I stepped off the boat into a sea of smiling faces; children, whom upon my offer of a simple high five, couldn’t help but erupt into a chorus of giggles. By the time I walked from the boat to the house we were staying at in this small village, we had a flock of beautiful smiling, laughing children following us, absolutely intrigued by the “white giants” that had just stepped into their village.
“Hallo! Hallo!” They echoed the only English word they knew. I couldn’t help but yell an excited “Hello!” back. These children were filled with such joy.
We spent quite a bit of time just looking at each other. 25 or so smiling faces looking up at me, some with missing teeth. While I have been here for 3 weeks, my knowledge of their language is still limited. It didn’t really matter, I was speechless anyway.
“Bernyani!” I finally said. “Let’s sing!” I reached far back into my memory to recall some fun children’s songs I had learned through the years made up predominantly of motions. Words were not something we had in common, all communication would have to be nonverbal. As I jumped up and down, stuck my hands in my ears, and spun around like a total goofball, the children followed my every move.
After about 45 minutes of this, I finally collapsed on the ground, exhausted. I thought the children may just let me rest for a minute, but I was wrong. Before I knew it, I had a swarm of children who couldn’t stop laughing as they also collapsed on the grass next to me.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with celebrities. They have so much influence, and I feel like a lot of them blow it. They could do a lot of good with their influence. I know it’s unfair, but I frequently find myself casting judgment on them.
Standing in that village, amongst those children, it dawned on me that I was suddenly that person with great influence. Those kids wouldn’t have known me from Angelina Jolie. And whatever I did, wherever I went, they would follow. What a responsibility!
Ephesians 5 lingered in my head:
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us.”
Just as those kids imitated my every move, we are instructed to be imitators of God. It was convicting to me just how much I could learn from these children.
Recap & Prayer Requests
What an incredible month it has been since my arrival! Thank you all for your prayers and support. I have spent much of this month in language school, but I have also been given the privilege of teaching a class for 9th graders at the school for Southeast Asian children. Here are some prayer requests:
- Teaching! This is my first year as a teacher, so please pray for guidance, inspiration and creativity through my lesson planning
- Language learning: this is a key to my ministry here, so please pray for perseverance and that it would come fairly quickly
- The coming school year: please pray for the students and the families who are a part of our school’s family as we enter into this new school year
- Month of Fasting: This month is the month of fasting for the majority religion in the area. Please pray for opportunities and guidance through this delicate time
I appreciate your prayers, I sure feel them.