Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
As I think back to some experiences that have had a very significant impact on my life as a young man growing up, I would have to say that teaching at Children’s Institutes  would rank high on that list.
I remember first hearing about the “Children’s Institute” at our annual home-schooling conference in Knoxville sometime around 1995. The idea of teaching and taking care of children for a week-long seminar did not have much appeal to me at the time, but my parents must have seen something more and signed up Isaac and I to help with a seminar that was to be held in our area a few months later.
Whatever my expectations were, God had something special in store for me at this seminar. As am seeing more and more, it is not so much the particular program or opportunity, but the people who are leading it that God often uses to make a difference in the lives of those involved.
I saw something different In “Mr. Ryan” and “Miss Gina”. They were young people too, just a few years older than I was, but they had a love for the Lord and a passion for investing in the lives of others. This wasn’t just a week of watching children, but a chance to impact lives for eternity as we poured all of our strength and energy into conveying Biblical truths to the children on our teams.
Suddenly “ministry” was not just some distant thing that only parents and some of those older students could be involved in, but something that I could also have a part in. There were exciting stories in the Large Group assembly, and songs that we would long remember, but we also saw deeper things, the reality of spiritual warfare, and seeing God answer specific prayer.
After that week I could hardly wait for the next seminar, and in the following years we taught in as many Children’s Institutes as schedule and travel permitted. From every seminar we brought back special memories, and I could share story after story of how we saw God’s hand at work in these brief but intense weeks of ministry.
Returning to our farm this summer, I remember thinking that it would be neat to be involved in a Children’s Institute again, if there was one held in our area. I checked the IBLP website , and discovered that there actually was one scheduled in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I thought it was interesting timing that the very next day, we received a call from a friend who was coordinating the children’s seminar, asking if David or I would be available to tell the stories for the “Large Group” assemblies.
David was already scheduled to help lead a group of backyard Bible clubs that week, so I was given the opportunity to help with the Children’s Program. As always, it was a week of intensive energy output, but a tremendous blessing for us as Rachelle, Sarah and I joined about seven other young people to work with the twenty children that registered for the seminar.
Probably the greatest lesson that I believe the Lord was teaching me through the week was to let Him work through me, instead of me trying to work for Him. The words of John 15 kept coming to mind, “without me ye can do nothing.” Instead of coming well prepared with all the stories that I would be sharing, I realized that it was me that God wanted to prepare. Lasting fruit would come, not through my abilities, but as God was able to use me as a tool to accomplish His work.
I know that I have a long way to go in fully internalizing this truth, but it was neat to see how the Lord often used the stories that I felt the least prepared for to have the greatest impact on the students. God delights in using our weaknesses to show His strength, so that the excellency of the power would be of Him and not of us. (See I Corinthians 2:1-5, II Corinthians 4:7)
One interesting example took place on Tuesday night as I was telling a story about the Ten Commandments. To illustrate the impossibility of keep all the commandments on our own, I had a volunteer carefully hold ten raw eggs as I explained each of the Ten Commandments. Jeff was dressed for the occasion, but the suspense continued to rise as he precariously tried to balance each new egg.
Finally reaching the appropriate moment in the story, I asked Jeff if he had ever told a lie. After his admission, I stepped back, and gently whacked one of the eggs balancing on his collar. Somehow, the egg didn’t break. I reached over and squeezed the egg very hard. Still nothing happened. Recalling the physics of an eggshell, I applied extra pressure with my thumb, trying to crack the unyielding shell.
Splat!!! Something hit my face with an uncalculated accuracy that took me completely by surprise. I couldn’t even see out of my left eye as I reached for the paper bag where, just before the story, I had put some extra napkins. Taking off my glasses and trying to wipe the egg off my face and hair, I used the moment to explain how when we sin, it doesn’t just affect us, it also affects other people. One of the teachers later shared that for him, this unplanned analogy was the most significant message of the whole night!
These days were not without opposition, however, and I found it interesting how many unexpected challenges we faced through the week. The family that was heading up the children’s program had been anticipating a move, but ended up needing to move out of their house on the very week of the seminar. Another family that had two daughters teaching had a grandmother who’s failing health suddenly took a turn for the worse, and she passed away on Friday morning.
Another day found us faced with an interesting situation as a curious passerby inquired about what we were doing and proceeded to engage some of the teachers in a rather loud debate about the existence of God. Thankfully, she was willing to go with me to another room where after some patient listening and gentle answers she left quite cordially.
Rather than bringing discouragement, these things actually made me even more excited about the work we were involved in. God gave us grace for every challenge, and responding to this grace brings joy as we see the Lord working out His purpose through each situation.
On Thursday we were teaching about God’s love, and our response in times of suffering. I felt that this might be a neat opportunity to share about God’s love and faithfulness to our family over the past months with Isaac’s Homegoing last November. The “story” went a little longer than I had planned, and I remember praying afterwards that the Lord would still use it somehow.
In terms of human ability, it wasn’t one of my best stories that week, and I remember one little boy asking during the story, “Are you almost done?” It was a deeper message, and a little harder to make interesting and exciting for the younger children. But it was this story that the Lord seemed to use to make an impact in the lives of some of the students.
Finding me on one of the seminar breaks on Saturday, a father asked more about my family. I learned that they had heard of our family, and had been praying for us, but it was through this story at the Children’s Program that his daughters made the connection that “Mr. Adam” was a part of that family. “I just want you to know,” he told me, “that your testimony had a real impact on my children.”
Pastor Tillman asked me a little later if I could share a testimony with the people at the church on Sunday. Many of them had heard of our family, and had been praying for us, and he thought it would be encouraging for them to hear a report of what God has been doing in our lives. How this all got coordinated with the rest of my family was a story in itself, but the next morning all eleven of us were lined up in a row for the morning service at Emmaus Baptist Church.
Last minute plans the night before had worked out for us to stay in the Cities at my Aunt’s house for the evening, but by the time we arrived at church the next morning, I still didn’t have an outline of what I was planning to share. Now, just to clarify, preparation is good and important, and something that we should do when we are able to. But in this case, I believe that God wanted to stretch my faith. I remember praying, “Lord, you worked through the stories at the CI even when I was unprepared, please give me the words to share here.”
When I got up to share, I still didn’t have an outline, but the Lord enabled me to give what seemed to be a clear testimony of what God has been doing in our lives over these past months. I certainly can’t take any credit for it, but it seems like God touched hearts through that message of His faithfulness and lovingkindness to our family.
Back on the home front, we have also seen a significant answer to prayer. After a couple months of serious drought, we received some good rain last week. Derrick’s cornfields have improved dramatically, even in the past week, with the much-needed moisture.
The dry spell was not only dry, it was often very hot. In an older farmhouse without air conditioning, nights can be very long as you try to sleep with temperatures in the 80s or 90s. I remember sitting at my desk one day last week, and noticing that it was 95 degrees inside.
But our faithful God who never forgets His children had a very special surprise in store for us. That evening, some dear friends drove into our driveway and backed up their pickup truck to our porch. In the back of the truck were two window air conditioning units! They helped us install the units in two of the bedrooms, and for the first time in many weeks my parents were able to go to sleep in a cool room.
That evening also marked a significant day for our farm. Our ailing barn had been damaged in high winds several years ago, and the trusses were sagging badly. Built in 1932, the old dairy barn still had a lot of aesthetic appeal, but the cost of repair and straightening the structure far outweighed its current usefulness.
Watching the coming storm from our bedroom window that night, there was a terrific thunderclap, and Derrick exclaimed, “that just hit our barn!” The old glass insulated lightning rods performed their duty, but the waterlogged roof dropped about eight feet. By morning the north wall had given way, and the roof collapsed into the barnyard.
Looking back, I was amazed at how this worked out. It fell in such a way that we were able to recover the antique copulas from the roof, which we hope to sell. If the barn had fallen to the south, it could have possibly damaged the wooden south wall and shed which was to house 50 young pigs, scheduled to arrive the next morning. But falling to the north, the primary weight was taken by a concrete block wall, and the floor joists remained unhurt.
We are grateful that it happened while we were home, and that no one was hurt in the process. Even the animals escaped injury. On Saturday we had a “family work day” and started disassembling and cleaning up the fallen ruins. I enjoyed the chance to get outside and work on a family project together. The Lord blessed us with nice weather, safety, and good progress on the project.
This week I am also preparing to fly to Winchester, Virginia for another Children’s Program where I have been asked to help with the story telling. I am really looking forward to the seminar next week, and praying that the Lord will use it in a special way in the lives of each of the teachers and children.
- Thank you so much for praying for us as Rachelle, Sarah and I taught at the Children’s Program in Shorewood, MN! It was really special to see the Lord’s hand at work, and the things that He was teaching us through the week. The Lord again raised up just the right teachers, and put the children on just the right teams.
- I also want to say a big thank you on behalf of David and the others that served with the Heritage Ministry Team, leading two weeks of Bible Clubs in Minneapolis. Last Sunday evening we saw a video report and heard testimonies of some of the great things that God did through this outreach. Let me know if you want to read David’s e-mail report, and I will forward you a copy.
- Thanks for praying for rain! It was a blessing to receive several inches of rain last week. Derrick’s crops would not have lasted much longer without it.
- Please pray for the Winchester, VA Children’s Program and Basic Seminar next week. I am flying out on Friday the 11th, and returning on Monday the 21st of August. It has been six or seven years since the last Children’s Institute was held in this area, so we will likely have children that are hearing some of these things for the first time. If you are led to pray specifically for us through the week, here are the main topics we will be covering:
Monday – Accepting God’s perfect design for us.
Tuesday – My response to authority.
Wednesday – Responsibility, clear conscience. *Important night
Thursday – God’s love for us, purpose in suffering. *I may share about Isaac
Saturday – Generosity, gratefulness, joyfulness.
A total of twenty children came to the Children’s Program, and were
divided into three teams for the small group teaching time.
A smile from one of our students.
I think I would have been scared too, from the looks of this guy! But
our “David” (Left) didn’t seem afraid to face “Goliath” in our skit.
Our prayers were answered as we watched the clouds
moving in to bring the much-needed rain.
That night our aging barn roof collapsed under the wind
Our whole family gathered on Saturday for a family
work day to start cleaning up the debris.
You can see many more new pictures on the Prayer Update section our family website , including many from the CI and our barn cleanup project.
A few weeks ago a friend asked if I knew of a good program for viewing slide shows of pictures. After a few minutes of searching on the Internet I ran across a free program called the FastStone Image Viewer . I continue to be amazed at the features this program has, and I would recommend it to anyone who deals with digital photos. It works great for resizing and viewing pictures, and has some good slide show options, in addition to a full set of image enhancing tools. (No, they don’t pay me to write this, I was just very impressed with the program.)
Thank you for praying for us! I know that you will also share in the reward of what God is doing in and through our lives, and our Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:6)
I also want to mention here, please don’t feel guilty if you are getting these updates and might not be praying for us regularly. While we are grateful for the prayers of many, we also want to share with others what is happening in our lives and we just appreciate the fact that you are interested in hearing from our family.
Adam Waller ~ MyAllForChrist@CadLinx.com 
Family Website ~ http://cadlinx.com/wallerfamily 
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9
If for any reason you would prefer not to receive these e-mails, just reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. If this e-mail is being forwarded to you, just let me know and I can put you on the regular list. – Adam
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