We’ve had an incredible week here at the GLA Toddler House with Hillcrest Team putting on a wonderful Vacation Bible School program. In the past when we have VBS teams come to do a program only our children are in attendance. However this year with half the number of kids living at the Toddler House we opened the doors to the community. Joyce and I know many families in neighborhood. And on Friday Joyce walked around and personally invited those kids whom we thought could benefit most. Because school was in recess since the earthquake (even for schools up here on the mountain) until April, classes are running through to September. This was a blessing in disguise, because most of the kids we know are in class, it opened up the door for the less fortunate kids whose families cannot afford to put them in school to come in and not feel embarrassed or intimidated, by the more well off children. These families are usually, though not always, the ones whose kids lack in everything from enough parent attention to not even getting to leave their neighborhood once and a while, or to get a special treat. Often times these are the kids who don’t attend church because their families cannot afford something nice enough to dress them in so they can go. So these kids this week got to experience a program that they will remember for years to come if not for the rest of their lives. We hope that this week may have opened the door to further ministering to them.
Monday morning dawned with great enthusiasm, as we eagerly waited to see who of the neighbors would participate. At 9am when the program began we only had 7 children above that of our 20.. Slowly a few more trickled in. Those who did attend Monday spread the word and we slowly grew. By Friday children were arriving at 7 AM and we had seen 18 different children, ranging from 4 to 15 years old, come for several days. One of these little ones was 4 year old Charles. Charles arrived the first day with his aunt. She was much more excited them him, but with a somewhat skeptical look on his face he walked through the gate and took a seat in a little plastic chair near the end of the yard. He responded to the questions I asked him in a small voice without making eye contact. He did not want to go home, but stayed in that red chair most of the morning every once in awhile checking on what was going on. Joyce and I walked him home after the program and talked to his aunt about the possibility of him being too young to be with strangers all morning. So Tuesday when he didn’t show up we were not surprised. Wednesday his father brought him early in the morning, excited that his son should attend. However with no amount of coaxing could Sonson or myself get Charles to come in. So he went home with dad only to return 20 minutes later with his cousin… and came in. He returned to his red chair and sat for half the morning. As the days went on Charles slowly warmed up. And today our last day he “Wowed” us when his turn came to hit the piñata and he jumped up, grabbed the stick, and beat that paper-mache fish with all his might! That was all it took. After the piñata he jabbered and chattered and played and teased.
One day the kids learned about the “Parable of the Lost Coin” in Luke chapter 15. That day in craft the kids made a purse and each received a plastic gold coin. Later that day Minoucar was outside playing with her purse. She said to Joyce, “I am going to hide my coin .” Then she proceeded to take her coin and hide it behind a block near the slide. Seconds later she pulled it out triumphantly and declared, “Look, Joyce, I found my coin just like the person in the Bible Story!” We will never know how much of an effect the lessons these kids learned this week will have on them now and in the future. But we are thankful for the Hillcrest team and their willingness to come down and bring the parables Jesus taught to life for these kids in a fun and memorable way. Endy asked me today, “Is it over?” And I had told him, “Yes, until next year.” His face fell, and I know that he was thinking as we all were, that we are not ready for this amazing week to be over yet.
Posted on Fri, July 16, 2010