This week Dunkin and I got to participate in local missions with our 11th grade students. Our week started with Innovation Charter School (ICS), a public elementary school. Immediately upon arrival the school’s principal called me into her office to visit with a little girl named Mia. She is a first grader and didn’t want to go to school that day. After some conversation and finding out the names of her friends in class, I asked her if she would like to introduce Dunkin to her friends. Mia joyfully went to class with her new friend Dunkin to share with her other friends Abraham and Peyton. I was also blessed to discover that Mia’s teacher was a former student of mine from Calvary Christian Academy! What a perfect first opportunity to share our “Message of Hope.” I started with: “Dunkin and I have come to tell you the most important thing in the whole wide world…God loves you.” We then went into our Gospel presentation complete with Dunkin hugging me when I recite John 3:16 (God so loved the world…) and a “high five” for the “Good News” that Jesus died for our sins and as I kneel Dunkin puts his paws on my knees so we pray to receive Jesus as our Savior. We all clap at the end because now heaven is our home. I finish with passing out “Dunkin’s picture” (our Canines for Christ card with John 3:16 and a prayer of salvation on the back) to all the students as they ask questions and pet Dunkin. We did this for four classes at ICS that day!
On Tuesday, we went next door to Purpose Academy. It is a small privately funded Christian middle school where some of the students from ICS continue their education. Here also we were able to share our “Message of Hope” with two more classes. We stopped in at ICS to visit a second grade class and present our “Message of Hope” and of course to check on Mia.
Wednesday we went to Markham Elementary school, a public school right down the street from ICS. At this particular school they requested we just sit in the media center and receive the students as the teachers brought them to us. I heard the principal announce, “hello students, we have mentors here from Calvary Christian Academy again but they brought a special surprise with them today, a Golden Retriever Service Dog named Dunkin.” For three hours we had a steady flow of students visiting us. Most had difficulty communicating due to language barriers and several teachers told me that their students had never pet a dog before. The teachers were very patient with the students, holding their hands and showing them how to gently pet his back. It was precious.
In the media center at William Dandy Middle School is where we spent our Thursday morning. I overheard an English teacher give instructions to write how they can best deal with their anger. As I spoke with students while petting Dunkin, several expressed fear. Two weeks ago a student brought a gun to school and daily they experience violence as students fight they told me. I was able to pray with two students on different occasions and tell them of God’s love for them. One of those students, David, I really connected with. I returned the following day with a student edition of the New Testament and printed pictures of him with Dunkin to leave at the school reception office. The receptionist was very excited to get it to him.
Our last day of the week we decided to “stay home” at Calvary Christian Academy and visit our elementary school. Because I teach so many classes, I don’t have time to go to that building and today was the opportunity. We visited two classrooms (2nd grade and 5th grade). What a joy! The students embraced and loved Dunkin as he had been all week but when I shared the Gospel with these students they all recited John 3:16 with me!
In total we visited about 10 individual classrooms where we shared the Gospel, spent over 6 hours in media centers letting the kids “pet the dog” and interacted with over 250 kids passing out his card with the prayer of salvation on the back.