By Johnny Dalisay,
Church Planter, Community of Christ’s Disciples, Toronto
In Deuteronomy 4:9 (NLT), God told Moses:
…Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
In Deuteronomy 6:2 (NLT), he told Moses the reason why this was important.
…You and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life.
During the early part of 2020, as I was listening to our coach in Church Renewal tell us some stories in one of our monthly mentoring sessions, he shared about a regular activity of Pastor Ray Duerksen, the Church Renewal Director. Whenever his children and grandchildren visit him and his wife in their home on Sunday afternoons, he would share with them a faith story to encourage the grandchildren in their faith. I picked up the idea and shared it with my wife, Emie. We agreed to try it with our grandkids.
We have been married for 40 years and the Lord has blessed us with three sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law and seven granddaughters. Yes, they’re all girls, aged one to eleven. Our oldest son and his family are based in Singapore while our two other sons and their families are in Davao City, the third biggest city in the Philippines, just an hour and a half by plane south of Manila. We have been able to visit them three times in the past seven years, so we see them more often only through FaceTime or Zoom—mostly once every two weeks. We thank God that our sons and their families are all actively involved in their local church.
We pray for them regularly and we would like to see all of them grow in their relationship with our Father. We would like to see our grandkids grow up loving and serving our Lord. So, we presented the idea to our sons to set aside the last Sunday evening of the month for Emie and I to share a faith story with them. That way, they will all hear about how God has been at work and has been faithful to our family all these years. They all agreed so we started having these Faith Stories seven months ago. We have it on the last Sunday of each month, at 7 am here (but it’s 8 pm there).
We started with the story of how God provided our miracle house in 2007, then how God provided us our first car, followed by how God helped us with the challenges we faced in having our first-born son. We have also shared the story of how God called me into the pastoral ministry and the faith story last month was on how I came to faith in the Lord Jesus.
When I share these stories, I don’t just tell them with words. I prepare a full power point presentation with photos of the actual places and people involved in the story. It takes me more than a day to prepare the script and photos for these stories but as Emie said, “We are investing in the lives of our apos (Tagalog for grandkids).” At the end of each story, or even during the storytelling, the grandkids can ask questions by raising their hands, and we try our best to answer their queries. They are now asking what the next story will be about.
We thank God for giving us these opportunities to tell our children and grandchildren what we have seen and heard God do in and through our lives so they may also fear the Lord and submit to him. I believe that this is one way grandparents can be used by God to strengthen the faith of their grandkids as they see that our God is real, alive, powerful and he truly loves us and cares for us.