|Abigail and me at my office desk|
Abigail’s luminous eyes scanned my bulletin board, eagerly seeking just the right choice. I said a silent prayer that she would be drawn to the photos of the little girls, but that request was not answered. “That one,” she said, with certainty. “I want that one.”
Abigail is five years old, the only daughter of dear friends of mine. The family recently visited us from North Carolina and they stopped by my office at Evangelism Resources to learn more about our mission. I explained several aspects of ministry, but immediately upon entering my office, Abigail was entranced by the photos of Unreached People Groups (UPGs).
I took her into my lap, showed her my computer monitor, and began telling her that there were many, many people who had never heard about Jesus—they did not even know His name! She had been wiggling, but suddenly her little body was still. She was thinking about that news.
|The flyer that caught Abigail's eye...|
Abigail has had the benefit of being born into a godly home. She has been in church since she was a baby, and probably does not remember a time when she did not know about Jesus. “Who will tell them?” she asked, and my eyes started filling with tears. Even though she was young, this child knew how to get to the heart of a matter.
I told her how brave friends of mine were working hard to tell others about Jesus, in spite of the fact that other people might hurt them for doing so. As I told her in the simplest terms possible, it was clear to me that the concept is truly very simple: someone must go. I told her that in my thinking the best way was to train someone like them, from their own country, and then send them with the gospel.
Evangelism Resources has launched a plan to adopt 15 UPGs for prayer and intentional evangelism. I have made flyers with information about the different groups, where they live, and which of our Schools of Evangelism is trying to reach them. These are the flyers on my bulletin board that Abigail was scrutinizing, and there was only one group I truly did not want this five-year-old to choose—the Devadasi. I simply hoped to avoid any awkward conversation with her to explain their plight, given into sexual slavery as temple prostitutes.
|Abigail makes her choice|
But Abigail would not be deterred. She was choosing the Devadasi and I bowed to her will. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was also bowing to the will of God. Again I pulled her into my lap, and tried to tell her about them. I know my voice quavered as I stammered to find the right words for her innocent ears. Finally I said, “As little girls, these women are given to work in the Hindu temples as slaves.” I dared go no further, and my explanation seemed to satisfy her.
Later that night, Abigail’s mother, Heather, was putting her to bed and they said evening prayers together. Heather returned to us, looking a little shaken. When she was able to explain what had happened, she said, “Abigail just prayed for the Devadasi, and you’ll never guess what she asked.” “She asked that God would save the Devadasi, and make it so they would not have to do the work they do.”
The room fell silent as we considered the thought that a five-year-old could pray such a Spirit-led prayer. The Word of God says that unless we become as little children we will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:2-4). One child-like quality I saw demonstrated that night was the capacity of a child to open her heart to the Spirit of God and pray for the lost, whether she understands all the details or not.
Just yesterday I got a text message from Heather. While praying for the Devadasi, Abigail stopped abruptly and said, “Mommy, someday I might just have to go to the Devadasi and tell them they need to obey God’s laws.” Out of the mouth of babes… Obviously, as she prays, God is stirring Abigail’s heart for missions.
Evangelism Resources is still recruiting prayer warriors for Unreached People Groups such as the Devadasi. If you’d like to join the prayer team, which now includes little Abigail and her parents, please send me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to sign you up!
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