From one of the service ideas from the great Lads to Leaders program was born the idea that Hannah, our youngest, would go and read different books of the Bible to Mrs. Umstedt. Mrs. Umstedt was elderly, lived only a few houses down from us, needed the gospel and was thrilled when Hannah asked her if she could come once a week and read the scriptures to her. This sweet German immigrant claimed many things about their meetings: She said she looked forward to them with great joy. She said was learning things she was glad to know. She said she was able to hear the scriptures perfectly even from the small voice that was delivering them.
But we all know the truth. Because Mrs. Umstedt never obeyed the gospel, to our knowledge, Hannah was the one who got the lion’s share of blessings from these expeditions down the street with Bible in hand. Mrs. Umstedt had cookies, but Mrs Umstedt also offered her joy in sharing the scriptures, confidence in talking about them, the chance to prioritize and behave responsibly about Bible study with a neighbor, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you have done your best for your God.
Even if you don’t have a Mrs. Umstedt right there on your street, I bet she lives somewhere within an easy drive. I became so very comfortable with Hannah being at Mrs. Umstedt’s that, one Wednesday night, just after services had started in our congregation, I looked over at the spot near the front where Hannah usually sat. She wasn’t there, so I began to look around to see where she could be sitting. I was panicking a bit, when I realized I had forgotten to pick her up from Mrs. Umstedt’s house on my way to the building! Leaving everything right there on the pew, I rushed right down the center aisle and right out the back door during the invitation song. You can imagine what sorts of things were running through my husband’s mind as he was hoping people would be coming the other direction down the aisle. The ushers in the foyer were also a little perplexed until I said, “Hannah!…I forgot to bring Hannah!”
Just about the time I got out of the building and the congregation sat down, my phone began to ring incessantly, because Hannah had also discovered that she was missing worship. And my phone was in that purse on that pew near the front. And, then there was also my husband who was, by this time, trying to address the church from the podium. At last, he made a comment—not a mean comment, but a funny one–probably something about the phone with the everlasting ring…and how much that looks like it is coming “from my wife’s purse’” and “where did my wife go, anyway?”
I forgot her. Can’t believe it, but I did. I guess if a little girl is ever going to be absent from Wednesday Bible study, this is about the best circumstance I can think of. But I still don’t recommend it. If you want to grow conviction in the Word in your children, I do have a recommendation, though. Arrange ways for them to personally share it in non-threatening situations before the devil gets the chance to make their stomachs feel queasy and their knees knock at the thought of a personal Bible study. Reading to the elderly is a great start. Sometimes a child can understand more about sharing the word than the aged!