Demilitarized Zones: The Most Important Lesson I’ve Ever Learned
By: P Richardson
“With almost three decades as an educator, and with 15 years as the field director for Mustard Seed, what is the single most important lesson you have learned?”
It was the best question I had been asked in a long time, and I had the answer pegged without blinking. “Our planet is engaged in a global struggle between the kingdom of light and kingdom of darkness. At the center of this savage war is the violent battle for children. This is what I call World War III. Satan has one thing on his to-do list, and that is to lay waste the hearts, minds and souls of our young.”
In the early years, I could not grasp this reality with the clarity I now have. I experienced a fairly decent childhood, growing up in a loving home. Intrinsically I believed that the majority of kids on earth grow up much like I did. I felt that all kids really need is a good teacher. Then, slowly, the ominous truth began to sink in, and it was almost too bizarre to accept. There are vast numbers of boys and girls in our schools who are sexually abused by the time they graduate primary school. The shocking number of broken homes, devastated marriages, abandoned and neglected children. Parents who routinely scream at their children, “You are so STUPID!” “You are WORTHLESS!” And of these, so many from Christian families.
Satan has one goal, and that is to spite God by destroying what is most precious to Him. What is most precious to God? People. All people, regardless of age. To destroy us, Satan takes the path of least resistance. He picks off kids, one by one. After he has dispatched with one child, he removes his claws from a punctured heart and moves on in search of the next child. Wounded and scarred for life, the child grows up, living what appears to be a normal life. Yet throughout his days, he will drown in anxiety and fear, struggling to heal from the battleground that was his childhood, to his last breath.
Mustard Seed schools and children’s homes are gardens of life where hearts are healed and minds grow strong in the fertile soil of God’s word and his love. They are demilitarized zones, places where loving and caring teachers understand what’s really going on, and are trained and equipped to advance against enemy lines.
Southeast Asia’s most admired Christian counselor, a seminary professor and mentor whom I call “the James Dobson of Southeast Asia,” once told me something I will never forget. “Paul, I spend my life trying to fix broken men and women. You spend your life fixing children before they are broken.”