Have you ever seen or experienced the love of Jesus in someone’s life that blew your mind? I have. I saw it in Petrus, a 19 year-old student at Mustard Seed’s TransformNation leadership and teacher training program. Inspired in part by Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s new president, who grew up in poverty and by the apostle Paul’s joy in sharing the Gospel, Petrus wants to be God’s teacher, a voice of hope, living by faith and modeling Jesus’ life.
He’s a lot like other university students: sometimes stressed, busy with homework, loves to laugh and joke around, has a bottomless stomach, occasionally sleeps in, hands assignments in at the last minute, hangs out with friends, and plays soccer with his buddies. But Petrus does something in his spare time that opens my eyes; it helps me see God’s love in a new light. Every Tuesday and Saturday Petrus meets up with three children aged 8-12 from a nearby village. They bring their abacuses and workbooks, and Petrus gives them an hour or two of personalized instruction.
Petrus got to know them through their aunt. He says they remind him of his nephews and nieces. He loves to see kids smile, but knew there were negative influences in children’s lives; adults were killing their creativity and stealing their joy. He decided to help kids find enjoyment in life and teach them how to learn. They’re of the majority faith but getting tutoring for their children overcame their parents’ reluctance.
Petrus starts with the abacus to teach math, then expands to include writing and English. And they get homework! His students are poor. Their home is small. Their parents get by working as night guards, parking attendants, street vendors, or doing laundry. Now, one wants to be a pilot and the other two want to be chefs.
When Petrus is tired and has lots of his own homework it can be hard to teach his students. And instead of buying books to feed his own love of reading, Petrus uses money his mother sends him to buy supplies for his students. He is committed to them and is rewarded by their widening smiles and joy of learning.
Some have told Petrus he’s not ready to teach, it will tire him out and distract him from his studies. But others say it’s good training and he should leave the results up to God.
What is love?
New Testament love means wanting the best for the other; it’s about leaving our comfort zone to bring others to Christ. It’s giving all we own and have so others grow in Christ. It’s when our hearts overflow with joy as we give to others and serve them.
Petrus’ example spurs me on to let others see Christ’s love flowing from me.
Thanks to Mr. S., who befriended Petrus while living in Southeast Asia, for sharing this story.