As I walked into the modest Ugandan banquet room, I spotted Mercy sitting alone at a table. I made my way over and sat down next to her. I introduced myself, and we began politely chatting. After the usual friendly inquiries about family and where we were both from, I asked her what she most hoped to learn at the training. I was eager to talk with a teacher who could inform and inspire our curriculum development.
Mercy politely told me how glad she was to learn how to use the curriculum, as she was often unsure what she should teach her students. She was looking forward to learning how to be a better teacher, because the teens in her class had much to learn. “What do you think they really need to learn, Mercy? What should we include in the curriculum that would really help your students?” I asked, waiting expectantly for her wonderful ideas. “Tell me about your students and their needs.”
Mercy’s eyes lit up. She began telling me very animatedly about the teens in her class, all of whom had clearly touched her life.
There was the young man who worked at a dangerous construction job to support his family. There was the young lady who often brought her younger sister with her to class, as she was the primary caretaker for the toddler since her mother died. There were the teens who struggled with alcohol and drug use, those who were trying to get out of gangs, those who lived in such dire poverty that they often came to church hungry, those who suffered abuse at home. So many stories, and every single one broke my heart.
Holding back the tears, I asked her how she was able to bring hope to these young people who so desperately needed it. “God gives me what I need,” she said simply.
We went to Africa to equip teachers to use the Life on Life curriculum. And we definitely accomplished that. More than 400 teachers in Uganda and Ivory Coast are now ready to disciple children and young teens with active, participatory learning, guiding these precious young people to grow spiritually, develop godly character qualities, and live healthier and more productive lives. Each one has a story like Mercy’s—and I wish I could have heard them all.
For the teachers, I’m sure it was a helpful blessing. They now have a practical resource to use in their classes. But the blessing the teachers gave me was even greater. God is at work in amazing and unexpected ways, using Life on Life and these caring teachers to bring His love to children all over Africa. I will be forever changed by their love for the young people in their countries and their dedication to making a positive change in the children’s lives. I will never write a lesson without remembering Mercy’s beautiful heart. And I will strive to live a life of even greater faith and trust, knowing that God is at work—always in amazing and unexpected ways. God gives us what we need.