Many teachers in France are working to bring the Kingdom of God into schools despite great obstacles and there are churches with a strong desire to raise young revivalists in the nation, says South Africa Children’s Pastor, Esme Schmitt, after a 3 week ministry visit to France.
Schmitt, of God Adventure Church, East London, says she visited Nantes, Paris and Toulouse to conduct conferences aimed at teaching churches how to establish children’s churches and to raise children as revivalists. Her sister Leandra Scheepers, and her friends Cecile and Jonathan Murray, joined her in ministering to children’s pastors, leaders and adults working with children.
Presence of God
“During each conference I found an army of men and woman who are hungry for the Presence of God and eager to see His Kingdom established in the hearts of children. In fact, some adults were willing to travel several hours to attend a conference. It was clear that the adults saw their children’s hunger for God and wanted them to truly experience the Presence of God,” says Schmitt.
She says: “In a church in Toulouse I led a group of children into the Presence of God by asking them to lie quietly in the Presence of God and to open up their hearts and minds to hear His voice. It normally takes children a while to get connected with God during this activity. Once they lie down, they fidget for a couple of minutes and always need to have a final chat. This group of kids, though, was so hungry for God, that they quietly looked for a place to lie down and then immediately started to wait on God.
“When this activity was done, I asked the kids to draw or write about their experience. One girl, who comes from a tough family background, had a vision of God’s hand. She heard God saying that He knows about her tough life and that many times in the past He has extended His hand to her. Every time, though, she refused to take it. This time, God was again extending His hand to her. The girl then said that, in the vision, she finally took God’s hand! This vision brought much safety and security to the girl’s heart. Another young girl had such a powerful encounter with God, that during worship time she took a flag and started dancing for at least half an hour. Her heart was so overcome with thankfulness and the Father’s love that she could not stop dancing. According to her mom, she has never danced like this.”
Schmitt says the training she did in France was very practical and children’s pastors and adults working with children learned how to teach children to experience God’s Presence, hear His voice, prophesy, pray for the sick and give words of knowledge.
“What I like most about these revivalist conferences, though, is that it also equips adults to adopt a supernatural lifestyle. During the training one children’s worker experienced her first healing. She has been yearning to see miraculous healing; but felt incompetent to pray for the sick. During the conference she prayed for someone with intense shoulder pain. As she prayed, the pain left immediately. This experience has ignited a bold fire inside of her to pray for the sick,” she says.
Schmitt says that a main focus of her conferences is to teach adults how powerful children are.
“Children can truly be filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit. In Nantes I heard a boy testify about his compassion for people who ride in his train each day. A few days ago he sensed God’s compassion for a specific man sitting close to him. He immediately started to pray for this man, asking for the Presence of God to engulf him. After a few minutes he noticed that the man was picking away tears and it became evident that he was crying. This boy’s prayers have literally touched the heart and spirit of this man,” she says.
House of prayer
Describing a visit to a Nantes house of prayer that has a prayer watch for children during which people pray and intercede for children in the city, Schmitt says: “During the prayer time, I noticed several children running around the premises. I gathered them in a group and we decided to do some fun prophetic actions for the children in the city. Initially we did random acts like scooping love over the children in the city with imaginary spoons and wiggling our toes and blessing children’s feet to bring good news to their friends. Once, though, the children started jumping on a pillow in the shape of a heart (and shouting ‘open heavens’), the atmosphere in the room changed and God’s Presence became tangible. It was so intense, that the musicians in the house of prayer picked up on what the kids were doing and they started to sing an impromptu song about ‘open heavens’. This was such an unforgettable moment of intercession and a perfect example of how powerful children are when they intercede.”
Schmitt also met dedicated Christian teachers in France. She reports: “I have heard many people talk about the darkness in French schools and how Christian teachers struggle in an environment where it is illegal to talk about God (sometimes even to answer a question about Jesus).
“God though, has a good plan for the schools in France. During my conferences, I met many teachers who feel called to bring God’s Kingdom into their classrooms. One French teacher even purposefully moved to one of the worst schools in Paris, to do just that. In Nantes, I found a trainee teacher who is adapting her curriculum to teach Godly principles in a public school. She recently had to teach literature based on morals of incest and the meaninglessness of life. God gave her the idea to rather examine the dreams of each character in the story, and how these dreams were fulfilled. According to the teacher, the children in her class had little hope for their future. They were also struggling academically and had extreme behavioral problems. As the lessons progressed, she could see hope return to their eyes and new healthy behavioral patterns started to develop. For the first time her learners also thanked her for the lessons.”
She concludes: “ As I travelled through France, God gave me a vision of children bringing Heaven to earth in French schools. These children are true revivalists and willing to pay the price of ridicule and rejection. France has a history of revival amongst children. There even was a time when babies prophesied! That well for revival has opened up again. It’s time for the children in France to truly know and experience the Presence God.”