Dedicated to Jemly and Heidy Manopo, Parents of Glory Thank you for your forgiveness
Foreword Our camp began on July 25th, 2010. A month before the camp we had staff training to prepare this camp. During the staff training we spent time to pray and ask the Lord what theme he wanted for the camp this time After praying we received Isaiah 43:4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, And then we got two words to summarize that verse: Precious Gift. This is a statement that the children are important in the eyes of God and they are very precious “Gift” from God to us, and for the children themselves they are precious gift from the Lord. But “Precious Gift‟s are not necessary always fun or make us happy and rejoice all the time. There is sadness, sorrow and headache, also deep loss but the lessons we can learn from it are valuable – the result is changed lives! This story will make you understand what I mean by this.
By his grace, Conly J. Leong
Oh God, I never thought about this… Recreation was included in our program, scheduled on July 1st, 2010 at King‟s Kids camp/outreach held in Tumaluntung (north Minahasa – North Sulawesi). A total of 46 participants (included kids & staff) joined this activity. We chose to go swimming for our recreation in Kauditan, about 20 minutes by car from Tumaluntung. Arriving the location, we immediately hanged clothes and most of us jumped into the pool, swimming, playing, and enjoying our time. We had fun together and our friendships grew stronger regardless of differences, amongst the children from 6 to 18 years old. After over an hour of joyful time, all of sudden things changed; one of the kids found Glory (age 9, from Menado) was lying on the bottom of the adult pool (about 2 meters deep). Others rushed to lift her out of the pool, tried to give her first aid, then immediately took her to the hospital, but it was too late; the doctor said she has gone… From when she was lifted out of the pool until being taken to the hospital we were all praying, crying out to God asking him to bring her back to life. But it never happened (Later on I realized that God had a different plan) The situation was so chaotic, and I had to call her father to tell him what had happened Her parents were of course so shocked to receive this news. While we were waiting for them to come to the hospital, some police officers came and questioned me for quite a while. In the midst of confusion, I remembered a few things about Glory before the incident happened. A few hours before we went for recreation, I has a meeting with Ellen (a staff member who runs the program), and one of the things we discussed was choosing some of the kids to share testimonies at the celebration program that Saturday. Ellen had the responsibility to choose and talk to them. Before we departed, she gave me the names she had chosen and one them was Glory. The night before this accident her parents/family came for a visit, even though it was already late, Glory tried spent sometime to talking with them even though not for a long time.
After we had waited for a few hours, Glory‟s parent arrived at the hospital, obviously shocked, and I as the leader of the camp filled with fear and guilt did not have the nerve to see them or go closer – it is difficult to describe the horrid feeling I had or what the situation was like. The police then gave a memorandum of understanding to her parents and gave them a choice if they didn‟t want to sign the paper that would mean that they objected to the incident and would want to charge us, but if they signed the paper that would mean the parents accepted this was just an accident and would free us from charges. We waited for what they were going to decide…then we heard that they both had signed the papers Sometime later, while Ellen and I were sitting down with our heads bowed, I heard footsteps coming toward us; in his troubled heart, Glory‟s father came and embraced Ellen and me… We cried out begging for forgiveness… Do you know what I felt? I felt I received something that I‟m not worthy to received – I received GRACE! I was in the accused position waiting to be judged. When I found out they had signed the memorandum of understanding, I seemed to see Jesus seal it with his blood there…, and the judge pronounced his sentence. REDEMPTION! I have been redeemed! That is the act of Jesus‟ redemption. The real picture of how he has redeemed us by his blood for all our sins. When her father walked toward us and gave Ellen and I a hug, I remembered about the lesson during the camp, 2 days before the incident, “Father‟s heart of God toward children and youth”. Mr. William, the speaker of that topic, led us all to read: Luke 15: 11:32 “The younger son…he squandered his property… in reckless living…a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need…But when he came to himself, he said: I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you…And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” Forgiveness! The value of forgiveness! Oh how I need forgiveness, how everybody need forgiveness. I could not explain with words how it feels to be forgiven. I have been forgiven! Perhaps the word „relieved‟ or „freedom‟ are the closest word to explain it. When Glory‟s father came to hug Ellen and I, I felt the Father embraced us with his loving kindness and showed he had forgiven us of our mistakes. I now have a better understanding why Jesus was so serious in teaching about forgiveness. I could not imagine how we could live if Jesus didn‟t come to forgive our sin. Oh, how thankful I am for I have been forgiven. Thank you Jesus for your forgiveness, and thank you Jemly and Heidy, for your forgiveness…
Search Our Hearts… The day after the incident we, all the staff, got together to pray, and we let the Lord to search our hearts… We realized our carelessness and asked the Lord for forgiveness. Then the Lord brought to the surface the sin of pride in each one of us. During the camp there were practice times of performing arts every afternoon and most of the practice time we had at the big yard of our base where other people who were passing by could see… in our hearts we voiced it loud and full of pride, „here we are the King‟s Kids…, this is our ministry…so amazing, presented here for the first time…‟ while others, when led the practice time thought, „hmmm, I‟m proud of myself, by myself I was able to train 38 kids and teenagers 7 dances and dramas within 5 days, and another said in her heart, „wow…our dramas are so powerful, they were already so good during practice time, even more when we come up to perform! On Sunday, when we went for a ministry at a local church, when everyone was ready with their costume, with pride I said in front of the kids, „I love the costume…and we are all so proud of the brightly colored costumes…‟ which one should we be more proud of here, God or costumes? God or ministry? Then God spoke through Proverbs 6: 16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood…” Right after haughty eyes is a list of terrible sins, but pride is the first one of the things God hates and an abomination to him. God forgive us…(and he cannot deny his character – he forgave us!) I remember how we worked so hard for our final program, the celebration of “Precious Gift”, to celebrate the love and goodness of God – exactly what we had written on the flyers that we had handed out to many people. Only within seconds everything had completely changed. We felt we were on the top of the mountain before and suddenly had fallen so deep. Proverbs 16: 18 hit us hard, ‘Pride goes before destruction,and a haughty spirit before a fall’
Blessed are those who are forgiven… Time goes by, and our guilty feeling often reappeared, intimidated and accused us…(I am sure, you must have felt how „uncomfortable that guilty feeling can be). One day, when I was filled with guilty feeling again, I opened my Bible, and happened to read Romans 4: 7-8 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Wow…the power of God‟s Word strengthened me. His redemption and forgiveness have been sealed, and cannot be broken by anyone or anything at all! Who Could Know the Mind of God? One morning, I started my „devotion time‟ with thanksgiving to the Lord, one of the things I was thankful for was his forgiveness. Then I asked the Lord (with a bit of complaining attitude). Why did this incident happen? Why was a life taken? Not long after God answered me with his question, „Who knows the mind of God?‟ and I remembered, and read what was written in Romans 11: 33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. I surrender to the Lord‟s sovereignty; He is Almighty, omniscient, omnipresent. That incident was under his sovereignty. I only could say just as David said in Psalms 139: How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I was one of the staff who shared the room with Glory and some of friends within her group. This girl was one of the participants who enjoyed all the activities in the camp the most, including all the lectures. She came on the
first day of the camp, Friday afternoon, June 25th and the Lord called her on July 1st in the afternoon. So I only got to know her for few days. But in that very short time, in her simplicity as a child she had become an amazing example for me. Let me explain about this statement: Learn/listen to God’s Word and do it Who Am I? - I was created according to his image. Genesis 1:27 - I am special and unique. No one else could take my place in God‟s heart. Psalms 139: 14 - I am God‟s greatest treasure. 1 Peter 1:18-19 „Who am I‟ was one of the topics taught in the camp. After the lecture finished, the participants were given sometimes to meditate on their value in the eyes of God. After that they were asked to picture how they were before and after understanding who they are in the eyes of God. On one side of her paper Glory drew a sullen face; she wrote that she used to be like that, sullen face. On the side of „After‟, she drew a face with a huge smile and wrote that she could now smile like that because she has known God as the Greatest God. A Clean Heart The day before, all the kids learned about Building a friendship with the Lord – including a topic of A clean heart. When God created us, he gave us a clean heart (pure), but then sin slowly entered and stained our hearts. The kids were asked to draw a heart on a piece of paper and individually wrote any kind of sin which had polluted their hearts. Lying, stealing, cheating on a test, fighting or hitting other people, cursing, disobeying their parents, etc. were most of the things they wrote. After they got the understanding that sin, any kind of sin, hurts the heart of God, they were given time to pray alone and ask for forgiveness from God for their sins. Then symbolically each person tore their “paper heart”, and all that was written was thrown away and considered rubbish – a commitment that they do not want to keep or allow “garbage” to enter their hearts anymore. The next thing they received was a piece of new white paper, and in a quiet and prayerful moment, they asked the Lord to give them a new clean heart. On that paper, they drew a new heart and in it they wrote what kind of heart they wanted to offer to the Lord. In the new heart she drew Glory wrote: pure, honest, loving, obedient, love to help, believe, etc. This reminded me of what Jesus said to his disciples when they asked who was the greatest in the Kingdom of God And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18: 1-5 Imagine if Jesus came down from heaven right now and spoke his word directly to us I imagine he would place that child on his lap, and that child could have been Glory!
When Ellen asked Glory to share her testimony at the program we had planned, without any hesitation she agreed and told Ellen that she would testify to everyone that she has forgiven her father (her parents) and have asked for their forgiveness for the things she had done wrong (for this part her father and mother could share in more detail – she did this in front of them when they came for visit her on the night before the Lord took her home) I think this is the part that I have shared before from Luke 15: 11-32 about „The Father heart of God toward his children/Parable of the lost son.’ Glory Manopo (girl on the right) I‟ve seen here earnestness of this child not to waste her time, to immediately apply every lesson and truth she received during the camp. This very young child, only 9 years of age realized how important it is to be a doer and not only the hearer…’ James 1:22. Because she knew if she only heard it but did not do it she would be lying to herself. Physically, Glory never made it to stand in front of people and share her testimony, but “…through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” Hebrews 11:4, her testimony can be alive and being told to the entire world… My prayer is that the testimony of this booklet will also be an encouragement for you who read it to open your heart to the Lord and also to be an inspiration for you to live in love and obedience to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. AMEN!