This past week all of our secondary students got split into different groups working with ministries in Dar and beyond as part of our Service Emphasis Week. I co-led a large team composed of 6th-12th grade HOPAC students that worked in a nearby village with a group of preschool-aged children at a ministry run by a British couple. We ran a very basic VBS all morning, then returned to the school in time to have lunch and help prepare for another VBS that was held on the school campus. This VBS served children from Sala Sala, the very impoverished area located directly behind the school.
I found this to be a very challenging week, as our group had very little time to prepare and many students in my group did not want to participate or serve the community around them. However, my dear, enthusiastic sixth graders and many other students worked themselves to the bone and loved on those kids with a joyful tenderness that must have put a smile on the Father’s face.
A few observations/anecdotes from the week:
- There was a little boy who came to the Sala Sala VBS who said his favorite part of the day was playing basketball. He had never held a basketball before.
- As I was busily pouring cups of water for about 50 demanding children, a little boy thrust his cup of water into my face to drink. He wanted to make sure that I got some water, too.
- I could listen to the gospel story told from the lips of the genuine Christ-followers at HOPAC all day long.
- Excellence is excellence in any culture, but it requires a great deal of creativity to be excellent in a third-world culture.
- You can’t fake love.
- You can’t force someone to serve. It’s an unhuman idea straight from the heart of God. That’s what makes it beautiful.
- A person is about as aware of needs of other human beings as they make up their minds to be.
- God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.
- A lot of the Sala Sala kids brought baby brothers and sisters with them. I got to babysit baby Joycie for a couple hours while I played Octopus with a group of girls. At first, Joyce was completely unresponsive to me, as if she was in a trance. After an hour or so of bouncing her and teasing her, she giggled. Then, she really started laughing. After that, I found a little hand in mine everywhere I went. Sometimes, it’s just the little things.
- I’m so inspired and thankful for missionaries who are serving these kids day in and day out with very little recognition, and I am honored to teach their children. I hope I get the job of polishing their crowns someday.