Nina has accepted Christ as her Savior!
That is the most fantastic news that can be shared with anyone today. In fact, I really regret that CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX were unable to carry the story because in reality, Nina's decision trumps any other news that could be reported. Don't you think?
Nina is a beautiful little girl that sporadically comes to our church; she lives somewhere in the neighborhood behind us. I say "somewhere" because we don't know exactly which house each of these precious children lives in as the parents prefer we not get too close.
It seems that Neuhart (a gorgeous little girl who is only eleven) is the self-appointed guardian for many of our neighborhood children. She herds them like a mama cat and let me tell you, when she snaps her skinny little fingers and gives one of them "the look" they jump in line! Smile.
Thankfully, for the past couple of years, Neuhart has been herding different ones to our church. That doesn't mean she comes regularly to services. No, that would be too much for her family which we believe to be of Muslim influence. But she comes as often as she can; especially for things like VBS and Break Your Fall. (The time-consuming, expensive type of outreaches that most often cause us to wonder if they are worth all the effort.)
It's also not unusual in the summer months or late afternoons for Frank to be working on a sermon and hear a tapping on the back door of his office. When he looks out, there is Neuhart with a few of the children gathered around. They've just stopped by in the midst of their wanderings to say "Hi."
She ushers them all into his office and beams as Pastor Frank gets each of their names, teases them a little and offers a hug to each one who asks. He complements Neuhart for being the "leader extraordinaire" that she is and then they're on their way. While his sermon preparation is important, he always stops gladly for this moment because it is ministry in its purest form. And some weeks, this is our only contact with Neuhart.
During VBS, Neuhart has been faithful to gather a group each evening and make the trek over to the church on the corner. (That's us.) Nina has been in that group all week. Each night Nina has raised her hand for prayer during the altar time and someone on our team has prayed with her. Last night, I happened to be the one sitting closest to her and was privileged to ask if she was ready to ask Jesus into her heart.
Tears began to slowly drip from her beautiful brown eyes as she simply nodded her head. We prayed a simple prayer together and after Ms. Kristin dismissed everyone, I sat with Nina for a few minutes talking about what her decision meant. True to form, Neuhart appeared from nowhere to sit with us; she gave Nina a big hug and patted her arm. After I prayed blessing on them both, they jumped up and got in line to redeem their prize tickets just like all the other kids. No fanfare, no big tadoo, just a natural response to life's most important question.
The wonderful thing is that Nina's story is being quietly repeated all over our auditorium this week; all over our city at other VBS's this month; all over our country this summer. I choose to believe that there is hope for our world because people are still coming to know Christ as Savior, Lord and dearest Friend. Yep, Matt Lauer should have been there to report it; but since he couldn't I'll share it with you. Let the celebration begin!