Loving on Spiderman
We started off our time together with singing! Our team learned a few songs in Creole, and we also taught them a couple songs in English. We sang some classics like “Deep and Wide,” “I’ve Got the Joy Joy Joy,” and “Yes Jesus Loves Me.” Our translators (Waldring and Johnson) are AWESOME and were so great at helping us lead and engage the kids. Then we split up into the craft group and the game group. I am definitely not a crafty person, but I was in the crafts group. You should know that I am a hardcore perfectionist. This is not good for mission trip crafts. Also, as a teacher, I get serious anxiety when kid’s activities are not ordered and structured. This is also not good for mission trip crafts. However, these kids were fairly well behaved, and it went well overall. They got a little antsy towards the end, but it was definitely a pleasant surprise at how well they followed instructions!
Once crafts/games were done we had FREE TIME, which is that terrifying moment when we open the tub of soccer balls, toys, and BUBBLES! Oh the bubbles. Kids go nuts for them. I think I saw one kid drinking some. Free time is chaotic, but it’s nice to get a chance to actually talk to kids and play with them individually, rather than just be giving craft instructions or helping to make something. Our free time didn’t last very long, and most of it was spent keeping kids from fighting over who gets to hold the bubbles. We had a quick lunch where I prayed about my attitude. Not that I had a bad attitude, but just that I was disappointed we didn’t have more quality time with kids. I’d been there over 3 hours and hadn’t had a single conversation or personal interaction with a child because I was always busy leading songs, tearing tape, passing out beads, and so on.
When lunchtime was over, we set out on a few more home visits. Within minutes God was answering my prayer. A little boy in a Spiderman shirt was staring at us. He had been in our craft group, and I recognized him because he was the most quiet, well-behaved child in the entire bunch. I also had noticed that he looked like he might have a mental disability. The other kids would push him out of the way (to get to the bubbles) and he would just bounce off and seem to not even notice. When I got a good look at his eyes, it was as if he never really focused on me or anything else. But he did make a very nice craft with little help, so he seems to be able to follow instructions well. I invited him to walk with me and he did, but he never spoke or tried to hold my hand. I put my hand on his shoulder and rubbed his back. I asked him his name in Creole, but he just stared and never answered. It seemed like he really didn’t care any more about me than he did the stock market. But as we walked on, I noticed him maneuvering around others to stand beside me. Even though he didn’t hold my hand, he would lean against me or look back to make sure I was there. Although there was no verbal communication, this exchange made my heart full. After 3 hours of VBS activities in the morning, I can’t say I felt like I had made much of an impact in any individual child’s life. But for this little boy who got pushed around and ignored by everyone, I felt like I might have made just a miniscule difference.
There were several other children that followed us around on our home visits, holding our hands and hopping over mud puddles with us. We got back to the church and had some time to wait for our van to pick us up. This is when God answered my prayer even more. We had about 30 minutes to just sit and be with kids. No games, no crafts, and no bubbles (thank goodness). Just us. My little Spiderman was sitting next to me, quiet as always. Meanwhile, about 7 girls, ages 7-14, were just chattering away in Creole. I got our fantastic translator Johnson to help me out and we just sat and chatted while one of the girls did my hair. Since she didn’t have a brush, she used a popsicle stick which, believe it or not, doesn’t work so well. I cherished that time spent just waiting for the bus with my quiet Spiderman and chatterbox girls.
Thank you to those of you who are praying for me and my team! We definitely felt your prayers today as things went smoothly with VBS. Tomorrow, we will do a medical clinic. That will be a new experience for me, so I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve heard a lot about them and how they are pretty chaotic, so please pray that we will be able to see as many people as possible and that God would move there tomorrow.