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Page 1 Cover DESIGNER: Make sure to include cover price on cover of Magazine: $1.95 US $2.60 CN SHINE brightly January 2009 Vol. 38 No. 5 Cover Blurbs: Generation Change A Change is coming and that change could be you! Plant a Garden in Zambia (and never leave home!) Will our Legacy be Garbage? A cold hard look at trash The Rock One girl’s climb up an impossible wall No, No, No One unanswered prayer One girls’ frustration One reason to accept NO for an answer Should I tell him I love him? My parents won’t let me date Dear Emma talks about boys Page 2 Fragments Sticky, used Chapstick is all about love—at least for me anyway. A few months ago I had to go out of town for a few days. Before I left, my four-year-old daughter handed me her used Chapstick. “This is for you to take, Mom. It is all full of my love.” My daughter’s gift wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t something I had been asking for, and its sticky and used condition made it far from perfect. I’m sure anyone who found that sticky Chapstick in the bottom of my purse would see it as worthless. However, that sticky tube was one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given. There is a great Bible story about a woman who gave a pretty worthless gift. The Bible tells us that Jesus was watching as people brought their offerings. Many people offered great riches. But then a widow came by and dropped two coins into the offering. The coins were worth less than a penny—a pretty worthless gift from our standards. But Jesus called His disciples over and told them that the offering the woman had made was far grander than any other. She gave everything she had. It wasn’t what she gave. It was how she gave. It was the heart with which she gave. God doesn’t judge gifts the way the world judges. You are young, you probably don’t have much money or power, but that doesn’t mean that your gifts to God are insignificant. The next time you feel as though you have nothing to give, remember the Chapstick, remember the coins. Remember how a sticky tube delighted the heart of a mother. Remember that two small and seemingly worthless coins delighted and pleased the heart of your Abba Father. Page 3 SHINE brightly January 2009 Vol. 38 No. 5 Designer check photo credits Editor – Jan Boone; Senior Editor – Sara Lynne Hilton; Associate Editor – Amy White; Designer – Tina DeKam; All quoted Scripture is taken from the New International Version of the Bible. Copyright 2008 GEMS Girls’ Clubs, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49510, a ministry of Dynamic Youth Ministries. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission from the publisher. SHINE brightly (USPS 839-700) is published monthly except June, July, and August by GEMS Girls’ Clubs, PO Box 7259, Grand Rapids, MI 49510. Subscription price for nine magazines: $13.25 per year USA, $15.50 Canada. Bulk subscription orders to one address: $12.25 per year USA, $14.10 Canada and $19.00 Foreign. Periodical postage paid at Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Norwich, Ontario. Canadian Post International Publication Sales Agreement #41124116 at Norwich, ON. Postmaster, please send address changes to SHINE brightly, PO Box 7259, Grand Rapids, MI 49510. Printed in the USA. GEMS Girls’ Clubs, Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior, is a fifty year-old, nonprofit organization offered through local churches and Christian organizations around the world. This relationship-building program is available to girls in first through eighth/ninth grades, and has headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI. For information on how to start a GEMS Girls’ Club in your church or organization, contact GEMS Girls’ Clubs, PO Box 7259, Grand Rapids, MI 49510; Phone: (616) 241-5616 ext. 3032. SHINE brightly is a magazine for girls, designed to help them see how God is at work in their lives and in the world around them. GEMS Girls' Clubs is a member of the Evangelical Press Association, Barnabas Foundation, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and Christian Camping International. Contents Generation Change 4 Ripening Mangos 6 No for an Answer 8 Green Team 10 Dear Emma 12 You Warm My Heart 14 Wet Paint 16 The Rock 18 Reflecting Light 20 Life Lessons from the Bible 21 Page 4 Zach Hunter Generation Change “Generation Change is not going to wait for someone else—someone who’s older or better qualities; someone with more cash or more free time. Generation Change is not going to wait for someday. We are going to seize this day and breathe new life and hope and justice and freedom and peace and love into it. Because, we know that we are the someone and today is the day!” – Zach Hunter Zach Hunter is an abolitionist. An abolitionist is someone who works to abolish slavery. It’s estimated that more than 27 million people in the world are held in slavery (Free the Slaves). Modern-day slaves are forced to work in brick kilns, rice mills, fishing villages, or brothels. This wasn’t OK with Zach Hunter. At age twelve he founded the student-led anti-slavery campaign Loose Change to Loosen Change. His goal is to have slavery wiped from the planet. Zach is now 16. He spends his summers speaking to tens of thousands of people about helping change the world and about the topic of modern day slavery. In his second book, Generation Change, he calls out a younger generation to become active in social justice issues. “Its purpose is to shed a little light on some of the biggest problems facing our generation and inspire people to find ways they can make a difference. It’s easy to complain about what’s wrong with the world today. But I think my generation is tired of hearing complaints and excuses, and we’re eager to see people get busy and do something about the problems,” writes Hunter. “I believe our generation should launch a new movement of peace, love and justice—but this time, do it with God. The hippies talked a lot about ‘free love,’ but we’ve got to realize that true, lasting, life-changing love isn’t free. It costs—a lot! Real love means sacrificing something of ourselves, some of our own comfort. It means giving ourselves up like Jesus did.” What does generation change look like? In his book, Hunter profiles some of the characteristics of what he believes a generation of change would look like, including: People who love Jesus radically, and who translate that love into real action in their own lives and the lives of others. People who know that to love Jesus well, you need to know him personally and study his ways. People who lead humbly by serving. People who spend time helping the poor and the oppressed in the world. People who invest their influence to help others rather than hoarding it for themselves. People who prepare well for their future, so they are equipped to bring about change. SIDEBAR Two a Day? “About half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day (United Nations as reported in Generation Change). Zach Hunter challenges readers to understand what this means. Are you ready to take the challenge? For one week, try to live on two dollars per day. World Issues Statistics: Generation Change TINA you can use any or all or none of these depending on space. Your choice. “Over 42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and 74 percent of those infected people live in sub-Saharan Africa.” Generation Change “Statistics show that 80 percent of the diseases in Africa can be attributed to a lack of clean water.” Generation Change “Measles, malaria, and diarrhea are three of he biggest killers of children—yet all are preventable or treatable.” Generation Change Page 6 Ripening Mangos Sow Seeds—Plant a Garden in Zambia Zambian families can’t just run to the grocery store when they need food. Many Zambians plant small gardens to feed their families. That means that learning how to garden is an important skill. Girls in Zambian GEMS Clubs are learning this skill with the Horticulture Badge, found in the African Badgebook. This badge includes information about gardening as a means of supplying food for one’s family. You can provide food for families in Zambia by sending “seed money.” Every $7 you send will be used to purchase five different seed packets (shipping costs included) that can withstand drought conditions and match soil types and growing seasons in Africa. The vegetables from these gardens can be used to feed girls and their families and provide a small income when sold. Consider enclosing a photo of yourself and a brief note of encouragement using the downloadable gift card on our website (www.gemsgc.org. Click on the SHINE brightly magazine). Did you Know? 852 million people in the world are hungry. –Bread for the World Institute as reported in Generation Change Page 8 No for an Answer Daphne Dykeman Could not getting your way lead to something great? The cell phone on the table was ringing as Stacy walked in the door. “Could you get that?” her mother called. “I want to finish packing this box.” Stacy grabbed the phone on her way to the bedroom. “Hello?” “Hello. I’m calling from St. John’s Hospital. May I speak with Mrs. Winter?” “Just a minute, please,” Stacy said, passing her mother the phone. “It’s the hospital. Maybe they’ve changed their mind.” Stacy stared at the bare walls while her mother said, “Yes,” and “All right,” and “We’ll be there tomorrow. Goodbye.” “Well,” Stacy asked as the phone clicked shut. “Did they say that Grandma could come home?” “Oh, Stacy,” her mom said, giving her shoulders a squeeze. “Nothing’s changed. Grandma just can’t live in this big house anymore since she broke her hip.” “But it’s breaking her heart to have to leave her home. And I’ve been praying every night that God would make her well enough to come back here.” “Stacy, I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.” “But can’t God do anything? He could do a miracle for Grandma.” “Yes, He could. But God does say no to us sometimes. Have you always gotten everything you’ve asked for?” “Of course not,” Stacy said, fighting back her tears. “Not for silly things, like wanting school cancelled or getting a special toy for my birthday, but I thought He always answered the important requests. He helped Dad find a new job, and when Sara was in a car accident, He helped her get better. Why won’t He do the same thing for Grandma?” “I don’t know, Honey. But we have to trust that God always does what’s best for us, even if we don’t understand why He’s doing it. Remember that He loves your grandmother even more than we do.” Stacy looked up. “So I just stop praying about it?” “No, but maybe you need to change your prayer. Since Grandma is going to a senior’s home, what can you pray for that will help her when she’s there?” I can pray that she doesn’t feel homesick,” Stacy said. “And,” she continued, thinking harder, “I can ask for a way to make her apartment feel more like home.” She took a deep breath and let it go, as if she was letting go of her own plans for her grandmother. “Okay,” she said, “let’s get to work.” Stacy’s mom handed her a blanket form a pile on the bed. “Let’s sort these first. Some of them could go to the women’s shelter, but I’m afraid most of them will end up as rags.” Stacy held the blanket up to the light. “Did Grandma make this?” she asked in wonder. The quilt was made of twelve cream colored squares, and each one was a miniature garden. The colors had faded, and may of the threads had come undone, but Stacy couldn’t believe how beautiful the flowers were. “Yes. She made that for me the summer before I as born.” Stacy’s mom reached out and fingered the ragged edges of the quilt. “Well, it’s not good for much now. You can’t keep memories forever.” Her mother started sorting the rest of the blankets, but Stacy kept looking at the quilt. She ran her fingers over the squares, feeling the holes where little fingers had pulled out the threads. She tried to imagine her mother bundled up in that quilt, nestled on her grandmother’s lap. She couldn’t throw it away, even if it was shabby. In fact, one of the corner squares was still in good condition. Stacy looked at it closely for a moment, and then an idea burst into her head. She grinned to herself and said a silent, “Thank you, Lord!” while she tucked the blanket into a bag to take home. A week later, Stacy stood before her grandmother’s door. She knocked loudly then poked her head through the doorway, “Hi, Grandma!” she called out cheerfully. “I have a present for you!” “Oh, how nice of you to come see me,” her grandmother said as Stacy came into the living room. “But I don’t need any presents. I’ve got too much of my old junk crammed into this place as it is.” Stacy placed a package on her grandmother’s lap. “Open it!” she ordered. Her grandmother tore off the paper. “Why, Stacy!” she cried. A thin, ruffled pillow lay on her lap. The front of the pillow was the panel from the old quilt. Stacy had cut it out, tied up the loose threads, and filled in the missing pieces of the flowers with her own embroidery. Then she had taken a square of matching cloth, a strip of creamy lace, and some quilt batting and sewn it all together. “You did this?” her grandmother exclaimed. “You angel! That blanket was so special to me, but I didn’t want to bother your mother about it, with all the stuff she had to take care of. Now I can put it where I’ll always see it and remember those days. However did you think to make a pillow out of it?” Stacy laid her cheek against her grandmother’s soft, wrinkled on and gave her a squeeze. “Well, Grandma, it happened when I finally decided to take no for an answer. I’ll make you a cup of tea and then I’ll tell you all about it.” Did you Know? A study on kindness showed that kind people experience more happiness and have happier memories. Simply by counting acts of kindness for one week, people feel happier and more grateful” –National Institute of Heath as reported in Generation Change Page 10 Green Team Will Our Legacy be Garbage? Rainey Page Each one of us will leave our mark on God’s beautiful world. It may be in a planted tree, a story told, or our garbage. That’s right—our garbage. Have you ever thought about how long your garbage will last on God’s Earth? You know, the stuff you, your family, and friends toss in the trash. Test your garbage sense. Draw a line to connect the type of garbage to how long scientists claim each material can survive. Paper homework sheet 5 years Aluminum Pop can 100 years Old Leather shoes 4 weeks Plastic milk jug forever Glass juice bottle 2 years Styrofoam plate 500 years Tin soup can 800 years Wool socks forever Plastic shopping bag 50 years Banana peel 1 million years Much of your garbage can outlive you, whether gathered in a landfill or littered on the ground. Your garbage is what you will leave behind. Before you throw out a singe piece or a big bag of trash, think about it. Take time to find out what materials can be recycled. Before you purchase an item consider how long the item will sit in a landfill. God and all His creation is counting on you! Answers: Tina, how about small and upside down answers? Paper: 4 weeks Aluminum: 80 to 500 years Leather: Up to 50 years Plastic container: 1 million years to forever Glass bottle: 1,000 to 1 million years, and may be unknown Styrofoam: 1 million years to forever Tin: 50 to 100 years Wool: 1 to 5 years Plastic bag: 10 to 800 years Fruit peel: 4 weeks to 2 years The data was collected from the National Park Service and various state government and university websites. These are all estimate and dependent on conditions. In the answer section, the wide range of estimates collected for each material is listed. Page 12 Dear Emma Dear Emma, I have a friend that my best friend, but lately she has not been so nice. I never talk to her anymore, but we smile at each other in school. I always wonder what I did. But sometimes I feel like she hates me and never wants to see me again. I need help please, please, please, help me! Signed, Upset Dear Upset, When a relationship with a friend changes suddenly, it can be very confusing. I strongly encourage you to have your friend over for chat so that you can talk about what is going on. Ask her why things have changed and let her know how much her actions are confusing you. Let her know that you miss hanging out and that you want to know if there is something that you have done to upset her. Explain that you really want to try to fix whatever has happened because you have been friends for such a long time and you still really care about your friendship. Don't be angry when you talk, try to be calm and keep an even tone in your voice. You are not trying to accuse her but instead, you want to express your feelings about your friendship. In the end, she will either explain how she feels and the two of you will work out whatever has happened, or the two of you will need to unfortunately step away from the relationship for awhile. Before you talk to her, ask God to give you strength and guidance. Trust that He will give you all that you need in terms of giving you the right words to speak when you talk to her and the ability to be strong in whatever happens. Be true to you and know that whatever happens, you did all that you could to make sure that things were okay with someone that you care about. Love, Emma Dear Emma, My dad has a problem with his foot. It is swelled up and he limps a little when he walks. Because he is in pain he is really grouchy a lot. It seems that his main target is always me. He gets mad at every little thing I do. It is like no matter what I do I can't please him. Like on Friday I was helping him put some cut up pieces in his truck. But before we started putting them in the truck my mom said right in front of him that when she would take me to the store. My dad got mad and so my mom told me that I should stay and help unload the truck so I did. But he was so mad that all he did was put the tailgate down on his truck and let it fall off the back down the small hill that we have in our yard. Then he left. I went out of my way and stacked it all up nicely by the tree. He didn’t even say anything and stormed off into his shop. No matter where I go whether it is outside or in my room I am always his main target. Please help me so that I know how to talk to him and tell him that is hurts my feelings when I am the only one that he gets mad at me. Sincerely, Trying hard to understand girl Dear Trying Hard to Understand Girl, I am really sorry to hear about your Dad. My Mom just had surgery on her foot and she is also in a lot of pain, so I understand what it is like to have a parent that is not well. Sometimes when people are in constant pain, they just do not know how to handle what is going on and take it out on others. That could be what is happening with your dad. Try to understand that he is probably very frustrated that his foot is not okay that he is constant pain. Although it is not the right way to be treating you, consider that he is not trying to be mean, but is really struggling with how to deal with the changes in his life. When he seems to be particularly upset, try praying for him. When you pray, also ask God for an extra measure of patience and understanding when he gets upset at you. Know that through all of it, he does love you very much. Even when he doesn't say it, he probably does appreciate all that you do for him. The other thing that you can do, is to talk to your Mom about some of your frustrations. Maybe she will be able to talk to your Dad about how some of his actions are making you feel. Love, Emma Dear Emma, I have two girls in my class, I overheard them gossiping about me and other people. They won't let any other people play with them either. They say and do hurtful things to others. Some days I find myself becoming upset about it but I am to shy to say anything. I would like to know how to handle this situation without hurting other people’s feelings. Please HELP!!! From: Needs Advice Immediately Dear Needs Advice Immediately, It sounds to me like you are going to need to have an adult get involved with this situation. I would start by talking to your Mom and then perhaps you can go together to talk to the teacher about what is happening with these girls. They are going to need to be spoken to about their behavior and attitudes. With an adult's help, these girls will hopefully realize that what they are doing is not okay and that it needs to stop. Through all of this, I encourage you to remain strong. You have done the right thing to ask for help with this situation. I also encourage you to pray for these girls that they may realize how hurtful their actions are. Pray that God will work in them so that they will stop treating people so unkindly and pray for patience as you deal with their gossip and hurtful behavior. Remember that no matter what they say, that you are an amazing child of God and are very precious to Him!!! Love, Emma Dear Emma I have this treasure box where I keep all my secrets. My friend is always begging me to show her what’s inside. I know that if I told her, she would tell everyone! Even if she says she swears she won’t tell. Even though we've been friends over two years now, I still don’t trust her, because she told my secrets before. What should I do? Sincerely, Secret Dear Secret, There is nothing wrong with keeping secrets as long as they are ones that should be kept. If there are things in that box that are really important to you and you want to keep them private, there is no reason that you have to show your friend. Just tell her that it is a private box and that you really need her to respect the fact that the things in there are special and important to you and that you don't want to share them with anyone. If she truly cares about you she needs to accept that fact and stop asking you about the box ... Don't be scared to keep it to yourself. Love, Emma Dear Emma, I really like this guy right? But I don’t know if he likes me! I really want to go out with him, but I’m not really allowed to. But I like him, and what if he does ask me out? What am I supposed to say?? Please help me!! From, Uncertain Dear Uncertain, I think that the best thing to do here is to stay friends with all guys for now and not to worry about this going out thing, especially because you are not allowed to date yet. I know that there might be a lot of pressure on you to get into the whole dating scene but there will be lots of time for that when you get older. If he asks you out, just be honest about the fact that you are not allowed to date right now. Do not go behind your parents' backs and date without their permission. In the future when you start dating, you need to bring the relationship to God in prayer and talk to Him about whether or not the guy you want to go out with is a guy that God wants you to hang around with. When choosing someone to date, make sure that he is Christian and shares the same beliefs as you do. Also make sure that you and your parents have had a talk about the dating guidelines they expect of you so that there is no confusion about what their thoughts are on the issue. Always remember how important it is to ask God about who you are dating and make sure that your relationship is founded in Him. Love, Emma Jan, super curious if you are going to let this one in!!! What do you think? Dear Emma, I read this column on how no one can fill your soul but God (not even boys). For the past year now I've been together with this guy, and I never thought much of it, besides that I really like him and vice-versa, until last night. We were talking on email until my mom said I had to get off and do my homework so I said "srry gtg, see ya 2moro bye." And he went "kk cya later" and then right when I’m about to sign off he goes "I love you.” I had no idea what to do so I went "love ya too.” Since reading that column I’ve felt bad. I mean I had strong feelings for this guy, but I had no idea that he would have that strong of feelings back. I have to admit, I have thought in my head that I loved him, but I don't think I would have the guts to tell him just now. But at church today we talked even more and it wasn't even awkward (because he usually gets really nervous and blushes when he talks to me), like I thought it might. Was it wrong to say I love you back? I know I'm young but I couldn't lie to him. A considerable amount of advice is needed! Sincerely, Confused, but in love Dear Confused but in love, Saying I love you for the first time to that special someone is a very big deal and something that should not be taken lightly. It does sounds to me like the words are genuine for both you and this guy. It does not sound like you said them flippantly or without giving them any thought. In fact, I would guess that you have spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not to say them and have hopefully also prayed about the situation. You are at an amazing time of life, one that can be a ton of fun but one that can also be very confusing. I really encourage you to spend some time in prayer and to think about what you feel God is saying about your relationship. Ask yourself some tough questions: Have you taken the time to bring your relationship to God? Have you asked God if He wants you to be dating yet? Have you prayed about whether or not this guy is right for you? It is really important to be talking to God about your boyfriend and to know if you are following God's plan or your own. Make sure that you are seeking God's will for your relationship. You should also have a talk with your parents about the dating scene and set some guidelines that you are all comfortable with. That way, you are all on the same page and know what the rules are. Finally, I encourage you to be open and honest with your feelings. These are beautiful words and if you have put as much thought into them that you have said, then be assured that it is all right. Enjoy hanging around this guy and continue to keep God as the head and center of you relationship. Love, Emma Page 14 You Warm My Heart What you Need: 2 sheets of construction or cardstock paper (8 1/2 x 11) Scissors or paper cutter Ruler Pencil Glue stick Stapler Packet of hot chocolate (.71 oz) Markers Stickers (optional) What to Do: 1. Cut one piece of paper into a rectangle that is 8 inches by 5 inches. The other piece of paper should be cut into a rectangle that is 6 inches by 5 inches. 2. Fold both pieces of paper in half (one paper is now 4 x 5 and the other is 3 x 5). 3. Cut a heart out of the 3 x 5 piece of paper (see picture). This will become the handle of the mug. 4. Place the middle of the heart along the fold of the 8 x 5 piece of paper. Put a staple through the bottom and the top of the heart. 5. Glue the two sides of the heart together (it should now look like a handle). 6. Place a thin line of glue on the paper mug along the bottom and the side opposite the fold. Press firmly. Allow the glue to dry. 7. Decorate the paper mug using markers and stickers. Here are a few ideas of what you might say: You warm my heart! Having a friend like you is a toasty treat! You’re sweet! Place the packet of hot chocolate inside the mug. Give it to someone you love! Page 16 Wet Paint Kristen Grade Five Judy got up from bed and walked over to the bathroom. “I wish I were pretty! My hair is getting knotty and my eyes seem dull.” She looked at a magazine on the bathroom counter. It showed three beautiful girls with fancy hair and expensive clothes. “I wish I were one of them,” Judy said jealously. “I am so jealous!” Judy did all her usual morning activities and came down for breakfast with a frown on her face. What’s the matter?” Judy’s mother asked. “Cheer up! It’s Christmas break and you have no school.” She handed Judy a cup of hot chocolate and sat down next to her at the dinner table. “Mom,” Judy answered, “I’m not pretty and I feel so unimportant.” She pointed to the magazine. “If you’re so unimportant, why do you think God put you on earth?” Judy thought for a moment. “I don’t know.” Her mother answered, “You’ve been put down here for a reason. You many not know what that reason is, but I assure you that someday you’ll find out. Remember that you’re one of God’s precious gems and He polishes you with His love! We were all put down here for a reason. To Him, we’re more precious than crystals, diamonds, emeralds, or rubies! Sometimes we might think we’re nothing, but we’re worth so much more!” Page 18 The Rock Sarah Isaacson “Here we are,” our leader Kiki said. After hiking a winding trail and enjoying the smell of fresh pine trees along the way, our girls’ club stared upward. A craggy wall made of rough granite stood before us. The top, our destination, appeared too far away. I gulped and had second throughtsw about doing this. Kiki talked about how to proceed. “As we discussed before,” Kiki said, “I’ll climb first and set the wedges and nuts. Janna, my trusty assistant, will stay down here and be your belayer. Be first, let’s pray.” We made a quick circle and Kiki led. “Heavenly Father, we dedicate this climb to you. Thank you for giving us strong bodies to do this. Help us to use the lessons and wisdom we have learned to make good decisions and take courageous steps. In the name of Jesus.” “Amen!” we all said. After the prayer, I felt a teensy bit more confident. We each stepped into our harnesses and pulled them up to our waists. After I had tightened mine and attached my carabineer, my friend checked me and I checked her, just like we had been taught. We were ready for the rope. We craned our necks to watch Kiki scramble up the rock like a spider, pausing, and scrambling upward again. Her eleven years of experience showed as she deftly located the cracks. Occasionally, she dusted her hands with chalk. Then like a tiny doll on a very tall building, she stood at the top,. She yelled down to us. “Okay, I’m ready when you are!” I wanted the other girls to try it before me, but they were just as inexperienced. I thought about the lessons we had taken, the hours we had spent practicing our knots and holds, and how many times we had triumphantly reached the top of the practice wall. This rock was only taller. I found my hand slowly rising to volunteer. “I’ll do it. I’ll go first.” “Great,” Janna said, “and remember, girls have strong legs. That’s the way God made ya. Use what God gave ya.” I threaded the rope through my carabiner and knotted it. After she checked my work, I grabbed for my first hold and climbed onto the rock. As I stood off the ground, I breathed deeply and the fresh air encouraged me. I readied for my first hold an Janna tightened the rope. After several easy placements of my hands and feet, I stopped. I had progressed several feet from the ground. My feet were secure, but I didn’t know where to place my right hand next. “Take your time. It’s okay. I’ve got ya,” Janna said from below me. I had made sure to drink plenty of water earlier. Still, my mouth felt uncomfortably dry. I felt tired. This had to be as far as I was able to go. I let myself dangle from the taut rope. “Grab for the wall again,” Kiki said from above. “I can’t,” I yelled up to her. My voice croaked, not revealing my earlier optimism. I considered having Janna lower me to the ground. I would be easier than continuing. Then I made the mistake of looking down, way down. “Agh!” “Calm yourself,” Kiki’s voice carried, “Listen to me. You can’t see what I can from up here. You’re past the halfway mark. You’re almost here. The hardest part is over. It’ll be worth it, really!” When my body swung closer to the rock, I grabbed the edge of a narrow crevice. This is what I had spent months practicing. This was my opportunity to put my lessons to the test. I placed my feet onto the rocky wall. I reached above me. Unable to see my hand, I felt around blindly until I located a hold. Encouraged, I grunted as I stretched my legs to my next spot. My muscles burned. I advanced hand over hand, and inch by inch. The final ten feet lasted longer than the first three-fourths of my climb. Occasionally I hear encouragement from above and voices of friends encouraging me from the ground. By the time I reached the top, the climb had become easier. I felt like I could climb forever. Still, I sighed relief when Kiki helped me past the anchor. A sense of joy and strength flowed out of me. Congratulations, you did great! I knew you could do it,” Kiki said, and hugged me. Then she knelt to coach the next climber. From our lofty position, I stood higher than the treetops. I saw the river like a piece of thick, silver thread and the distant road that looked like a wavy piece of rope. The view made everything appear miniature, like Kiki had looked when I was on the ground. Waiting for the others at the top of that rock, with a bird’s eye view of the incredible valley, I prayed. That was new for me. Usually I only prayed when I needed something, like when we started the climb. But something came out of my mouth, naturally—a prayer of thanks. Thanks God for Your awesome world. I really like it. Thanks for making it for us to enjoy. Thank you for strong muscles and good balance. Thank you for these sights and the smell of fresh air. Thanks. SIDEBAR Rock Climbing Glossary Anchor: The last point that the rope is attached, found at the top of a cliff or rock. Belay: For safety, a person holds the end of the rope at the bottom of the rock. Carabiner: Metal rings used as connectors. Harness: Like a belt and worn by a climber to stay attached to the rope. Holds: A place on a rock or climbing wall to temporarily cling or stand. Nuts: Metal attached to a wire loop inserted into cracks in a rock for protection. Wedges: A tapered piece of metal inserted into cracks in a rock for protection. Page 20 Reflecting Light February’s Reading: Luke 14- Luke 22 Luke 15:8-10 I really like this parable. It is about a woman who has ten coins. She loses one coin and she searches all over to find it. When she finds it she is so happy and calls all of her friends. Sometimes I feel like I am just one little person and there is no way I could really matter to God. But this parable says that God rejoices when someone comes to him just like the woman who lost and found the coin. I thought that was cool. Daphne, age 12 Luke 18:35-42 There was this blind beggar and he called out to Jesus and wanted Jesus to heal him. And Jesus stopped what He was doing and healed him! I’ve been reading through the Gospels this year and it is like every time someone asks Jesus for help, He always stops to help. You’d think Jesus would be too busy, but He totally cares. It makes me think that if I call out to Jesus for help that He will care about me too. It also makes me think that I should take the time to be like Jesus and help other people. Kaitlyn, age 13 Page 21 Life Lesson Sixteen Be the Change World Changers: In history class Zach Hunter learned about Harriet Tubman, a former slave who went on to help free other slaves. Zach told his mom, “Man, if I had lived back then, I would have fought for equality, and against slavery.” “Slavery is still going on throughout the world in many ways, shapes, and forms,” his mom said. Zach was shocked. He asked his mom to help him find out more. He learned that most slavery revolves around money or lack of it. Zach said, “Whole families get into medical dept and have to work in a brickyard until they die. Some kids are forced to roll cigarettes all day long.” Zach knew change was needed! When he was twelve he started a campaign called Loose Change to Loosen Chains (LC2LC) because he felt a need to do something to bring freedom to the victims he was learning about. Today, Zach is educating people about slavery, collecting nickels, dimes, and quarters, and giving the money to organizations that are preventing enslavement and rescuing slave victims. Zach encourages all the students he meets to put their energy toward things that really matter and together needed changes will come to today’s world! Walking Requirements And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in darkness, and your night will become like noonday. Isaiah 58:10 1. Who does this verse tell you to spend yourself on? 2. How can you help these people? 3. What happens when we spend ourselves on behalf of these people? My Choice: What injustice are you passionate about? You have the choice to A) Be the change. B) Ignore the need. C) Wait until you are older to make a difference. What choice will you make? Explain. Get Walking: Be the change! List two ways you can help someone (or a people group) in need. Do one of the two things you listed. Life Lesson Seventeen Outrageous Mercy! World Changers Born in Zambia, Given Kachepa was in elementary school when both of his parents died. He was alone and like many other orphans he became prey to slave owners. When he finished seventh grade, Given was tricked into slavery. A ministry called TTT announced that is was supporting a Zambian Boys Choir tour. Given was one of the twelve boys who made the choir. They practiced for two years as a group and then performed in American churches. The boys were promised that the money earned from singing would go toward building schools in Zambia! They were also promised other gifts like clothes and an education. Sadly none of these promises were kept and the boys were treated poorly. The boys didn’t go home because to do so would bring disgrace to their families. Finally, a government agency saw the awful things the boys were experiencing and stepped in to help. Today, Given is no longer a slave and lives with an American family. He’s changing the world through his smile and attitude. He could have chosen to be bitter and angry with God and his oppressors. Instead, he’s chosen to forgive and rejoice in the outrageous mercy God showed him! Walking Requirements: Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? Matthew 18:33. Read Matthew 18:21-35 1. In this parable whom does the King represent and whom do the servants represent? 2. What does it mean to have mercy? 3. Personalize Matthew 18:33 and answer the question. Shouldn’t ________(your name) have mercy on ___________(someone you need to love or forgive) just like God had mercy on__________(your name)? My Choice: How willing are you to show mercy to others? A) Depends on the person. B) Depends on my mood. C) Depends on my willingness to love the way God wants me to. Will you choose to always show others God’s mercy? If so, how? If not, why? Get Walking! Think about someone who has wronged you. List two ways you can show outrageous mercy to this person. Do one of the two things you listed this week. Life Lesson Eighteen Practicing self-forgetfulness World Changers: During Stephanie’s senior year in high school she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the disabled. She signed up to be a Friendship Ministries teacher. Through teaching she could share God’s love with people who have cognitive impairments. Before the first meeting, Stephanie felt sick, “My stomach was turning. I was so nervous,” Stephanie said. “I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know anyone, and no one my age was teaching.” Stephanie humbly asked Jesus to help her. “I opened the front door of the church and there was a student,” Stephanie said. “He gave me a hug and said, ‘My name is Donald, what’s your name?’” Next she met her student, Kathy. “Kathy is hilarious!” Stephanie said. “She gave me a hug, grabbed my hand, and introduced me to all her friends.” The highlight of Friendship night is singing with the students. She said, “Their enthusiasm and passion is unbelievable!” Stephanie forgot herself and her worries when she chose to humbly focus on Jesus. “When I said yes to serving Jesus, I was embraced by precious people who freely give love to Jesus, each other, and to me. I love being their teacher and friend!” Walking Requirements: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 1. What “clothing” does Jesus want us to wear? 2. List the opposites of the “clothing” listed in this verse. 3. How do we wear Jesus’ “clothing”? My Choice: What’s the hardest part of being self-forgetful? A) I like it when everyone focuses on my needs. B) I like to have my way. C) I love to feel important. Will you choose to make much of Jesus instead of much of yourself? If so, how? If not, why? Get Walking! List two ways you can give Jesus the place of importance He deserves in your life. Do one of the two things listed this week.
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