It was 26th May 2022. Matthew had just returned from school while I received a WhatsApp message from Ms. Faith regarding Audio Bible Contest (ABC) 2.0. I read it out to him and he immediately jumped in excitement saying he wanted to take part. Last year, Matthew had participated and placed third in the finals in his age category. My mind raced back to the difficult days of making him carve out time to prepare for ABC 1.0. Yet, I didn’t want to quench his desire so I agreed but reminded him to work for it. We prayed that God’s Word be implanted in his heart while he prepares for the contest, registered for the contest and notified Ms. Faith within the next half an hour.
Though we planned Luke’s bible study for June holidays, we could barely complete a few chapters. When schools reopened, we sincerely integrated this study in our morning devotion as the contest was drawing near and was able to cover the whole book. During these preparations, we were richly blessed by the prayers recorded in Luke, the beatitudes, the miracles of Jesus and His compassion towards people. It strengthened our faith in Him and our prayers became more Word-centred. The letter to the Philippians was embedded with precepts of Christian living and built us more. Praise be to God!!
Participating on the day of ABC finals was a memorable experience. To see participants from 5 different countries and singing different translations of the worship song, praising God, it was like a prelude to Heavenly Worship of the saved, from every tongue and every nation. We could see the intricate planning and hard work of the organisers and volunteers behind the scenes- All done for the love of God and reaching out to children at this tender age amidst a worldly generation.
Matthew didn’t get placed in the Top 5 of the Finals of ABC 2.0. I was gently prompted in my mind, that this contest was much more than winning. It was a little difficult to accept that he lost by a fraction of a second and came in sixth. The following Sunday, we gave thanksgiving at the Church with a rejoicing heart for everything: the ability, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, memory power, as all providence comes from Him. A few days later, we were informed that they were awarding a winning prize to Matthew and organiser, Ms. Faith shared these beautiful verses from Psalm 37: 5-7: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him. And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light. And your justice as the noon day.”
His ways and thoughts are higher and He blesses His loved ones and His Faithful ones. God works in mysterious ways and beyond our comprehension to renew and to transform us. “His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding ev’ry hour. The bud may have a bitter taste but sweet will be the flow’r” - William Cowper (1774)
I thank God for this wonderful initiative by “Faith Comes By Hearing Asia” who have ministered to the children and their families by organising this contest to sow God’s Word into the heart of these young ones. We were blessed through this journey! Closing with one of Matthew’s favourite verses which has become his prayer: “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Phil 2:15.
Later on, Matthew was overjoyed to learn that the grand prize was a headset as that was what he had wanted to get from his dad. 😀😀
Mrs. Grace Tabitha Manikandan
(Mother of Matthew Cornelius M., ABC 2.0 Contestant from Singapore)
From right: Matthew, Matthew’s mother, older brother and father.