The squeals of laughter and songs of joy drifting from the other side of the gate intrigued Qia, but she was too frightened to pass through the entrance and discover their source. She could only summon enough courage to peer through the small gate, her view partially blocked. When the woman inside noticed Qia and called out to her, inviting her to come inside, Qia quickly ran away.
Still, Qia returned to her watch post each Sunday, her curiosity growing.
“If you want to attend the Sunday school, you are welcome to join with all your friends,” encouraged the woman. What would happen if Qia finally accepted the teacher’s invitation?
One day she could no longer resist the temptation. For the first time, Qia passed through the gate and found herself welcomed into the Sunday school program of a local Gospel for Asia (GFA) church. She discovered that the teacher who had so kindly invited her time and time again was named Saar, and she learned the words to the joyous songs she’d heard from the other side of the gate. Qia heard about a mighty God who tells His people to “fear not.” After that first visit, Qia began to regularly attend Sunday school.
But there was a reason it had taken her so long to walk through that gate.
Defined by Fear
For a long time, Qia had lived in fear—fear of doing anything risky and fear of what her family would think. After Qia lost her parents at a young age, her grandparents took care of her. Both of them devoutly practiced their traditional religion, and Qia worried they would not want her to attend Sunday school.
Qia’s suspicions were soon confirmed. “The church belongs to Christians and not to us,” said Qia’s disapproving grandmother. She repeatedly came to take Qia out of the class, sometimes harshly scolding her in front of the teacher and the other children.
Still, the joy Qia experienced as she learned about God was a balm to her fearful soul. She couldn’t stop telling her friends what she learned during Sunday school. Even when her grandparents forbade her to attend, Qia found ways to make it to the services.
Growing Bold as a Lion
Saar was amazed at the newfound boldness of the girl who had previously watched fearfully from outside the gate. Saar began to pray earnestly that Qia’s grandparents would give her permission to attend Sunday school.
God heard Saar’s prayers. A few months later, Qia’s grandparents surprisingly allowed her to attend church freely, without the threat of being scolded and dragged home.
Qia flourished, often winning games and drawing competitions. And she continued to tell her friends about God, bringing many of them with her to church.
The young girl surprised her grandparents with the growth she’d experienced since beginning to attend Sunday school. Qia was no longer their fearful little girl. Instead, she was now bold and courageous, reciting poems and singing songs in front of her class!
Qia has been an encouragement to many in her community. For her teacher and church community, she has provided inspiration to pray for more people to learn about God. With her friends, she has shared life-changing lessons. With her grandparents, she has shared courage and joy.
From one persistent invitation, timidly accepted, a fearful girl grew into a courageous daughter of God, positively impacting her entire community.