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Life is Short

I began tutoring Louis* at the Variety Boys and Girls Club during the spring of 2016.  What a joy it has been to watch him grow and progress academically, socially and spiritually in the last 1 ½ years!  He didn’t know his multiplication tables in the beginning, and now he knows them almost perfectly.  His writing and spelling have consistently improved.  AND I had the privilege of attending his baptism at his church!  Not only does he attend tutoring faithfully, he has been one of our faithful members of ACC's Bible Club that happens right after tutoring on Tuesday evenings.  He likes to sit in the front row, interacts with the Bible story-teller and often wants to play a character when we act out the story.  

When I started tutoring Louis, Billy, a friend of his would sometimes join us and play math games with us.  Sadly Billy passed away in June of this year from an allergy attack and subsequent heart attack.  His family and friends mourned his passing deeply.  He was a very special boy.  Let me tell you part of his story.  When I first met him, I was always so impressed with his politeness and respect.  Every time I would see him at the club, I’d ask how he was doing and he would respond with such positivity and ask me how I was doing.  He was an excellent student and faithful friend, often advising his friends about how to better handle difficult situations in school and life.  He was also on the Club swim team along with one of our church’s youth.  

When we started up the Bible Club in October of 2016, I began inviting Billy to join us.  He always said thank you, but his swim team practice would often interfere with coming and his family is Muslim.  On June 13, 2017, Billy came to Bible Club.  I was scheduled to tell the Bible story of Paul’s conversion.  I decided to have the kids act out the story.  Billy volunteered to be Paul!  He jumped right in and got into character beautifully.  After the acting ended, I tied up the story and asked the group what saved Paul from his life of murder and sin and Billy raised his hand and proclaimed “Belief in Jesus!”   On Saturday, June 18, Billy died.  The night of his death, he was with the Club swim team at an end of the year party.  He sat with Anna Li, ACC member and mother of Madison, also a member of the swim team.  Anna shared that he told the story of BIble Club earlier that week and how excited he was that he got to play Paul and act out his conversion story.  I am amazed how God in his sovereignty orchestrated these events in Billy’s life, and used us as his instruments to share the Gospel with him.  I can’t help hoping that he believed in Jesus that night, even if his belief was the size of a mustard seed.  

In the wake of this tragic death, the Outreach team reflected on the importance of continuing to preach the gospel to the children of the Club and Astoria.  The Good News must be shared because time is short.  Please consider joining the volunteer team at the Club, as a tutor and/or a Bible Club volunteer.  Email volunteer@astoriachurch.org for more information.

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned.

Andrea Mungo