Festiniños Event at New Ministry Center
We signed the papers to finalize the purchase of the property on Thursday of last week. By Friday afternoon, the place was crawling with activity as we kicked off Festiniños 2012 (Kidsfest).
Our first event was training children’s workers. There were roughly 80 people who came to discover new ideas for teaching children about God’s Word. Some teachers even rode in busses for over 10 hours to participate in this training. All of these teachers left feeling empowered, equipped and inspired to do more for the Kingdom of God through children’s ministry.
On Saturday, the property REALLY came alive. Now, if you know anything about Latin America, you know that time is flexible. If we say something will start at 9, we expect to actually start at 10. Imagine my surprise when on Saturday morning at 8:30 there was a long line of kids waiting to get in the gate. They were EXCITED!
Approximately 200 children between the ages of 6 and 12 attended this 2nd annual Festiniños event. Most of these children came from the various churches in our area. However, since this was our first event to host at our new ministry center in the community of San Fernando, we wanted to also include our new neighbors. We went door to door and found 30 kids within this age range and offered them a free ticket to attend the event. More than 20 actually came.
It was a special joy to see children from the community participating. Since this will be the first evangelical church in the community, we were unsure about how our ministry would be received. Often times, here in Ecuador, there is a great divide which can lead to hostility between the Catholics and Evangelicals. But, seeing the families send their children to our event, certainly helped to calm these worries. As the first kids church service began, I stood at the edge of the tent and saw these neighborhood children laughing and enjoying the songs and I began to weep at the realization of this dream and the anticipation of the ministry opportunities yet to come.
Throughout the day, we had 3 kids church services, 2 meals and a carnival complete with cotton candy for everyone. It was a day filled with laughter and the love of Christ. The altar times were special as many children received Christ as their savior, prayed for healing for family members and were genuinely touched by the Holy Spirit.
We know that this event has helped to further reiterate the importance of children’s ministry. More children feel the liberty to praise God and understand that they too, are called to worship and serve Him. More teachers and pastors understand the value of their calling to teach children, not just be babysitters.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this event possible. We were blessed to have the Kids Power Company ministry team from Daystar Church in Cullman, Alabama. This team of 15, led by our friends, Steve & Angie Patrick, tirelessly worked to prepare for the event, share their knowledge with the teachers and then to share the Word of God in a mighty way with the children. Their anointing was evident as they allowed God to use them to impact lives.