A Visit With Jo

I recently had the opportunity to visit with my mentor, Dr. Jo Bevington.  Three years ago I first wrote about her on my blog;  click here to read that post.

When Jo was 58 she earned her Doctorate in Preschool Education.  Her dissertation was  ‘Faith Development in Children Birth through Three’!!  She has taught at Biola University and New Orleans Seminary, served as Minister to Preschoolers in several large churches; and has been my friend and mentor for 30 years now. It is her profound and lasting impact on my life that has instilled in me the strong desire I have for establishing God’s Word in children.

Jo contacted me about a year ago when she was about to move into a nursing home; she wanted to give me all her files from a lifetime of working with children!!!!!  She is 88, is almost blind, walks with a walker, and only quit teaching preschoolers about two years ago!!!

Billy and I took a quick trip to Texas last week to pick up the files and spend time with Jo. It was a privilege to sit at her feet again. She has always inspired me with her intimate relationship with the Lord. Her spirit shines forth so strongly that I hardly noticed her physical limitations. (2 Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.)

Here are some videos of our time with Jo.  Please watch and be inspired by this 88 year old saint who passionately walks with the Lord and loves children like no one else I have ever met!



What to Look for in a Preschool, Children, and Youth Ministry

Malachi 4:5-6
“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. [6] His preaching will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

I believe this sums up what to look for in any ministry.  God’s plan is to work in children’s lives through the parents.  Anything that tries to do otherwise is wrong. Don’t let anyone rob you of the joy of leading your child to Christ, or training your teenager in spiritual matters, or being the wise counselor for your adult children.  Find a church that understands this.   Luci West so aptly expressed this in the Dudley Baptist Church Children’s Ministry Statement: “partnering with parents to lead their children into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ”.  This is done by making sure the parents have the resources and the training they need to lead their children.

Not only does Malachi point out that the preacher was to turn the parents’ hearts to the children, but it is just as important to turn the children’s hearts toward the parents.  For example: the Youth director should not be getting the youth to rally around him, but should be continually pointing them toward their parents, just as the pastor’s goal is not to have the people dependent on him but to continually point them to a personal daily relationship with their Heavenly Father.

The message in this Scripture appears to be very serious in God’s eyes.  Look at the consequences of not turning parents and children toward each other – a curse on the land.  Hmmm.


“Jesus loves the little children – all the children of the world”

I just got home from my second trip to La Romano, Dominican Republic.  Last year I visited an orphanage there and met a girl named Dalia who touched my heart.  We took coloring pages for the children to have.  Dalia immediately started coloring hers and wrote her name and my name on it and then gave it to me.    I kept it and I have prayed for her off and on all year.

When I walked through the gate this year she ran up immediately and latched on to me.  I showed her the page she had given me last year, which put a big smile on her face.  She then proceeded to make me another picture and write “I love you” on it.  Also, I was delighted to see that she and her friend had remembered the song I sang to them last year about Jesus.

Dalia clung to me during the short visit we had at the orphanage.  When it was time to leave, she asked someone who spoke English to ask me when I was coming back and told me to come back pronto!  Unfortunately I couldn’t make her any promises.  She walked me to the gate and had the most forlorn look on her face when we left;  it was so hard to say goodbye.

I was told that some of those children still have parents who could come back to get them when they are old enough to make them money by prostituting.   I don’t know Dalia’s past nor her future, but God does.  I don’t know how I can help her, but God loves her more than I could ever love her.  But my heart hurts – I will continue to pray for her.


Want to Change the World?

I think we would all agree that there are things going on in our culture today that need changing.  I recently heard it said that if you want to change the world, move to Hollywood.  Well, two of my sons heard the same quote and decided to take it literally.  They are now residing there and hoping to be light in the midst of a wicked and perverse industry. (Philip. 2:15  …so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.)

Please read this blog post written by our son Jeremiah  http://www.andydarnell.com/?p=2293

If you want to help change the world, but can’t just up and move to Hollywood, consider encouraging other Christians who are willing to go.  When we were there last week, we met several Christians who felt called to the place that many Christians have given up on.  They were struggling to keep their cars running, pay their bills, and just survive as meagerly as possible in order to work in the industry.  Their desire through all of this is to live their lives in such a way that those who have no hope will see and come to know the hope and peace that passes understanding that is only found in Jesus Christ.

If you would like to give to help any of these ‘missionaries’, we have a 501c3 vehicle you can give through.  Just make the checks out to Refocus Ministry and we will send it to the one in greatest need at the time, or we can give you names if you would like to specifically support someone .  You may want to support Tinseltown Ministries which has a powerful weekly Bible study on the Fox backlot for people in the industry.

Refocus Ministry will keep track of your tax deductible gifts and will keep you informed as to how your support is helping to change the world.

Refocus Ministry
2955 Phillips Bend Crossing
Buford, Ga 30519