A sharp bend to the right took me along a rolling curved mountain road. A road I was familiar with. A road that led to my parents house; the house I grew up in. I passed country lanes with names such as Load of Hay Road.
As the car continued on the narrow two lane road I looked out over the valley taking in the beautiful view. The green hills brought color and vitality to the otherwise hardness of life in the valleys of South Wales.
Another sharp turn, this time taking me downhill a short distance before it curved back up hill again and into the village of my childhood. The village where I made lifelong friends.
We played, walked, and dreamed together. We did church together even before we individually received Christ as our savior and then we grew in the Lord together. A few of my friends attended church at the bottom of the hill, while I and others choose the more rugged look of the small chapel at the top of the hill. Two churches, two completely different denominations, yet one body working together.
“You have been taught the holy Scripture from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” 2Timothy 3:15 NLT
The stories we had learned from our Sunday School teachers came alive and we had new insight and understanding. Our teachers were still present in our teenage years to guide us into a deeper relationship with the Lord. We were then, as we are now, the fruit of their labor. I have been home many times since moving to the States but not once did I cross the threshold of the Chapel doors.
“The Chapel is having a Harvest Festival” my mother announced. “Would you like to go?”. Apparently my mother’s social group had received an invitation to attend. I entered the main door and stepped into the tiniest of foyers noticing immediately something was missing. A plaque that had many times haltered my rushed nosy entrance into the sanctuary. The plaque informed us not to enter the sanctuary during a scripture reading or a prayer time but to wait quietly in the foyer entering only when appropriate.
The Chapel looked well maintained. The wooden pews and pulpit bannisters gleaned brightly under the artificial light. Six painted words stood boldly and unashamedly on the wall above the pulpit for all to see. Generations had read these same words as I and my friends; I Gave My Life For Thee. It brought comfort knowing they still hung there declaring God’s love.
The harvest offering of fruit and vegetables were on a smaller scale than I remember as a child but the grateful hearts for God’s provision were still the same. We sang old hymns one of which was a childhood favorite of mine, Count Your Blessings, really I loved the up-tempo beat and as teenagers we sang it with gusto.
Two of my Sunday School teachers are still serving in the Chapel. Alas the Sunday School (Children’s Church) closed years ago. I find that sad as it played a huge roll in the lives of many children of the village and in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus to the world.
When I embraced my Sunday School teachers it was a family reunion hug not an awkward polite ‘I kind of remember you embrace’. I am forever grateful for them for teaching me about Jesus, for spending their lives laying a firm foundation for me and my friends to build on.
I stand and applause Edwina Angel, Howell and Mary Mitchell, and Howell and Beryl Jenkins. You sowed in faith and you reaped fruit.
To today’s Children Church workers, know the work you are doing does not go unseen. The biblical lessons you teach will not be forgotten. You are laying a foundation of faith in God which will remain. Cover those entrusted to you with prayer. The love, grace, and gentle spirit of my teachers drew me into wanting to listen to the bible stories and to receiving God’s word through their mouths.
My friends and I are scattered throughout the world. One became a missionary in Nepal and now works in her local church in New Zealand. Another lives in Canada teaching and preparing others for the mission fields of Asia. Several moved out of Wales to Scotland and England and some remained within a few miles of the old Welsh Chapel. Whether near or far each one of my group of friends are serving the Lord and growing in His grace.
The fruit is now bearing fruit.
Plant good seed dear Children’s Church worker. You will bear fruit and your fruit will bear fruit.
Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.
Encourage a Children’s Church worker today and tell/show them how you appreciate them. Please feel free to share this post with those who have or are faithfully serving in Children’s Church and with those who may be considering serving.
Share your own stories in the comment box, I look forward to reading them.