Children of the Hope: GCOWE's Youngest Delegate Pray for the World

Wide-eyed and eager, 40 children are ready to take on the world.

They dance and sing, they shout "Alleluia" as easily as they toss one another a huge soft ball that represents the earth.

Their art in progress, a huge watercolor painting of the children of the world, hangs in the Halleluia Church. And wherever the children go--hiking up paths at a hillside retreat center, visiting the local McDonald's, or performing on the front platform at Love Hall, they're apt to draw smiles from the older folks.

When the members of the International Children's Prayer Track drop to their knees, God shows up: bringing healing and hope.

GCOWE's youngest delegates are a remarkable group, says their leader Esther Ilnisky. Hailing from all four hemispheres, they come at the invitation of Rev. Luis Bush and Dr. Peter Wagner, who asked Ilnisky two years ago to ask children to come. These children were invited, says Ilnisky, because they already demonstrated an active prayer life. And already, they've left their mark.

The children lined the steps outside the sanctuary at the Kwang Lim Center Friday, debriefing.

"What exciting things has God taught you today?" asked Ilnisky, a woman who learned to pray as soon as she could talk and is now is even more convinced that children's prayers are keys to world evangelism.

Hands shot up and answers flew:

"Through our prayers, we've been interceding for kids all over the world," a girl of about 12 said.

"We learned not to cut down people, but accept everybody," offered another girl.

"We've really accomplished a lot in destroying the plans of the devil," said one boy.

A chorus of "YES" erupts from the group.

On a more somber note, another girl says, "There are so many children who have no hope. We need to get out there more and pray." For possibly all of these children, just getting to Korea has been miraculous.

Fourteen-year-old Volnei Fiho's heart had been set toward children in Brazil and throughout the world long before he first heard about GCOWE. Daily he asked God to send him to the consultation.

About the same time, Ilnisky came to Argentina to speak at a service of the Spanish Track of AD2000 & Beyond Movement.

"We need a child from Brazil to come to GCOWE," she said.

Ilnisky's interpreter knew Volnei's desire to reach the world's children with the Gospel.

Volnei's voice was excited and confident as he spoke about GCOWE:

"The best thing is to be among the children and the people of the Lord. Especially children." As Volnei spoke, he placed a hand on the shoulder of a boy from across the world, 12-year-old Hayden Douglas, who lives in Australia. Hayden had been crying. Many of the children had. They had just returned from a lovely hike up a trail flanked by statues depicting Christ's life and sufferings.

They'd hunted for "treasure," a series of clues tied to the Christian's spiritual armor.

Along the trail, the spiritual significance of this holy place hit. Then the statue of the crucified Christ came into view.

"I always cry when I see Jesus on the cross," Hayden said. "We're not worthy, and He died the worst death for us."

Through the tears, through the laughter, through the hugs, the children are learning to care for each other, for other conferees, and for the whole world. As intercessors in their own right, the children have had opportunities to be conduits of God's healing and love.

Yesterday, their 1 p.m. prayer meeting lasted until 4:30 p.m., as they asked God to stop a virus which was killing children in Africa. Later, they knelt in clusters, interceding on behalf of those who've never heard the Gospel. They even laid hands on the older intercessors and felt God move within their midst.

If you ask these young delegates what they'll remember about GCOWE long after they return home, chances are they won't say McDonald's, or even the songs they sing or the games they play.

They'll remember the prayer, and the power they have, even as children, to touch the world with Christ' love.

"I'll remember the prayer," says 10-year-old Sara Chu of Malaysia. "The time we pray for people. Sometimes we pray for the countries and for the children."

Hayden, too, will remember the prayer.

"God is so mighty, and so awesome. And prayer moves mountains."

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