David Shin, pastor of the Hillside O’Malley Church in Anchorage, Alaska, shared thoughts about eternal life with Anchorage Junior Academy for its fall week of prayer. He carefully contrasted the extreme difference between living for a lifetime on this earth and living forever.
“It’s like a penny versus a million dollars,” Shin suggested. “Which one would you choose?”
He further questioned, “Which resurrection do you want to wake up at? The one with Hitler, Satan, and all the other mean and evil people or the one with Jesus and all those who are good?”
That same week, the world history students in grades five through eight were learning about the American judicial system in preparation for a tour to the Anchorage courthouse. After learning about civil and criminal courts, they wrote essays on one question: “If you were to offer advice to the president of the United States for a plan to have the country crime-free by the year 2050, what would it include?”
Roland wrote, “I would tell criminals to stop because they’re doing wrong. People should quit doing crime because they go to prison and even die for eternity. Also, we should help them to learn about the Lord and do the right thing, so when we all wake up at the Second Coming, we’ll be on the side of the Lord, not after the thousand years!”
Other students made practical suggestions. Nayelis thought we should get rid of drugs and making sure all are employed and have insurance. To help the hungry who are tempted to steal, Elysha commented that prices should be lower. Trace wants poverty to be eradicated and more programs to help the mentally ill. Whitni and Nikolai feel that “bad people” should be isolated to one part of the country or an uninhabited island where they have to work and can’t bother the rest of the citizens.
Most of the students concluded Jesus is the answer. Sumin and Eugene want the judges to pray in the courtrooms. “Give all the prisoners Bibles,” Michael and James suggested. Jasminne wants to tell the president, “Jesus would not kill the prisoners. He would try to save them.”
Members of the Anchorage Northside congregation, Alex and Nadia, remarked we need to feed and clothe the homeless and criminals and invite them to church. One student wants to give the GLOW (Giving Light to Our World) tracts to the president.
Haley wrote, “I think what we really can do about this is pray and have faith that God will change murderers' and thieves’ hearts. People usually do crime because of anger or hatred. I think we should listen and find out why they rob or kill and try to fix it.”
Christian education is fostering these reflections. During week of prayer, pastors inspire decisions. Even the judge at the courthouse impacted the students' understanding of justice and living by the law. Daily, students are growing in faith and understanding of how to make their lives right with God in Bible and other classes. Now, they are applying this knowledge to solving society’s problems. The children are putting the pieces together and preparing to serve. Praise God for a Christian school and churches in Anchorage that are active in prison ministry, food banks and the Discover Bible School.