Many years ago I met a friend that had escaped East Germany after the war. He emigrated to U.S., met a delightful Southern Belle and fell in love. She was a faithful church goer, so before she would accept his advances she asked about his faith. He answered proudly “I am a Lutheran” to which she answered “Oh, is that’s like the Catholics?” This didn’t sit well with him, but he loved her very much, so he promised to go to church with her anyhow. He liked the people very much and felt welcome, so he became a faithful church-goer, but kept his faith to himself. They married, got children, brought them to church, but when the church started an Awana program he drew the line. “No Awana for my children! It’s indoctrination! Their scarves reminds me of my childhood’s Hitler-youth“. This saddened his wife, but being a loyal wife, she submitted and let the children join the Boy and Girl Scouts. This went on for years, but one time taking his daughter and two of her girl friends home after the scout meeting he happened to listen to what they were saying to each other about the meeting and many other things. The next Wednesday he came with his whole family and exclaimed “Awana, here we come” to the delight of his wife and children, since that’s where their real friends were, and this experience was also the catalyst for his salvation.
This was 35 years ago, and Awana is still going strong. The name Awana comes from 2 Timothy 2:15 Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed and their mission statement is: God is changing the world through the ministry of Awana by equipping leaders to reach kids with the gospel and engaging them in long-term discipleship.