Samuels in Training, or S.I.T., is a weekend getaway program for boys and girls who, like young Samuel in the house of the priest Eli, want to learn more about God. Captain Jodi Lloyd reports on a recent S.I.T. weekend held at Camp Swoneky in Oregonia, Ohio. Prayer is at the heart of each 'Samuels' weekend.
The "Samuels" arrived Friday evening, and we began worshiping right away. The children enthusiastically sang, "It's a Big, Big House ... It's My Father's House!" During that time, cell groups prayed for each child individually after asking, "What do you want God to do for you this weekend?" God answered their prayers!
The children spent the weekend in such teaching sessions as "Who God Is," "Who Satan Is," and "How Do We Hear from God?" They meditated and prayed. They walked through prayer stations showing them how to set up their bedrooms as places of prayer. They went on an early morning prayer walk.
One activity that might seem like a challenge even to adults was spending a lunch in silence, meditating on Scripture and on questions like, "How does God show His love to me?" "How can I show love to God?" Yet the kids did it! They also enjoyed fun activities and games that taught them, for example, to pray loudly against the Enemy by saying, "Go away, go away, In Jesus' name I pray, go away!"
We had a goal for S.I.T.
to take up a collection to support an amazing effort (Kids 4 Kids) by Josh Pelletier, a child whose parents are Eastern territorial officers serving in Nairobi, Kenya. Josh wants to buy goats to give to families in which children are without parents. The result? S.I.T. delegates sent a love offering of $380óenough for 19 goatsórepresenting our Swoneky Division junior soldiers.
We thank God for an amazing weekend with unbelievably beautiful children who want to know God, who want to hear from Him, and who want to love Him more. One "Samuel" gave this testimony on Sunday morning at his corps (church): "When God spoke to me, he told me that I don't have to be afraid anymore, that I can trust God to always be with me, and that it's OK to have fun!"
Later, we received this note from a corps officer (pastor): "This weekend made a huge impact on the lives of our delegates, especially Jacob. He went ... questioning the reality of God and if The Salvation Army was really a church. He returned home on fire for God, witnessing at home, at church, and to his friends. He brought two new friends to the corps Sunday as well as their mother.
"He got up Sunday and gave a 15-minute message with personal witness that he had been changed by the weekend; that he was no longer afraid of Satan and that he no longer had to worry. Jacob [had] worried a lot, much more than any child his age should, so this was a huge victory for him. He said he worships the true God in the church called The Salvation Army."
We are so grateful knowing others were praying and standing alongside us during these sacred moments with our children! We thank God for the many leaders that came and ministered and served in wonderful ways. We pray that these "Samuels" will continue to listen to the voice of God.