by Meagan Nijenhuis, Emmanuel Canadian Reformed Church of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario (July 2015)
(Meagan served on a short-term missions team that conducted one of the week-long “English for Kids” Bible Camps presented annually at St. Marc’s Reformed Church in Quebec City, where OP Missionary Rev. Ben Westerveld serves as Pastor.)
I recently returned from a week in Quebec City where we ran the English for Kids camp for children ages 5-12. And what a whirlwind of a week it was!
I only knew two of the other people on our team. Our team came from all over – four different congregations in Ontario, Canada, alone and then many congregations from Michigan and Pennsylvania. But it wasn’t long before we all got to know each other. All 21 of us were staying in one house after all! And the relationships that come from living with complete strangers for a week are incredible. The many differences between us were insignificant when what had brought us together was sharing the Gospel to the children of Quebec.
This was my fourth year back at the English for Kids camp at St. Marc. It is so awesome to see so many kids who come back each year and their younger siblings coming in as well. This year two of our translators were girls who have been in the camp in the past. It was such a blessing they could continue to be involved!
I taught the youngest children (ages 5-7) and man, if you need a hug, that is the job for you! These children are overflowing with love. They will randomly come up and give you a hug, hold your hand, request piggy back rides, or fall asleep in your lap. Now the question was: Are they learning anything from my Bible stories? How well can 17 children pay attention to a story that is for the most part being told in English? Our theme was “Celebrate Jesus,” so we focused on different things in the kids’ lives that tie to Jesus. We connected Christmas and Christ’s birth with their birthdays, and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the parade of the Quebec Winter Carnival as a couple of examples. On Thursday came my question, “What have you learned about Jesus?” My heart swelled as the majority of hands in my classroom flew up and the kids waited eagerly to be called upon.
I came back to my home congregation to a sermon by Rev. P. Feenstra which boldly underlined the purpose of our trip: We have been given the task of proclaiming the only hope and light that there is by the Almighty God. Please pray that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of the children in Quebec, of their parents, and of each of us that we can continue to share the gospel now that we’re back home.