The Least Likely Listener

In high school, I was part of the Vacation Bible School team during my church’s missions trip to Latvia. In America, I could do VBS backward, forward, and practically in my sleep. However, I didn’t know how VBS would work in another country since the children spoke a different language and we had to use a translator.

I could tell so many stories from that trip, but I’ll tell you about Olaf. Olaf was the cutest kid there ever was. He was three years old—really too young for our VBS camp—and he was a mess. He could ransack an entire classroom in less than a minute, and he loved to wrestle with anyone and everyone.

We quickly realized that we needed someone on “Olaf duty” almost all the time. We kept Olaf with the other children as long as possible, but if he became too distracting, we had to take him to a separate room.

Although we loved this adorable child, he did present a barrier to the effectiveness of our VBS “system.” Was he even old enough to understand what was going on?

On the second day of VBS, the translator started the day by asking the children what they remembered from yesterday’s Bible story. Of all children, Olaf raised his hand and began babbling nonstop in Latvian.

Several of our church members exchanged glances with each other, and I knew we were all thinking the same thing: What in the world could he be talking about?

Our translator later told us that Olaf had retold the story of creation in great detail. He had listened to the Bible story and remembered it with incredible accuracy. My group was astounded. Olaf knew the Bible story better than anyone!

Olaf taught me to never underestimate God and His ability to reach those who need to hear His Word. Whenever we question whether our missions efforts are making a difference, we must remember that God works in ways we cannot see. We plant the seed, and He will reap the harvest.



Rachel Sinclair is a student at Samford University and loves to share people’s stories. Contact her at






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