaac Watts
(Note: All these photos and the videos were taken by Sarah Ellsworth)

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