The “gic.” That’s what Todd Brown jokingly referred to it as in the brief video that we were all shown a few Sunday’s prior to its start. And that’s what my family has continued to call The Global Impact Celebration – “The GIC”. It makes us smile each time we say it and think of Todd asking, “What is a gic?” In my family none of us really got it, but we enjoyed the laugh we were given because of “The GIC”.
Well, I was able to see for myself what the GIC was; not only through my own eyes, but through the eyes of some of our younger Church members due to my privilege of being the 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School teacher for the month of February! What is the GIC? To many it may simply have been just the hosting of our friends and missionaries from around the globe. To my Sunday school children, it was nothing short of visits with royalty…or rock stars even.
I had just finished telling some of my students that we would be visited by our missionary partners form Burundi Onesphore and Freddy, when we looked out of the window and one of my students (who had had the pleasure of meeting them the day before) saw them. The exclamations of “There’s Freddy!”, and “There’s Onesphore!” were nothing short of electric. Contagious excitement spread through all of my students. Upon Onesphore’s and Freddy’s arrival in our class, the students were as quiet and attentive as ever. Excitement continued as the students heard stories of where Burundi was, why it is considered the heart of Africa and that Burundi is also home to the world’s largest crocodile named Gustov.
I so hoped that the children would get a lot of their visit with our missionaries – not lose a lot of the message due to their lack of worldly experience. So I made sure to try to break down the information we received so that they wouldn’t miss any of it. So they would “get it”. We looked on at the pictures from the schools and orphanages in Burundi and saw tremendous happiness on the resident’s faces. I made sure to share with my students that these two men and their organizations must do some mighty powerful work because we could see love and happiness shining on the faces of children who were without parents (and who most times did not get any food except for the one meal a day provided by their school).
At some point we also learned that the income of the people aided in Burundi was no more than $130.00 a year. To try to help my students understand how much money that actually was I explained that sometimes our families may spend that much money on a large week’s grocery run or a trip to Costco. Imagine my surprise when this past Sunday, someone shared with me that one of my students had shared that particular “income” tidbit with her family. “She got it!” was the thought in my head – she got it.
The GIC moved from our Sunday school class to the Flag processional that opening Sunday. My students’ anticipation of participating in this was much akin to the excitement of the long awaited first drive into Disney World – excitement of the unknown and the thrill of being a part of something big, yet not being quite sure what to expect. And they loved being a part of it.
Al had warned us that the opening Sunday’s attendance to hear the Rev. Ravi Zacharias’ sermon would be “packed like Easter”. That was certainly no understatement – by the time I had helped lead the children in the procession and aid them in finding their parents, I found standing-room-only in the Kinloch room to see the digital feed of Rev. Zacharias’ sermon coming from the packed tight sanctuary.
The rest of the “GIC Week” followed with many of the visiting missionaries being hosted by our small groups and them staying with many of our St. Michael’s families during the week. I’m sure that by the end of the week most of us were getting the power and impact of these world missions.
The GIC week culminated with Chaplain Barry Black’s sermon and reception on Sunday, February 19th. Imagine my surprise, when I didn’t even have to break down the information from Chaplain Black’s sermon so that my children wouldn’t miss the message. Imagine my surprise and delight as my own children responded with laughs and “aahhs” in all the right places during Chaplain Black’s sermon.
“They got it!” I thought. They got it!
~ Anne Walpole
3rd-4th Sunday School Teacher