“I don’t think I’ve made a better, more life-changing choice than the decision to go to In The Gap, other than my salvation prayer.”
“Many thoughts went through my head on that flight, and I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I mean, I was born in San Jose, California. I’m a city boy! Where in the world is Oklahoma? I calmed myself by going to the Lord in prayer and reminding myself that this was where God wanted me to be. I landed and was soon caught up in the busyness of traveling to Eagle Springs for training. I felt very emotionless at that point and was very unhappy about where I was and what I was doing. The first week of training was fun, in a way, but I made it gloomy for myself by criticizing and nitpicking everything that happened. I was trying to find reasons why I shouldn’t be there, and I was trying to make myself not “like” the place. Slowly the first week of teaching passed, with me dreading every single day that I had to get up in front of class after class to teach. I was, like most other men of my age, terribly afraid of any sort of public speaking and I wanted to leave as soon as I could. But through the personal quiet time we had at Eagle Springs, the encouragement from my teammates, and the strength I gained from God’s Word I slowly started to stand against the fear of speaking in front of people. The session passed by quickly from then on, and ten weeks later I was on the plane back to California. I had the choice to leave halfway through the session, yet I stayed because I knew that I loved that place, I loved the work that we did, and I loved the fellowship with other Christian believers. I’ve been back there 4 times altogether, and I haven’t regretted it at all. Actually, I don’t think I’ve made a better, more life-changing choice than the decision to go to In The Gap, other than my salvation prayer.
Looking back, God has taught me so much through this program. Not just practical skills such as public speaking, planning effectively for classes, and tutoring children, but also in skills that I can use to further the kingdom of God such as, presenting the Wordless Book, being a leader, and having the awareness that God is always there for us. I have never relied on God SO MUCH in my whole life.
Up until then, my life was easy, and I had little to worry about, but being a part of In The Gap pushed and shoved me through the doorway of reliance on God. Each day I was there, I prayed, I asked God for strength, I recited verses in my mind as I stood outside classrooms, I threw myself into His arms and let Him carry me through. Being there has taught me things that I probably would never had learned otherwise. I learned to listen to the voice of God, I was taught to rely on God for joy, I was trained to encourage others, I developed the willpower to grit my teeth and press on. All of these things, though I am not close to mastering, yet I feel as if the In The Gap program has jump-started my spiritual walk with God. Before going to In The Gap, yes, I was saved, but it never crossed my mind that I would ever serve Him in such a way as I have.
Being a part of In The Gap has given me the privilege to see what it really meant to try to live a life all for Jesus. I’ve seen Him change children’s lives in a way I never thought could be possible. Witnessing to the children, and telling them about how Jesus came down to die for us was a truly remarkable experience. It was there that I realized that I could be a tool of God’s amazing plan in a child’s life. Being a channel of God’s love to a child, then watching their radiant faces rejoice after they receive Jesus Christ into their hearts is definitely the most joyful experience of my life. Adding even more to the joy of watching their lives being turned towards Jesus, is knowing about their physical lives. Knowing that they are saved is what gives me hope, because the situation that most of these children are in is honestly, very desperate. I’ve seen children who have watched their parents shoot each other, thinking that it was only a normal part of life. I’ve heard children tell me about how their parents hit and abuse them. I’ve looked into their eyes, and seen an emptiness, a hopelessness, a sadness, and a pain I never expected to see in such a young child. These are elementary age children, who in our world, are enjoying life. When I was their age, I didn’t have a single worry in my life; my life was perfect and privileged. But when I see these children, their eyes pierce deep into my heart, looking and waiting for that person who they can trust and rely on. We can’t always be there for them, encouraging them for the rest of their lives, but we can leave Jesus Christ living in their hearts forever.
That, I believe is what God has called us to do, to spread His message of love, joy, peace, and contentment to those living in hopelessness and despair. In this dire spiritual condition of our nation, this isn’t a time to think about what WE need to accomplish, but to think about how much we can do for the Lord. I would encourage anybody that has a heart for our Savior to take part in this program and experience the power of God first hand, not only in your life, but in all the lives around you.” -Jeriah Kiang
To learn more about In The Gap visit: www.inthegap.org
For more information about up-coming sessions, please write: Chad Christiansen at firstname.lastname@example.org