“David Livingstone was poised with his rifle, kneeling down to watch out for the marauding lion, when suddenly, out of nowhere, the lion jumped into the air and landed directly on him. The lion roared, and opened his gaping mouth widely, over the head of David Livingstone, and………. I’m soooo sorry, but tiiiime’s up!” A huge sigh of disappointment rippled through the vacation Bible school kids, as they shouted, “no, no, no.” But Vacation Bible School has to go on, and there’s always a tomorrow.
“大卫利文斯顿 David Livingstone，一动不动，眼睛眨也不眨地盯住正在攝食 的狮子.….突然一头狮子从天而降落在大卫头上，狮子大吼, 張開庞然大口..…… 真的对不起,下课的时间到了”，唉……此起彼落的唉声叹气从所有的小朋友口中发出。 这一群每年七月中来教会参加暑期儿童圣经班的小朋友不约而同地大声反抗说：“不行！不行！ ” 儿童暑期圣经班明天仍会继续， 你们明天来听…. 。
Often, on the last day of VBS, I might say at a critical point in the missionary story, “I’m soooo sorry, but we have to continue the story next year. Come back, next year! for Vacation Bible School!” Which, after a resounding clamor, I finally relinquish, and I reluctantly finish the story for this year.
每年在’暑期圣经班’最后的一天我继续讲传道士故事。“真对不起,…., 对不起，没时间了。要听故事的结局，你们明年回来继续上’暑期圣经班’ 就可以知道结果是什么了!”, 讲到紧要关头，我会突然顿住。小朋友都抗议;’不行,不行’。 我就故意勉为其难地讲完了今年准备的传道士故事。
Wouldn’t you want to come to Vacation Bible School to hear the missionary story? Wouldn’t you be touched by the story of David Livingstone, spending the best part of his life in darkest Africa? Or Adoniram Judson, kneeling on the deck of the boat, as he and his very young wife allowed their firstborn premature baby, to be dropped into her watery grave, on their missionary journey to Burma…..Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (WEB)
读到這, 如果是你,你会来教会参加 ‘暑期圣经班’来听传道士到世界各地角落传道的故事吗？,你们听了大卫利文斯顿他将一生最宝贵，最年轻有为的几十年的时间，到世界上当时最落后的非洲去传道，你心中会感动吗？ 或是 亚都尼任傑德蓀 (Adoniram Judson)和他新婚的年轻妻子跪在船上的甲板, 夫妻俩在去缅甸传道的旅途上以水丧将他们第一胎早产婴的尸体投落在海里,..….,箴言22章第六节“教养孩童，使他走当行的道，就是到老，也不偏离。”
Google “uncle Reggie Vacation Bible School stories” on YouTube, and you can watch a sample of these missionary stories given at Vacation Bible School, every year for 25 years at the Cincinnati Chinese Church, and you will have a feel for why it is important to educate children when young. So that they begin to know that there is a wide world out there, of great needs, and great potential, awaiting literally thousands of young people to bring the message of hope and love, often so lacking in many distant lands. There are real needs, and not imaginary story book needs, and what better time than childhood to let the next generation know.
你如果在微博 YOUTUBE输入 “Uncle Reggie Vacation Bible School Stories”你可以找到一些短影集,以往25年在辛城教会’暑期圣经班’, 其中有五年我们录下来的传道士的故事。你可以看到为什么儿童和青年事工的重要性。 在这些事工上，小朋友他们从小就可以学到，在世界中有太多远方的需要正等待千万年轻人带着希望和爱的信息去到那些偏僻外人不知晓的地方。这些地方的需要尤其是重要的事实，和童话故事书里讲的实在大有区别。最好让这些年轻人在他们年轻的时候就能知到 .
Don’t believe this nonsense about natives having their own beautiful culture, and having no need for outsiders to come in and mess up their culture. That’s a whole bunch of propaganda spread by people who are living in a bubble, who are selfishly sitting in their armchair living the American dream, philosophizing about “wonderful idyllic native cultures, unsoiled by Western values.” They do not know what they’re talking about, and mostly they have never lived for any significant period among the millions in this world that have many fatal childhood infections and diseases, little hope and little love. All the more reason to teach young children the truth about reality when they are young, so that they can dream big dreams!
有人争辩：别让外来的文化搅乱了这些土著民族他们美丽的文化，让他们这些土著民族能保存他们自己的文化。 不要相信这些言论。这是一些人生活在高处不切实际没有根据的宣传，他们自私的住在豪华的房子，有舒适的沙发，生活在安定无忧的现代化的美国梦里，他们所幻想出来的一些毫无根据的理论。所谓”这些原始民族他们生活在诗情画意的大自然环境里没有任何西方文化的污染。” 其实他们根本不知道他们在讲什么。他们自己没有花上一段相当的时间身历其境住在那样环境里去体验那民族的生活。经历可以致命的小兒傳染疾病,他们生活里缺乏希望缺乏爱，更是须要年轻的时候能学到这事实。他们可以在年轻的时候开始实现他们伟大的梦想。
We need to tell the great stories again and again. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Try to find a good story teller. Encourage him or her to develop this as a ministry. Start with young story tellers, when they are youths, and they are curious and enthusiastic. Give them lots of good books to read. Choose a story that is long enough, and detailed enough. Give the young person lots of flexibility to develop the stories. Give him or her permission to embellish the story, to add creative components of the culture, the language, and the beauty of the land, in order to make the story even more exciting. Of course, be factually correct, but allow artistic renditions, as in any good story. Skulls, spears, snakes, and tarantulas are all part of the story.
Often, I would throw rubber snakes and spiders into the screaming audience, who love it. My favorite monkey, Abu, who puts in cameo performances every year, is also a favorite for the kids, except one time they were so enthusiastic they tore apart his right back limb, so that he had to be stitched up in my wife’s private clinic, and rehabilitated. I can still see his poor scars on his leg.
我自己常随身带些橡皮做的蛇，蜘蛛，当提到这些小动物时，抛进听故事的小朋友中，引起他们大声惊叫，更增加故事的生动情趣，小朋友也非常喜爱这些意外的插曲。 我有个布做的小猴子，是我讲故事的小助手，我给他取名叫 ’阿布Abu’。在讲故事时，阿布年年客串演出,让故事更加有趣。一次，小朋友们争相拉扯’阿布’，结果’阿布’的一条腿给拉断了。我回到家，特别把’阿布’送到曽太太的私人诊所动手术将他的后腿从新接上。自从那次意外事件, 康复後 ,’阿布’的伤痕就永远跟随着他了。
I usually think that 15 minutes at most, every day, is plenty, to keep the attention of 100 boisterous children. I like to split up the day into 3 scenes of about 5 minutes each, in order to allow development of each story segment in each of the 5 minutes. It’s great to have one major highlight per day, at least, and one good take-home message. Allow opportunities in the story to describe the struggles and challenges, dependence on God, and the joy of the gospel. It’s all right if the missionaries all die from spears from the natives, because they will know that there is a deeper message, and long-term higher purpose. Sacrifice and patience for the long haul are important messages for any age. The Christian message can be costly, not just for Paul. 2 Corinthians 11:25 “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…”
我认为每天我们能保持将近100名精力充沛的小朋友全神的注意力，如果有十五分钟的时间就足够了。 我常常将我所讲的故事分成三段，每段五分钟，每段有不同的布局，在最后，最好安排一个故事的高潮；最少有一个故事中心，让小朋友带回家去反芻思想，故事里，提到主角心中的挣扎和生活上的挑战，他如何依靠神，从神的话中得到喜乐，最后如果传道士都为主殉道，死在当地土着的矛抢下,也不伤大局. 但小朋友们会体会到更深一层的真理。传道士留下震撼心昡的影响。为主牺牲 耐心是每个人，不论长幼，一门重要的功课。听主的信息有时得付上重价，不只是保罗一个人。 哥林多后书11章25节：“……..被棍打了三次，被石头打了一次，遇着船坏了三次，一昼一夜在深海里………”
The youth group kids are riveted when real live missionaries visit, and we give them a special time with the youth. They were spellbound by the story of KJ, who were arrested by authorities in western Asia, for helping the local church grow in homes. The prison guard told the husband that his wife had died in prison, which wasn’t true, as a way of mentally torturing him. One day, the prison guard softened up and claimed that he had a dream of Jesus, and that one day he might even be a Christian, but then he would lose his job. And, shockingly, the presiding judge allowed the wife to tell the story of why she was so eager to let people know about Jesus, at the risk of her own life, in a courtroom with many in attendance, who were then able to hear her heartfelt testimony. Afterwards she was set free. As they like to say, life is stranger than fiction. As the early disciples were witnesses, so today we can say amen to verses like Acts 5:32 “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
当有传道士回来教会访问作見证，这些年轻人全神被他们吸引住了，我们也特别安排一些时间让年轻人能直接听他们的分享。当他们听到 K, J夫妻 两人被当地官僚提拿下入监的经历，你可以看到年轻人他们全神贯注的表情一露无遗。K和J被俘下狱的原因只是为了协助当地的教会如何增长申了援手。狱卒告诉K; 你夫人已经死在监狱里. 这不是真实的，只是精神上施以压力。一天，狱卒轻声告诉K， 他作了个梦，梦中见到耶稣，他说; 有一天，我也许会成为基督徒。但他又忧愁了，因为他很可能为此失去工作。一天，奇怪的事发生了，法官在法庭上竟然准许了J 在法庭上讲述她为什么那样热心传讲耶稣，即使她知道如此做会带来很多麻烦甚至对生命有威胁。不少观庭的人，當这些人听到J 从内心说出的见证， 都非常动容，法官也就释放了她。
俗话说; 生命有时比小说更奇妙. 像早期使徒们为主做见证，今天我们也能同声的说 ;阿门。 当我们读到使徒行传的经文，五章三十二节， “我们为这事作见证，神赐顺从之人的圣灵也为这事作见证。”
Indeed, from the many international workers serving in difficult circumstances who visit the church, we make a special effort to allow them time to speak face to face with the youth. The youth come quickly to realize that missionary workers are real live people, and have real live problems, and they are not some weird people who are super spiritual. We who are living in a free society, barely know what really happens in lands far away, and these close-up encounters give them much better perspective. And they see how the love of God can change people even in extreme circumstances. Even hopeless situations. And how difficult it is, and challenging, it can be, to want to really serve the king of kings. So that, they themselves, if they consider a life of service, could face potential challenges with open eyes, knowing that ultimately we have a Lord who promises to be with us, wherever we are, even in the worst of circumstances. They will learn the true meaning of the verses Proverbs 3:5-6 “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
A young lady who decided to go into the mission field, wrote a letter to our church mission committee, saying in jest that, “I blame uncle Reggie……..” While I never feel that I should be “blamed,” yet I definitely feel that it is my responsibility and that of the church, to make the mission world an obvious opportunity for service, and potentially one of the highest callings that a person could have. Especially in an Asian context, the young people are already inundated with role models of doctors, engineers, finance advisors, and IT specialists, sometimes to the deliberate exclusion of missionary service. However, I never direct a young person specifically towards the mission field. That calling has to be God’s call, and not from others.
If young people feel called by God, I will of course help them discern the calling, and help prepare them for the obstacles and possible repercussions that might come their way. Everyone needs encouragement, and those entering a lifetime of missions will usually need special encouragement, since the road ahead isn’t easy. Often, parents will be the first to try to stop them, or objections will come from even close friends, or well-meaning people who declare that they do not have the “right qualifications.” So, it can be an uphill battle, right from the start. Nevertheless, it is exciting to record that in 46 years of our church existence, more than 60 people have been called into ministry or missions, excluding short termers, young and old, with more than half before the age of 30 years. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
如果年轻人认为神在呼召他，我会从旁帮助他们，明白是否是神的呼召，并且帮他们做好准备,他们也许会遇到的一些阻力和负面的意见。每个人都需要鼓励，这些年青人如果选择奉献一生做宣道工作，更需要特别的支持和鼓励，他们前面的路是崎岖难行的。时常第一个提出反对的是父母，或者是要好的朋友也会加力阻拦，或是一些持有善意的相识也会好言相劝，提出;“你也许还不够资格”。 一开始就有不同方向來的阻力，如同行上坡路。但不论如何，我们教会可以兴奋的提出在过去的46年中有超过60信徒位青少年被主感动加入了传道宣道的行列，或加入了传道机构。不包括短宣的年青和年长的弟兄姐妹们。60多位中超过一半是年龄在30岁以下。帖撒 罗尼迦前书5章11节：“所以你们该彼此劝慰，互相建立，正如你们素常所行的”。
I believe our churches definitely need to better provide a proper perspective of what the entire spectrum of opportunities are for young people to serve in their life journey. If our main goal in life for every Christian is to glorify God (Westminster Creed), then the mission field is clearly one of the most meaningful opportunities to glorify our Lord. Start buying lots of missionary story books and give them away as gifts to the most faithful young people. And start a missions library, so that anything related to missions can be displayed there as a reminder of the importance of missions, from a really young age.
我认为教会要从各角度来介绍给年青人所有人生未來工作和事奉的机会。让他们为他们自己的一生来做决定。作为一个基督徒一生最主要的目的是荣耀神 。(基督信仰西敏斯特信仰Westminster Creed) 。如果要荣耀主，那么在一个宣道工厂做一个宣道士 实在是一个作为一身最有意义的一件事。教会要尽量购买宣道士的书籍送给一些对宣道有认真信心的年轻人为礼物。并在教会设立一个宣道图书馆，让任何宣道有关的书籍，杂志，陈列在图书馆里，提醒年青人，让他们从年轻的时候就常常能接触到这些书籍刊物。
Those young people who do not go to the foreign mission field will be inspired to notice the many problems of society even in our own country, even right in our backyard. And often they will later become the important long term supporters of foreign and local missionaries, who might have even come from their own youth group, so it gives an immediate really tight connection between field workers and the critical home team support. Young people do grow up, you remember.
Mission committees are charged with the important work of promoting missions in the entire church. (See Uncle Reggie Stories: Missions Mobilization in the Church). But, partly because the committee is often so busy connecting with and supporting existing missionaries, it becomes easy to neglect children and youth, even as they should be the real driving force for future missions. Thus, the mission committee needs to be deliberately reminded to especially try to focus on developing missions consciousness in children and youth, in coordination with the children’s ministry and/or the youth ministry. And when missionary reports and visits are made, make sure we include visits with the children and youth. Remember the Lord’s rebuke of the disciples, Matthew 19:14 “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”
In conclusion, we all know that youth is a time for idealism, and most great missionaries in the past have made their decisions to go to the mission field when relatively young, and physically left for the field in their late teens or early 20s. It is sobering that, if you go to cemeteries of missionaries on the field, you will see the tombs of many young people, names you might not recognize easily since they died so young. Try visiting the Morrison Cemetery in Macau, the former Portuguese colony, now reclaimed as part of China. As you read the tombstones and note the very young ages of those buried there, including many children of missionaries, it is a reminder of the great sacrifices of young people that have brought Christianity to China. The sacrifice and cost today are different, and probably not so dramatic, but the challenges are similar. Be part of a movement to raise up a new generation to serve Him among the nations. Youth for all Nations.
总结；我们都知道年青人是理想主義者，历史上的宣道士，当他们决定献身于宣道工作, 立定志愿时，都是在年青的时候。不過20岁出头，他们就身入异乡，全身投入宣道工厂。有机会你去看看宣道士的墓地，看看他们的墓碑，丧在那的宣道士许多都是非常年青的，看着那些名字都是很陌生的，因为他们在非常年轻的时候就离世了。看着這些墓碑会令人深省。你有机会去走走澳门的馬禮遜（Robert Morrison）墓园。 澳门过去是葡萄牙在中国的属地，現已回归祖国，你可以读读碑上的墓誌铭，一个个埋在那里的传道士都是如此的年轻，有些是传道士的兒女，碑上的字让我们从内心深处感受到这些宣道士的牺牲。他们将基督信仰带到中国。现今宣教士所奉献牺牲的是有些区别，也许不一定像过去会献上生命但在宣道事上的挑战和困难几乎和以往没有两样。让我们有心人都能参与这神圣使命，来兴起新一代的年青人– “万国青年”YFAN Youth for all Nations!。