Hugs help kids understand they’re no mistake
Evelyn Adamson, Baptist Press
July 12, 2010

Hugs help kids understand they’re no mistake

Hugs help kids understand they’re no mistake
Evelyn Adamson, Baptist Press
July 12, 2010

When people think of a

mistake, it’s usually a regrettable decision or action. Few people, however,

think of a child as a mistake.

At a Holiday Bible Club

while school was out of session in South Africa during the World Cup games,

youth pastor Tyronne Eilenberg of Pinetown Baptist Church in Durban realized

that some of the children had never been told the words “I love you.” Some had

even been told by their parents they were a mistake from birth.

BP photo by Evelyn Adamson

At Pinetown Baptist Church in the Durban area, a child participates in a Holiday Club that helped children experience the love of God during their World Cup holiday month in South Africa.

As the club was coming to an

end, the children played harder and the sound of their laughter grew louder, as

their troubled homes had left them responsive to the love of God as they struggled

to understand why they were ever born.

At the close of the final

day, Eilenberg offered the simplest demonstration of love — a hug.

He affirmed the children by

telling them how much God loves them.

At first many of the

children were shy when asked if they wanted a hug, but when Eilenberg asked

them to bow their heads and close their eyes, child after child came to the

front to receive the love entailed in a simple hug. The difference a hug can

make was seen on the beaming faces of the children as they walked away from the


Eilenberg then pointed the

children to Jesus and His endless love for them.

With their heads still bowed

and eyes closed, Eilenberg asked children who wanted prayer to raise their

hands where they were seated. Hand after hand was raised in testimony to how

many of them had lived unloved.

During a sermon the Sunday

morning after the Holiday Bible Club, Eilenberg told of one young boy who was

kicking a ball and it bounced over a wall.

Eilenberg jokingly told the

child to go get the ball, and the boy’s response was to look at his feet and

say, “Please don’t hurt me.”

Eilenberg’s passion is to

have hurting children continue to come to Pinetown Baptist where they can begin

to know how beautiful and cherished they are to God and to the people of the


He has a vision of going

into local primary schools to minister to the children while encouraging them

to come to church.

Describing this vision as in

the beginning stages, Eilenberg hopes to continue training youth leaders at

Pinetown to extend the love of Christ to the children throughout its

Durban-area community.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Adamson is an intern writer

for the International Mission Board’s global communication team on assignment

in South Africa covering the events, matches and ministries related to the

World Cup.)