Her name is Xiomara. She is probably five or six years old, very small for your age. She has beautiful dark eyes and hair and a beautiful smile. She came to both sessions of our Bible School during our time in El Salvador which means that she was not attending her regular school (or it might mean that she didn’t attend school at all). She would come through the door, directly to me, give me a big hug and climb up in my lap. All through our lessons, she sat by me. She spoke no English and I speak very little Spanish, but we shared love with each other. If you ask me why I do international mission work, it’s because of the children I have enjoyed working with for just a few days at a time. We enjoyed learning familiar songs in Spanish like “Jesus Loves Me,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” “Father Abraham,” and even “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmitt.” (That is Scott’s personal favorite!) We played games that were familiar like “Simon Says,” “Red Light, Green Light,” and “Duck, Duck Goose.” They loved to play catch with balls and push Scott around in his wheel chair. It was not unusual for six or seven kids to be sitting with Scott in his wheelchair at any given time. We made crafts and shared familiar Bible Stories with the kids. But most of all, we shared love with them and they shared love for us. The last session was hard for all of us. As our plane took off for home from San Salvador on that Saturday, I cried because I didn’t want to leave my friends. If I could have gotten Xiomara in my suitcase, I would have brought her home with me.
You don’t have to go to El Salvador to have the same kinds of experiences here in our neighborhoods. There are many children in our community who need to feel the love of an adult hugging them and telling them that their color sheet is beautiful. They need to hear the stories of Jesus and learn more about His love for us. We will be having an opportunity to do just that on the first two weeks of June. I hope you will take an opportunity to volunteer for our Vacation Bible School. Your time with the children will be so important to you and to them. If you need more information, contact Chris Tench or sign up on our website. If you are not able to volunteer, then pray for our VBS – that we will make a difference in the lives of children all over our community.
Rev. Carol Cook