One of the most important parts of these workshops we do, is the opportunity we have to gather our kids together. Missionary kids don’t have many opportunities to have something created just for them. Most of what they participate in life they are trying to adjust to and are the outsider in. Although it is true that kids adapt easier than adults, it still takes work and they still always stick out. Our kids are comfortable here, but are still different. Even in America where they connect easier, they are still have holes in culture that make relationships and life hard at times. Yet when they gather with other missionary kids there is often a quick acceptance and connection. Many of these kids from our mission can go years without seeing other kids from our mission, so you can understand a little how it is so amazing when they gather together.
I hugely value taking advantage of these times that we have our kids together to not just let them play, but to invest in them and their walks with the Lord. With that in mind we seek to put together a program that will allow them to play, be loved on and grow in their relationship with the Lord. So you can imagine my heart break when we had been working on a plan all year for this program and then about 2 months before hand it began to fall apart. It was one of those moments when that quite voice asked “Do you trust me?” There are often times when I have no idea what what God is doing, but I know that he is still there and if he is still there than he will pick up the broken pieces and still some how make it beautiful.
Being only 2 months from the workshop, I realized that I needed to step up and be willing to sacrifice to make this happen if I really believed in the importance of it. I have never really seen myself in this type of role, but I have learned that when God asks you to do something, he somehow puts it together. He began working immediately. I got an email from 2 women in Germany who were interested in coming to help. I then got an email from a church in the states wanting to send stuff over and wanting to know what we needed. I also quickly had a theme and teaching topics laid on my heart. I asked a missionary couple who lives near us to help as the wife, Amy, used to teach elementary school art. The pieces all began to fall together. This church sent over all we needed for the art projects and others gave to help with what we needed to buy here. I put together an outline for the teaching, the couple from here worked on art and 2 from Germany took on games.
All the details were coming together nicely, with only a little stressing out here and there. Then the Saturday before we head down to the mission to get the rooms set up for the program. We had supplies sent over, but were also planning to use some from the supplies left over from the last time. When we get to the mission and look for the totes they are no where to be found. The stress of it all comes crashing down. It was a moment of breaking. Now just two days before, what could we do? God grabbed me again and calmed me down. I sit down with Amy and we look through what we absolutely needed from the totes. We had ordered extra of some things and so when it came down to it with a few purchases we would be fine.
Yet God wasn’t done working on me. Monday comes and we are going with our program. All is going well. We had plans put in place if it rained and all was organized and prepared ahead of time. Then 2 hours into the morning riots start on the corner of the street and so tear gas is used to stop the riots. So much is used that even stepping outside caused immediate burning in your eyes. Somehow I didn’t plan for that in the possible events. All the kids were now gathered together inside for the rest of the morning. We sang songs multiple times, read books, adjusted teaching and somehow it all worked out. I left the days exhausted, but also with renewed faith. Knowing, now, that if God could get me through all of the unexpected bumps so far, no other bump would be too much for him. God was using this time to remind me that following in faith, does not lead you on a smooth road, but it does provide someone to carry you through all the bumps in the road.
Praise God, the week with the kids went great! The kids enjoyed it so much and and connect with old and new friends. Each one of them is so precious to me and it was such a blessing to love on for this short time. I pray that God spoke to each of their hearts during this time to help draw them closer to him. Perhaps all together we learned more of what it is to follow in faith.
More pictures from the week to come…