by Lloyd Kim
After attending First Presbyterian for nine years, we rejoiced in having Noel and Carolyn Hildebrand become members this past May. What you may not know is that the Hildebrands have been Good News Club leaders for 14 years, but after so many years of leading the club, they decided not to continue with the Lowell Elementary School Good News Club. Then, God used a sermon by Pastor Jeremy about stirring up our spirit to action (Haggai 1:12-15) which motivated them to return to the Lowell Good News Club.
And talk about a rewarding project! Noel and Carolyn, of Sanger, are a blessing and are blessed by their ministry and have bore so much fruit. In the many years of their volunteer work with the Good News Clubs of three elementary schools, two in Sanger and one in Fresno (at Lowell), they have had great joy and won more than 1,000 souls of children for Christ. In their obedience to the Great Commission of Christ and for the love they have for Jesus, they've been blessed with joy in many ways and are happy after returning to this ministry.
The Good News Clubs ministry is part of the Child Evangelism Fellowship and receives $500 a year from First Presbyterian Church. Lowell Elementary School is a public school, yet because of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, a Christian ministry must be allowed there. The Good News Clubs were the first Christian ministry to start after school hours.
The Hildebrands, now in their eighties, have not only been blessed by joy from their ministry but have enjoyed good health, no illnesses, for the many years since starting their volunteer work. Carolyn said that she and Noel received joy from the training of how to share the Gospel, which helped when they witnessed to her aunt, who was terminally ill, and she accepted the Lord two weeks before dying. Another joy came when children first accepted Christ, becoming saved, of course. Noel said that even more joy is from the Holy Spirit, as it says in Galatians, since they are doing this for Jesus. Then on April 30th of this year, Noel's birthday, the last day before the Hildebrands took a break from their ministry, Noel got hugs from all the children in the Clubs.
The three Good News Clubs, for children from 2nd to 5th grade, began with 20 children in it. On the first day, 16 of the 20 accepted Jesus and were saved, and the other 4 had already come to believe in Jesus. The teacher then was helpful in setting up the seats for the Club in the classroom where the GNC met, Carolyn said.
Although Carolyn has been very active in working with children, the Good News Clubs have been the most rewarding to her. They reach many more children in the Clubs than Sunday School classes in these opportunities to share the Gospel. The Hildebrands were also in a Bible Study Fellowship, Noel was a teaching leader, which had 350 members, 30 years ago.
Why are public schools lacking Christian ministries? From lack of volunteers! Yet everything is provided for the volunteers, all they have to do is show up! The Hildebrands only have 2 helpers now and could reach twice as many children if they had just 4 more volunteers in the 1st and 2nd grade. And volunteers can find the same great joy the Hildebrands found.
If you would like to volunteer to work for the Good News Clubs ministry or would like to make a donation, contact the office of the Children's Evangelism Fellowship. You will not only gain joy and bear fruit, but will be showing your love for Jesus by obedience to the Great Commission. You will also be winning souls for God.