Train them up in the way they should go… 

        … and they shall not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Training Up a Generation

For those who are parents, have you ever dreamed of your child’s future? Wondered, “What will they become…?” This train of thought then leading to thoughts of personal responsibility as the parent of your child, “Am I sufficiently preparing them for life?” or “Am I building good character into my child?” The reality of time continuously and steadily sweeping away reminds us of how time can sneak in and out without us ever realizing it has come and gone. 
In the House of Refuge, I have had this exact train of thought on my mind. I do not wish to become so focused on seeing the daily tasks done, that I forget to seize the moments with the children. Many times I find myself evaluating the daily agenda, seeing that we cover all the areas effectively, from bible studies to effective measures of corrective behavior, ext. My mind then thinks of little Steven, the defiant child who defies all and any form of authority, how do I effectively reach him? He never seems to want to study because he is busy looking for others things to do that he likes. Our team working with him at the House of Refuge are growing exhausted, and suggest he should go because he causes the other children to misbehave. How do I get this child ready for the school entrance exam, when he defies anything but playing baseball or some other active form of amusement? Many of his school teachers and others around him are telling him he is not behaving well and tell him all that he does wrong. Then it came to me… love him and be consistent because until he knows that you love him and that what you say you will do, then he will not respond. 
One day in particular Estiven was with all the children during Bible Study, but Estiven didn’t want to listen, he wanted to play with the tennis ball in his hand. His bouncing it around against the wall and the floor of the classroom did not encourage a learning environment. Naturally he had it taken away by the Tía Blanca (aunt in Spanish, or the caretaker of the children). This caused him to shut down and frown and walk around mad kicking doors and then telling Tía Blanca how he disliked her class and did not want to be in it. I was thinking able to get him to come into my office so that Tía Blanca could continue with her lesson, I sat him down, heard out his complaints (which consisted of his tennis ball being taken away), explained to him the time for playing with the tennis ball is later. 5 minutes of sitting in the chair alone to think about what he did was given, and then I put him to work… making a card for Tía Blanca. He designed it and thought of the kind words to put on it for her. He wanted the words in English “I love you” on the front. I told him he had to give it to Tía Blanca personally, and he said no I would, and even though his strong will is just that… strong, mine was more persistent, I gently and confidently took his hand without him having much time to think about if he wanted to or not and we walked upstairs together, showing people his card of appreciation for Tía Blanca. When we got to the door of the classroom, card in hand, he was a little backward, and he came slowly, creeping on his knees towards Tía Blanca, we both waited patiently for him to complete his mission. He eventually, even after a snail paced knee walk, gave the card to Tía Blanca explained to her what it meant in Spanish, and he sat at his desk ready to learn. 
Some of you may be bored after reading this story, and it may not be your normal exciting mission blog of 100’s of people getting baptized or miracles, but to me stories like these are miracles and they do resonate souls. Why you may ask? Because these little moments with the children, teaching them to do right and honor those in authority, will aid who they will be tomorrow. We are in a constant process of training children, and it is no job for the faint of heart. At the House of Refuge, we are training up a generation and we are certain that our present efforts in molding these children will show fruit in the ever approaching future. Children, especially, vulnerable children, like the fatherless, need ministering to. A mass murderer Hitler once said, “You give me your children, and I will change society in 10 years.” He, the devil, has had these children and their mothers long enough. We declare and believe them to be God’s future leaders and world shakers for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, so that in 10 years we will see a godly victorious society that gives all glory to God. Be a part with us through prayers and financial support in training up a generation. 

Bettina Long
House of Refuge International Director