24.6.13

Difficulty Finding Jesus

by Sally Matheny


Many of the children had never heard of Jesus.
“Who is Jesus?” asked the little girl.
The seed was planted. Not just in the girl’s heart but also in mine. 

The Vacation Bible School curriculum we brought on a Vermont mission trip didn’t quite meet the needs of the children we met there. Most had never heard of Jesus. We were trying to build on a weak or nonexistent foundation. 

I told our pastor we needed to find a VBS curriculum for unchurched children, those who had never heard of Jesus. My pastor's reply, "I think you should write it."

"What? I've never written VBS curriculum. I wouldn't know where to begin."

He came back with the same reply. "I think you should write it."

This was going to be difficult. I knew I could not do it alone. So, I began to pray for help and a VBS curriculum titled, “Who Is Jesus?” began to form in my heart.

Writing and directing is hard work but
so much fun!
The first six months was mostly a steady stream of prayers and sporadic brainstorming of ideas. 

Not only did I lack experience writing VBS curriculum, but neither did I know how to write and direct a drama. Many VBS curriculums include a DVD drama, which students watch each night of VBS. The DVD has mini-episodes which unfold spiritual truths throughout the week. 

Where I was weak, God was strong. He answered prayer after prayer and the script for the "Who is Jesus?" DVD was finally completed. 
However, writing the script was not as difficult as finding someone to play the part of Jesus. 

Initially, the criteria were that he had to have a kind, bearded face, and a strong, kind voice. Several people were considered but there was always a little something that didn’t quite fit what we had envisioned.

We finally found "Jesus!"
It was based on their looks, voice, schedules, and personalities. Even though we knew we would not find a perfect man to play the part of Jesus, We knew we couldn’t ask someone who was blatantly defying God. 

No matter how good of an actor he is, he wouldn’t be believable. So, we had to add another item to the criteria. In order to reflect the character of Jesus, he has to love Jesus.



Finally, after two, long months of praying for a “Jesus,” God sent us the right man for the job. But our obstacles didn’t stop there.
It rained on two of the four filming days. We decided to work a rain shower into the script and film it because we needed to get the project done. Even though the rain threw snags into the filming, it also produced a stunning rainbow at the end of an outdoor scene where the main character accepts Jesus Christ. How beautiful is that?

Giggle at setbacks. God will use them.

It rained during the filming of the last episode as well. The man who played the role of Jesus wasn't needed for this portion. However, we did need more than twenty volunteer actors. They all cheerfully participated despite the rain. We made quite a stir on Main Street. Cars slowed down—and not just when a fire truck blared its siren passing by our set.

"Take two!"  
"Take three!" 
"Take four!"

We were tired, but we couldn't help but giggle at all the setbacks and how God used each one for His glory.
Peering through splashed windshields and underneath umbrellas, those passing by wanted to see why this large, group was standing out in the pouring rain in the middle of town. And why do they all look so happy?

They may have had difficulty finding our character,"Jesus", but the real Jesus was definitely there.

Please pray for mission teams this summer. When children ask who Jesus is, pray God will use the people He has sent, and the curriculum that was prepared, to answer their question well.
And what are your thoughts? Who do you say Jesus is?

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