March 6 of 2020 was the last time AWANA met in person with our 65 kids and 20 leaders. Within days after that meeting, because of State and County mandates, we no longer could meet at church. Some churches in our area who conduct AWANA ended their year that week, some took a long break to work out the details of virtually meeting but our TCCBC AWANA took one week off to regroup and restructure the format of our meetings and restarted again on Friday, March 20. Many of our leaders are tech savvy and embraced Zoom immediately but more importantly, they kept their commitment to God and the AWANA ministry to lead the children and continue to teach God’s word. Many of the children, with their parents’ support, continued with Zoom AWANA and with God’s grace, we ended the AWANA year as scheduled. We still had closing ceremonies where we celebrated the accomplishments of the clubbers where almost 90% of them completed their required book. What a testament to God’s amazing providence of providing like-minded leaders, parents and students who desired the same end result.
Some of you already know my story that when our close friend Yvette Chun who I’ve known since I was 5, who had been our AWANA Commander for over 10 years, decided to step down to prepare for her upcoming move, a role opened up in AWANA. For a few months, not knowing who would be the Commander, there was a possibility of our church temporarily suspending AWANA and Council had to decide what to do. Being put on a two-person team with Charlie to research the details and resources of the next steps for AWANA I had an opportunity to talk to Lindy Koh and she expressed that she would take the Commander role in order to keep AWANA going even though her spiritual gift is to teach…wow, that is commitment. Being the AWANA Commander was the farthest thing from my mind even though I prefer organization over teaching. I actually was planning a 1-2 year break as I wanted to spend as much time with my daughter Hannah, who was a Senior in high school. Before the conversation ended with Lindy, there was one thing I could not ignore, this strange and strong pounding in my chest. The Holy Spirit was starting His work in me. I prayed that if God wanted me to take this role, He would confirm it to me by having my family happily support me and also that when the day came to make the decision, He would make it abundantly clear. Both Andrew and Hannah were excited for me and Andrew noticed a joy in me that already started. On the day of the special Council meeting and it was time to discuss the needs for AWANA, the pounding in my chest reappeared and I could not deny the calling.
Since then, AWANA has been so rewarding that many times I feel like it’s a ministry to me. Even with the additional planning, increase communication with parents/leaders and expanding creativity (which I have none) to execute many things, AWANA has not missed a step and has been meeting weekly since Friday, September 11. This is due to the Lord knowing better than I, and collecting a committed group of leaders together to fill specific roles and contribute where there may be gaps. I am able to witness the physical and spiritual growth of our clubbers even through Zoom, I am able to observe and learn the creative teaching styles of our leaders and I am able to grow my fruits of the spirit through their example. Many of this could not be done if we were meeting in person. God put together a team of leaders that work together so that we cover each other’s weaknesses and rejoice in each other’s strengths. AWANA has become a consistent vessel of God’s blessings to me and I am humbled that God has trusted me with this ministry and loves me so much that He is allowing me to be blessed in this role by Him through the children, parents and leaders. AWANA has given me an opportunity to experience joy which is a result of listening to His prompting aka the pounding in my heart.
This long story is to share that even in my first year in AWANA as Commander with the usual challenges that this role brings and the new challenges of the Covid unknowns, God was and is faithful to this ministry and has been leading every step of the way that even what should be considered a challenge has been met with God’s provision. He has provided exactly the people with their respective knowledge to cover what is needed to continue then and now.
Currently in AWANA, we are meeting virtually through Zoom on a weekly basis. We have 17 devoted leaders and 46 very regular clubbers who even invite friends to attend. The decrease in our numbers comes from kids graduating out of the program and also some kids now attending their own church ministries as Covid has opened the door for other churches to expand their offerings. Even though we miss those kids, what a blessing that because of Covid, churches are developing children’s programs. For our AWANA, praise God for so many things like:
- providing just the right number of leaders;
- each group runs smoothly with leaders sharing their expertise so everything is covered;
- keeping a regular schedule of meetings;
- leaders and clubbers can attend meetings no matter where they are;
- we can continue our special events;
- and most importantly, the children are still learning and memorizing God’s word.
Please support our AWANA ministry by praying for our leaders, children and parents. Pray that each of us can minister to each other through service, encouragement and the Holy Spirit’s prompting to love and care for everyone but especially for those that may need it a little more at particular times.
“But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
To see and “be part” of what we are doing, follow us on Instagram at TCCBC_AWANA or like our AWANA at TCCBC Facebook page.
Thank you for allowing me to take your time to share how God has been ever present in the AWANA ministry.
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