One weekend during my first year of teaching, my phone rang at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I fumbled my way to the receiver and tried to gather my wits enough to answer it. One of my students was on the line. For a brief moment I wondered if this was the call that anyone working with children dreads; had an emergency happened with parents or little brothers or sisters??
Finally my brain kicked in and I realized that she was calling from a spend-the-night party. However this was no crank call. This was an urgently distressed twelve-year-old young woman who was gravely concerned for one of her friends. In their late night discussion, the girls had discovered that one of the friends did not know about Jesus. They were afraid that waking up a parent would get them in huge trouble, so they decided to call their teacher. Yes; I was honored!
Amy insisted that I talk to Gislana immediately. After all, what if something happened and she died in the night? She put Gislana on the phone so that I could tell her all about Jesus. Fatigue (on both our parts) and a slight language barrier made it impossible for me to make sure that she understood what I was saying. I covered the bare-bones basics and asked her to give the phone back to Amy. At that point I promised Amy that I would come over as early as she wanted me to and that we would both talk with Gislana together.
The next morning I was at Amy's house a few minutes before 6 a.m. I made my way through a living room piled high with half-sleeping tween girls, found a chair, turned on a lamp and began. I talked to Gislana about Who God is, who man is, and what Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection. She asked a few questions and when we were done said that she wanted Jesus. We prayed together and I talked a few minutes longer about how to stay in close contact (or "abide") with Jesus. I spent a few minutes with Amy's Mom and a cup of coffee in the kitchen and went home.
In the remaining time I lived in that area, Gislana's parents never did become Christians. However they did allow her to go to church. I got to teach the same group of girls the next year. Periodically they would come in and tell me about their conversations with Gislana. She would always greet them by saying, "Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying? Remember, Miss Reed said that is how you must stay close to Jesus!"
That group of girls would be coming up on 40 by now. Most of them are probably married with children. I find myself at times wondering where they are and how they are doing. I still thank God for allowing me the privilege to be present at that birth, and I still pray that Gislana is abiding with Jesus.