Covid is not a good thing. But God is always at work, using our circumstances for good. Leslie Tuakalau, BCM’s Bible Club Program Manager, sees the way this pandemic has helped reconnect parents and children, allowing parents to return to their primary role of influence in their children’s lives. “Parents had begun to expect church or technology to do their job, but the pandemic has been an opportunity for parents to teach their children about Jesus. BCM has the privilege of coming alongside parents, to partner with them, to support them as they raise up their children in the ways of the Lord.”
Covid has forced Bible Clubs to operate virtually, with clubs meeting weekly in addition to small group huddles throughout the week. “The volunteers have been remarkable, trying to figure out what’s best for the kids, always willing to go the extra mile to make a student feel special, to let them know that God loves them,” glows Leslie. In the Westside Bible Club, students are encouraged to do something positive each week, like help with a chore, create a piece of art or help a sibling. The entries are submitted to Maria, one of the volunteer leaders, who picks a name out of a hat; the winner receives a pizza for their family.
In one of the other clubs, God has been at work in Michael’s* life. When Bible Club was in-person, Michael was constantly demanding attention and it was difficult to work with him. Now that Bible Club is virtual, the leaders are able to give him extra attention and have learned so much more about him: his love for animals and desire to be a vet, his knowledge and love for cars. He has bonded with the volunteers as they have answered his many, many questions and they are excited to see how God uses him as he grows and matures. Michael even invited one of the volunteers to come to his house so he could help train her dog. During her masked and socially distant visit, he helped train her dog to sit and do tricks.
Engaging with the students in prayer has been another of Leslie’s highlights. “One of the students who is new to Bible Club is willing to pray for the group and when she prays, it’s like listening in on her conversation with God, like she’s really having a chat with a friend.” During the huddles, students focus on a scripture in their prayer journal and Leslie is constantly touched by how much gratitude they have, even in the midst of a challenge like Covid. “I love being part of training them to be thankful to God, even in times of struggle.”
As we head into 2021, there are still many challenges due to Covid. “I am constantly thinking about the students, how can we be a listening ear, how can we be responsive? During this time of isolation, making sure the students are heard is especially important. The students spend so much time online, and I want to make sure we are not just drilling God’s Word into them, but being a living example of God’s love, bringing hope through relationships.”
*Name changed for privacy