„I like you to tell the story to the children today, Febe,“ said Myriam. But Febe, she is a trainee at the MDT Hope for Zurich and hails from Argentina, did not really believe that she could do it. „My German is insufficient – they will never understand me,“ she explained. Myriam did not let this stand: “Every one of the children here was born in other countries, to parents who speak languages other than German. They will understand you just fine!” encouraged Myriam.
Febe grew up as a Missionaries child. Her parents were serving in the North of her own country. Early in her life she had problems with her self-confidence and it did take quite a while for her, to be able to accept herself the way God had made her. She understood now, that God had made her beautiful. And that is the message she wants to pass on. Since then Febe’s heart beats for youth and children. She wants to pass on the message she had received: God made you beautiful!
For years Febe felt the desire to come to Switzerland – she wanted to serve in that country! To be accepted at Hope for Zurich was therefore the fulfillment of a dream! Soon, she realized that the pressure, especially on young people, was very high in Switzerland. One had to perform, show results, to be accepted. So, her message seemed to be very appropriate for the children and youth in Zurich: “Beauty and money will not bring happiness. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness – the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 – are the key!”
Now Febe was to speak before this group, about 30 children from grade one to six! And she was afraid! Was she able to tell a story dealing with the theme of the day: ‘Trusting’? Febe prayed quietly for guidance, while the lively, frolicking group became quiet. Then God reminded her of an event that took place many years earlier:
“I was seven years old and lived in Argentina. My country was in an economic crisis at the time and my family too, felt the impact. My shoes were all worn out, but my parents told me that there was no money to replace them. But I needed new shoes, I wanted new shoes. I wanted not any new shoes, I wanted running shoes and they needed to be pink! I told this my parents and they advised me to pray about it.
I did pray, I prayed very earnestly. The following Sunday our family went on an outing. We were to have a bar-b-que at a nearby forest. While the food cooked over the coals, we children went to play ‘hide and seek’. I sought out a big tree and hid behind. As I waited, I noticed something between the roots. It was a box. I bent down and lifted the lid. I could not believe my eyes: A pair of running shoes! Pink running shoes! I lifted them out and tried them on. A perfect fit! God had answered a seven year old’s prayer. I never knew where the shoes came from, but I knew that God heard my prayers.”
The children, normally lively and inattentive, were very quiet, touched. Two seven year old girls came to me to speak about prayer. Does God really hear? Did He even listen to normal, everyday requests? It is good to speak about faith to children, they understand with their heart, not their mind.