We finished worship, the end of the day, the end of the week. The sweet children were singing to the God who they love even before they can understand Him. It doesn’t seem to bother them the way it bothers me (oh, to have childlike faith).
We were singing Oceans and I was half singing, half supervising the class (“Don’t jump like that, you’ll hurt yourself”), half thinking about what we would do next (because teachers always need 1.5 attention spans at least). I decided we hadn’t done prayer requests in a while and that might be a good way to end the day. And then I remembered the schoolgirls in Nigeria, and I knew we needed to pray for them, right then.
The song ended and the kids begged for one more (I am not joking. They love Jesus like that. And singing.). I told them we only had a few minutes left in class and we were going to pray, and then I told them there was one thing we needed to pray about specifically.
“You might have heard in the news… Well, let me back up. There is a country in Africa, called Nigeria (one child recognizes the name and pronounces it in Spanish for the rest of the class). Right, and in this country they have some rules that are different from the rules we have here in Mexico or in the United States. For example, it is much more difficult for girls to go to school. Some people don’t like it when girls go to school there, and they try to make it harder for girls to go to school.
“But some girls and their parents, they decide to go to school anyway. They pay money and they study hard and they keep going to school, because school is important, right? Well, at one of these schools, some bad men came and kidnapped over 200 girls, girls who just wanted to go to school to take their end of the year tests so they could graduate. And these girls, they have been missing for weeks. The men who took them, they are saying they will sell the girls as slaves, to show other girls that they should not go to school.
“We need to pray for these girls and for their families and for the men who took them.”
There were so many hands in the air I hardly knew where to begin.
“That can’t work, Miss. Most girls meet their husbands in college and if girls never go to school, they will never meet anyone to marry.” Valid point, hon, but hopefully some women meet their husbands not in college, otherwise I’m an old maid.
“Someone should ask the kidnappers how they would feel if they couldn’t go to school, if boys couldn’t go to school instead of girls. That’s not fair, Miss.” I’m sending you over straight away to explain the injustice to these men on a third grade level. I don’t know what they don’t understand, either.
“But then how would the girls teach their children? How would they read them stories?” Your mama deserves a big Mother’s Day gift.
“I never, ever, want to live in a country like that.” Unless maybe you could help to change it.
“But, Miss, the girls are better at school. Boys aren’t as good at school.” Everyone is good at different parts of school. Some boys are good at math, and some girls are. Some boys are good at PE, and some girls are. Everyone is different, and that’s great!
They have no idea what a world with this kind of injustice would be like (praise God). They cannot fathom a place where this could happen, where this situation would even be possible. We talked and asked and tried to imagine for a while, and then we prayed. They prayed for justice for the terrorists but also for heart change, they prayed for wisdom for the government there and here, they prayed for peace and hope for the girls and their families, but mostly, they prayed thankfulness and praise over their school and their teachers and their parents.
These sweet ones encourage me every day that the future is bright and there is hope for the Church and the world. Today, I pray for faith like theirs that these girls will come home because our God is Good and Strong. And I pray with them that He will act soon.
Bring back our girls. Lord hear our prayer.