To build communities where children are welcome, according to Matthew 18:5, is the Lord’s dream for children: ‘He who receives such a child in My name receives Me’.
It is also our dream for the children of this world. I want to invite you to dream with God and us that children around the world will be received in His Name. Petra Institute is a movement that inspires and equips leaders around the world to look at children with new eyes – as the Lord sees children. We can look back on 31 years of growth and development, and we are deeply grateful to know that He has brought us this far. Without His guidance and provision, this would be impossible. And now, a new era is beginning – to grow the ministry further and make an increasing impact in communities around the world.
To make this possible, Petra Institute has made two decisive decisions over the past few years. The first decision was to decentralise from the White River campus, where most staff work. The Lord led various staff members to different places in South Africa and abroad. This excites us as we are now involved in many other communities where we live and work.
The Lord also prepared us for the second big decision we had to make. Our focus that is reflected in our name – Petra Institute for Child Ministry – has shifted from the individual children to children in their communities, as our slogan now says: Building communities where children are welcome. Children are part of families and communities that influence them – positively or negatively. In Matthew 18:5 it starts small – with one person making a child feel welcome, loved and valued – and from there it can spread to entire communities so that children can be welcome there as well.
Please dream with us that communities worldwide will become places where children are welcomed.
The Covid-19 pandemic prevented us from doing contact training. Initially, we used this time to refine all our training manuals. We could also spend time with the Lord seeking His will for this time, as well as the way forward.
But this has led us to a third major decision, namely to use online training in the current circumstances because we are not currently able to do contact training, which is our preferred method of training. Therefore, we will continue to do contact training where possible, but in the future, we will definitely use online training as well. Through direct online training, we have succeeded in training leaders in South Africa, the DRC and Mongolia. It is still possible to build good relationships with participants, and establish our training and ministry values, such as Christ-centered, relationship-oriented, respect for all people, facilitating, and experiential learning, etc.
Please pray for wisdom as we plan our schedules for 2021 so we can go where the Lord is leading us.
In this new era, I am excited to walk this path with all of you, and I believe the Lord will lead us to continue to build communities where children are welcome. Thank you for dreaming with us!