Awana club meets in a tree
Deaf and mute clubber in Venezuela memorizes John 3:16
Not all Awana clubs are operating in your traditional setting and circumstances. We have Awana clubs in churches, schools, houses of culture, and even one under what God created on the third day. From the jungles and hills of Venezuela in the state of Apur, comes a true story of one Awana club that meets under a tree. Now you can image a group of energetic 6 – 12 year olds gathered under a tree. Not that gravity does not apply in Venezuela, but you will often find these children not only under the tree, but also in the trees for games!
Some of the children at this club come from the families whose parents are rebels and control the area with guns. It is a miracle that a church can minister to the needs of these people, who only believe in the power of the gun, but even more amazing is that Pierina, who is both deaf and mute is allowed to attend. Not only does she attend the local Awana club, she is learning scripture from the Awana handbooks.
When Awana missionary Jorge Oliveros visited the area, one of the leaders told Jorge about this courageous young Sparks clubber and asked him to have her recite the Scripture she had learned. Jorge’s first thought was, “How will she tell me the verses, if she cannot speak!”
At first, the young girl was too shy and didn’t want to recite the verse and reference for Jorge. So her leader began encouraging her to show the Awana missionary what she had learned. Pierina got out pencil and paper and proceeded to write out the scripture reference and the verse. Jorge looked at the paper.
Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna.
Written in perfect Spanish was John 3:16.
This child did not have the advantage of reciting the verses to pass her handbook sections, she could not even hear them being read. Instead she must read, memorize and write out the verses to pass every section in her Sparks handbooks.
Not all of Pierina’s life is going as smoothly as her life in Awana. All the children in the picture and several others’s are members of one family that has seven children. The parents have abandoned them as they roam and control the hills and jungle. The local Awana leader has ‘unofficially’ adopted them and provides for their material needs as Awana is doing for their spiritual needs.
Pierina is now progressing beyond Sparks and is faithfully attending the Torch club, still meeting under the trees up in the mountains of Venezuela.
Please pray for her, her siblings, their parents and the situation with the rebels. Pray for the churches and the club that meets in the city of Guasdualito. Pray that the Lord continues to use Awana in some of the most unusual situations and circumstances.