Monday, November 26, 2007

Jesus glows in the dark

It was the day the kids were to get their Christmas presents. Excitement electrified the air in Bill Wilson's bus as he drove around the Bronx, picking up kids for Sunday school.

At one stop, the little girl who clambered up the steps stopped beside him and handed him a ball of newspaper, covered with Scotch tape. "For you," she said.

He took it from her. "Thank you very much," he said, placing it aside and easing the bus back into traffic.

But the little girl kept standing beside him. "Open it," she said. "You have to open it."

"But we're driving," he said.

"You have to open it now."

"It's a woman thing," Bill said when he told us the story in church yesterday. "I knew it wouldn't do to argue. So I pulled that big school bus as far over as I could on that narrow street, took that taped ball and started unwrapping it."

The kids from the bus crowded around as he peeled off the layers of newspaper. Finally he came to the center and a little plastic creche. It was broken and dirty. She'd obviously found it.

"Thank you," Bill said. "That's great." Cars were honking behind him and on the street a couple of traffic cops approached. He made the motion of putting the gift down, but the little girl wasn't done.

"We have to cover it," she said. She took the manger ornament from Bill, cupped it in both hands and reached it up to him. "You cover it."

Bill did.

"Now look at it," the girl said.

Bill peeked under his hand and saw that from the baby Jesus figure came a greenish glow.

Beaming, the little girl said, "See - Jesus glows in the dark!"

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Bringing the light of Jesus to the ghettos of New York is what Bill Wilson has done for the past 25+ years. Now he and his team of 150 staff and 300 volunteers drive 60 buses to minister to 40,000 kids weekly. Metro Ministries is the biggest Sunday School in the world.

Metro Ministries is international. They have Sunday Schools in various places around the world including the garbage dumps of Manila (Philippines). And invitations keep coming in to start more Sunday Schools -- from India to the Gaza strip.

Bill was himself abandoned on the street by his mother when he was 12. "You stay here," she told him that day, as she left him on a street corner. "I'll come back for you."

She never did. Three days later, a man passing by in a truck noticed him. He and his wife gave Bill water and something to eat, then paid the $17.50 it took (in 1961) to send him to camp. Five hours later, Bill was at an Assemblies of God youth camp where his life was turned around.

It's no wonder that he speaks with such conviction about the power of the individual to make a difference. "Can one person make a difference?" was his message to us yesterday.

It's online. Listen to it here.

Bill Wilson:

If you want something you've never had before, you've got to do something you've never done before.

Whatever makes you mad -- that's what God will use you to change.

If you see a need and can fulfill that need, that's the call.

Sidewalk Sunday School.
Check out Metro Ministries video library.


A short video overview of Metro Ministries

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