• A Busload for Heaven
By Jessica Klinker
About 12 years ago, during my first year as a Children’s Director, we were celebrating our AWANA Pinewood Derby. I was still nervous speaking in front of adults (actually, I still am). I asked our AWANA missionary to give our devotion for this night. I waited and waited, the Derby had started and our missionary was still not there. I called and there was no answer. Finally, five minutes before the devotion, I get an answer. There too much rain. The missionary was not coming. Ugh!
You know, that moment when you are so stressed, you feel like your heart is going to explode? Or, that you might throw up? This was that moment.
I saw my friend our Youth Pastor and I frantically said, “Will you start praying?” I had no idea what I am going to say. We prayed and up to the stage I walked, feeling like I was going to disappoint everyone.
I started talking about the races and what a great job the kids had done designing their cars and then, suddenly, I was quoting Paul from 1 Corinthians.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly, I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I may not be disqualified for the prize.”—1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Now you need to realize that I have read this verse many times, but had never memorized it. Then, this peace came over me, as I let everyone know that each of us had a race to run in life. “Yours might be very different then mine. Your race may be about sharing Christ with others from school or work. Maybe, it could be loving your neighbors and leading them or your teammates to Christ.”
That night, God gave me the vision of what my race was all about. (I had known that I was made for children and that I wanted to lead children to Jesus.) But that night, standing there in front of those “runners,” I had a vision of me driving a bus to heaven filled with children!
I shared this with the audience and finished by praying with them that God would give them a vision for what their race would be about.
I left the stage in peace and shock. I had never felt the Holy Spirit, so strongly and literally working through me. This vision has stayed with me to this day. It remains true for God’s ministry in my life. Since that time, I have been aware that my ministry with children has been about filling that bus!