Reuben Chong is an eight-year-old boy with a bold plan for helping his friends at school. But Reuben’s concern goes much further than sharing playground activities or what’s in his lunchbox. He wants them to share in a future with God, so last year, in Terms 3 and 4, he started a lunch-time Bible study group.
“I was reading the Book of Revelation and I was thinking about how bad it would be to be in hell, separated from God,” says Reuben, from the NSW Central Coast holiday house he is enjoying with his family.
“I didn’t want people to experience that.”
Reuben’s Bible reading group has attracted up to six members – as well as the support and mentoring of Ray and Sandy Galea, the lead pastor and children’s pastor at MBM Rooty Hill (Reuben’s church, in western Sydney). Last Sunday, Ray and his wife Sandy encouraged Reuben and gave him advice about how to overcome some teething issues.
“He told me to call it ‘Bible and Chips’ – and you bring a packet of chips to share.” – Reuben Chong
“I told them that not many people were coming,” says Reuben, who has had to deal with fluctuating membership and other logistical issues.
“Ray told me to call it another name. Instead of ‘Bible reading’, he told me to call it ‘Bible and Chips’ – and you bring a packet of chips to share.”
Heading into year four in 2017, Reuben was given $100 by the Galeas, to buy Bibles for his Bible group. Keen to implement the advice given by his church leaders, Reuben is straightforward about whether other kids should follow his lead.
“A lot of other kids just want to play but they can probably do the same thing I did. I could help them start it, but really they just need to trust in God.”
“Kids are incredible servants of God and [they show] how God can use anybody.” – Steve Chong
Reuben’s dad is Steve Chong, a prominent Christian leader who started the well-known RICE movement. While Steve and his wife Naomi are proud of Reuben’s Bible study group, Steve is quick to point out that he had nothing to do with it. Instead, Steve was pleasantly shocked when Reuben told him about how God had answered his prayers.
Reuben asked Steve: “How did you start RICE?”
Steve told him that when he was 18, he prayed, “God use me however you want.”
Inspired by Steve’s personal story of praying this, Reuben did the same thing that night – but at eight years old. While Steve was surprised next morning to find Reuben eating a sandwich in the garden, in a reflective mood, he was more amazed by Reuben’s report that the night before, God had responded to his prayer by suggesting he start a Bible reading group.
“He’s just a little evangelist,” says Steve. “Kids are incredible servants of God and [they show] how God can use anybody.”More