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Spread the Word
A childhood of Bible learning and growth in Awana prepared Anita Cloud to walk with Christ as an adult – and to instill her love for God and His Word in kids as a volunteer.
Anita Cloud knows what it means to win. When she was in Journey, the Awana Youth Ministries high-school program, her team took first place in the Awana Bible Quizzing competition at Summit, the Awana Youth Ministries national high-school conference. She also went to the national finals in AwanaGames™.
“My junior year (at Summit) is still my most life-changing moment,” Anita said. “The best part was meeting new people and singing songs with them before the different events. We met a team from Texas and were able to really connect with them; we worshiped together and prayed together before the events.”
Hiding God’s Word in her heart
It’s no surprise that her team did so well in Bible Quizzing. Anita learned God’s Word in Awana from preschool through high school. She advanced through all the programs, winning award after award, until she reached the pinnacle of Awana achievement in 12th grade – the Citation Award. This was her reward for spending countless hours attending meetings, working with children, getting involved in the community, completing 10 years of biblically grounded curriculum and learning more than 700 Bible verses.
“Achieving my Citation Award is what still has the greatest impact on me today,” Anita shared. “I still have it hanging up as a reminder to me of all the verses I have hidden in my heart and all the hard work I did. I keep it in sight as encouragement to me to keep going, and it is an award that reminds me of the memories made and of what God has done for me.
Giving back through service
Anita’s gratitude to God is reflected in her service to Him in several Awana ministries. The 24-year-old is a game leader at Rockford (Michigan) Baptist Church. She is also in charge of AwanaGames and Bible Quizzing. In the past, she has served as a Sparks (kindergarten to second-grade) leader and led the church’s Trek (middle-school) and Journey programs. She is also a music teacher at Potter's House Christian School.
“So many people have invested in my life, and I feel it is my responsibility and pleasure to give back to kids,” Anita said. “When I was a child, I didn’t necessarily understand why I was memorizing Scripture, but now that I am older I see how God’s Word works in lives. He uses Scripture to guide me with daily decisions. I get to work with children and teach them about the Word of God, how to work as a team and teach them that God wants our best.
“When I was finishing up my college degree, I had to take a class on Wednesday night and wasn’t able to participate in Awana for the first time in my life. Honestly, I felt like a part of me was missing. I missed playing games with the kids, watching the adults play the games and just being able to show the love of Jesus with kids that don’t see it every day. I vowed to myself that I would never stop serving in the church and that I would do whatever it takes to reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him. That is a motto that I feel we should all live by.”
Training kids to know, love and serve Christ
Anita’s vast knowledge of Scripture is helping her train the kids in her club each week at Awana.
“I work with so many students today who do not know Scripture and can’t even list the books of the Bible!” Anita said. “Through memorizing Scripture, the Lord has brought verses to my mind in my counseling and teaching, in my personal relationships and my everyday life. The Lord guides me through His written Word.
“Also, continuing to work with the Awana program has helped my faith stay strong. The kids in my club help keep me accountable. I am working through the Bible-Based Leader and my Awana kids won’t give me even one hint. I have to know it word perfect every time! It is fun at the end of the year to see their faces when they get their book awards. This program is so rewarding. I don’t feel we will be able to know even a glimpse of the rewards until we reach heaven.”
Anita strongly recommends that parents send their kids to Awana.
“Awana teaches memorizing Scripture – a tool we could all use to fight the evils of this world -- teamwork, discipline and learning about Jesus in fun ways,” Anita said. “I do not know of any other program which impacts children with the gospel of Christ at such a pivotal age. Awana is exponentially expanding the kingdom of God across the world, and I have the pleasure of being a part of that.”