When she and a few other moms decided to start Tween Time, a Bible study for the fourth-grade girls in their neighborhood, Amelia Dansby admits that she was skeptical and full of doubts.
It would be time-consuming.
There were so many details to work out.
Would other parents have objections?
Would anybody even come?
Despite her concerns, Amelia sensed that God was calling her to be salt and light in her neighborhood, and she decided to trust Him with the details. "He is in the business of getting the good news out to everyone, and He was going to make all those barriers disappear," she says.
The Tween Time girls started gathering for pool parties in the summer of 2017, and then they began to meet every other Monday to study the Bible once the school year was underway. Although Amelia feared that only the leaders' daughters and a few close friends would show up, the meetings consistently drew 25 girls, and within a few short months, she could see that God was doing something big.
"One of my fears was that it was just going to die out—that it would lose the momentum and energy and that the girls weren't going to keep liking it," Amelia recalls. "But God, in His goodness, drew them back to it every week."
Amelia taught each week about the fruits of the Spirit, and for many of the girls, it was the first time they heard truths from Scripture. "Even if He was not drawing them yet to Himself in their hearts, He was drawing them back to hear the good news over and over and over."
Knowing that a lot of the girls came from families that did not attend church and may not have heard the gospel message, Amelia and the other Tween Time leaders decided to host a spring retreat, not only for the girls, but for their moms as well. “My hope was to preach the gospel. The girls had been hearing about Jesus for about seven months, and it was time to tell the moms about Jesus," she remembers. Again, Amelia wrestled with doubts and insecurities, wondering how the moms would respond to the idea of a retreat and if they would come at all.
Trusting that God would continue to show His faithfulness, the Tween Time leaders put down a deposit at the retreat location for 20 people to attend. The retreat had 17 moms and 18 daughters in attendance, and Amelia joyfully remembers, “Again, God totally blew us away.”
With the success of the first year of Tween Time, the girls continued to meet for another year, growing in community with one another and continuing to hear about Jesus from the Word. At the last Tween Time meeting, after two years together, Amelia and the other leaders presented each girl with a new Bible. "I'm hopeful that when their hearts are far from the Lord, they'll see it on their shelf and remember that God's Word is true and that everything that Jesus said is true," Amelia shares.
Over the past two years, God filled Amelia with a deep and genuine love for the girls in the group, and she also saw fruit in her relationships with some of the girls' moms. Through reading the parable of the talents, God reminded Amelia that faithfulness to the things He calls us to does not require any special skills, supplies, or training, but rather, simple obedience with what we have.
She says of the experience with her fellow leaders, "God had given me and these other moms a few talents—nothing amazing, not a huge, deep pocket of talents—but we each had these few, little talents. We committed to using them for Tween Time, for His glory, and He gave us a great return."