Making an Eternal Difference

By Bob Paulson, editor of Decision Magazine   •   September 29, 2011

“Let’s clap for Jesus!” he says. The class erupts in applause.

Keya continues talking about Christ. He wants to drive the truth about the Son of God deep into the children’s hearts, as it has been driven into his own.

“What is the name of the Son of God?” he asks. In typical Kenyan fashion, the students answer in unison: “Jesus.”

“How do you spell Jesus?”

“J-e-s-u-s,” they answer.

“Let’s write Jesus in the air with our hands.”

The students move their fingers in the shape of letters.

“Now I’d like you to stand and write Jesus in the air with your head!”

Keya steps from left to right and bobs his head in the form of letters. The children follow—some holding back to see Keya demonstrate a second time before they catch on.

The students move back to their seats, again applauding for Jesus, then they review John 3:16 in unison. Finally they sing a song, accompanied by spirited clapping.

The class is energetic, fun and instructive—and it has made an eternal difference in the lives of several students in the room. It’s part of The Greatest Journey, the 12-lesson children’s discipleship program from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse that is helping children in 50 countries come to a vital and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Keya’s class is studying Lesson 3, “The Great Savior,” which shows how Jesus paid the price for our sin so that those who trust in Him can have eternal life. Already, several have put their faith in Jesus Christ. “[The classes] have helped us know the things of the Lord and how to follow Jesus,” says Ben, 14. Although Ben’s family attends church, he says that he never knew much about Jesus before coming to the class. After learning more about Jesus, he asked his pastor to help him pray and commit his life to Christ.

Twelve-year-old Joel came to the classes at the invitation of his neighbor following a distribution of shoe box gifts through Operation Christmas Child. When asked what he has learned so far, he responds without hesitation, “How sin came to us, how God created me and how Jesus came to save me from my sins.” Joel received Christ during Lesson 2.

Peter, 14, also committed his life to Christ. “They’ve taught us how to follow God,” he says. “It has changed my life. My heart is happy because I have the Holy Spirit in my heart.”

God is using the study of His Word to make an impact on adults as well. Some parents have come to Keya and described the character changes they are seeing in their children. And some have then prayed with Keya to receive Christ themselves.

Keya trained to be a pharmacist, but his calling is to teach. He has opened his own tutoring center, where he coaches 70 students ranging from fifth-graders through adults.

Keya grew up in a Christian family, where his parents were church leaders. His father passed away when Keya was 3, but before he died, he proclaimed that one day his son would be a Sunday school teacher and a servant of God. Sure enough, all through school Keya held leadership roles. “I have a vision for reaching out to street children to provide food along with the Gospel. And I’ve been preparing meetings for children. So I just have that zeal. It is something inborn.”

But he doesn’t rely on inborn talent to be an effective teacher. He reads books about teaching, attends Sunday school teacher training sessions and researches teaching methods online. And he has learned much from The Greatest Journey itself. “Every lesson has a play, a scene,” he notes.

Keya was 10 when he committed his life to Christ. Being brought up in a single-parent family after his father’s death was not easy. “As I teach The Greatest Journey, I take these children as if they were myself,” he says. “I don’t want them to pass through the struggle I went through.

“I feel so honored—so humbled before the Lord—to be a vessel God has chosen to use. Negative influences shall not have a place in the children’s hearts, because the Word of God is filling their hearts through the help of the Greatest Journey lessons.”

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