HEAVY LIFTERS

…which end will you lift on?

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

IRONY

It’s funny how life is.  With just a little time (and a lot of prayer), things can change … drastically.

Many friends have been asking me how working with the African kids on Sunday nights is going.  I’m glad you asked.  Funny story, this.

Last Sunday night, I showed up at the usual time to get the room ready for the lesson.  An elder’s wife  came in and told me that a couple from another church would be arriving to teach the kids.  Apparently, these people come once a month to minister to the children.

Even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I would have been any of the following:  relieved, thrilled, grateful, wildly happy.  Instead, I was … jealous.   Jealous!

Isn’t that weird?  When this couple came, I told them who I was and what I was doing, and that I’d just stay in the background and help if they needed it.   Secretly (but not so secretly anymore, I suppose) I was glad when one little girl only wanted ME to hold her, and two other kids only wanted to sit by me.  I had my little posse around me.  Isn’t that petty of me?   Hey, what can I say?  I love those kids, and I felt like strangers were swooping in to “steal” them from me.  That’s not what they did; that’s just how I felt:  protective.

As I reflected afterward on my time with the kids and my reaction to outside help, I realized how much the Lord has taught me.  Seriously, if you know me, you know that I don’t even really care for little kids that much.  Or rather, I didn’t care for little kids – until now.  Now I’m pretty crazy about these guys.

My complete turnaround in just this one little area of my life shows how powerful prayer is.  I prayed that God would help me to love these kids, thinking I’d get enough “love” to get me through three hours every Sunday.  But look at what I got!  Love overflowing.

Just think:  we say we can’t change, or can’t break a habit, or whatever.  Of course we can’t.  But the Lord can!   It might sound cliche because it is often said, but it’s totally true:     prayer changes things.  More importantly, prayer changes us.

On another note, THANK YOU to those of you who sent craft supplies and/or money for supplies to give these kids something to do!  You know who you are, more importantly, God knows who you are, and the kids and I are grateful for you!

Pray without ceasing, family!  I love you all.

SERVE

It sounds simple, doesn’t it?  For one of my classes, we were assigned a chapter from a book called Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer.  (Here is a comprehensive review of the book.)  The chapter was so good, I was compelled to read the whole book.  I wish I had read it before I started working with the kids at the African church!

The author writes, “Calling ourselves or believing ourselves to be a ‘servant’ does not mean that we will be perceived as servants by others.  I suggest we postpone naming ourselves ‘servants’ until the local people begin to use words about us that suggest they see servant attitudes and behaviors in us.” (37).

Servant attitudes, huh?  My attitude when volunteering with these kids has been more “boss” than “servant.”  And I hate to imagine the words the kids were using about me after last Sunday’s debacle!

I’m glad I read this book when I did.  Tonight, I showed up with a humble spirit, ready to love the kids for who they are, not fight them for what they do (or don’t do).  My attitude was relaxed and open.  I loved them, played with them, and let go of my “classroom teacher” attitude.  We just enjoyed each other, plain and simple.

It was a wonderful, eye-opening night for me.  I didn’t even break a sweat, because I wasn’t worried about people thinking I wasn’t doing my “job.”  These people never asked me to whip their kids into shape; that was an idea I came up with on my own!  How refreshing it was to be able to relax and enjoy the kids.  No one got hurt, and voices were not raised.  (Not that they necessarily were last time!)   😉

Thank you, if you prayed for me.  I could tell that the Lord had really worked in me.

My wish for this week is simple:  I need supplies!  Even though I’m more relaxed about everything, we still have a couple of hours to fill every Sunday night.  This church simply does not have the resources to purchase materials.  Nor do I.  I was able to get some crayons and colored pencils from my school’s freebie area, and I copied some pages out of a coloring book I found.

Do you have unwanted craft supplies lying around the house?  Construction paper, markers…you name it, we’ll use it!  If you don’t, but want to help, just stick a few dollars in an envelope and mail it to me, and I’ll run to the dollar store and buy some craft supplies.

My address is:

Melinda Velasquez

6050 Ridgecrest #308

Dallas, TX  75231

I thank God for your encouragement and your positive feedback.  At times, I really, really need it!  Feel free to email me (melinda.velasquez@pbti.org) if you have any ideas of projects the kids and I could do.  Thanks for your caring hearts and kind spirits.  I love you all!

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