Standing in small groups outside the three single-room buildings, the children and mamas watched as we approached. Some giggled at these weirdly dressed strangers stepping down from the big yellow bus. Little ones hid behind safe skirts, while older children approached uninhibited, jostling to see what we had in those great big boxes and large black bags.
While team leaders sorted and counted for the distribution, the rest of us engaged curious children and parents as best we could. A few snaps and I turned my camera so they could see the screen. Whether adults or children, the response was always the same: --GASP! followed by giggles as they chattered to each other and pointed out details in the image.
The women shook their heads “no” and hid their faces at first… but not their smiles. I knew the ladies were just as interested in the camera as the children, but they guarded their intrigue with that typical adult restraint we’re all plagued with. After a little coaxing they let me take their pictures, too. Still, as they viewed their results they waved off the image as if to say they didn’t like what they saw. But their smiles said otherwise.
In the classrooms, barefoot and sandal-clad children waited expectantly while the team distributed the treasures. The older boys tried to maintain their “cool” but couldn’t disguise their excitement altogether -- especially when they received “The Amazing Gospel” comic book.
The younger children looked over the contents of the package together and talked among themselves
…touching the clear plastic carefully,
… stalling to open the bags as if to make the fun last.
Teachers are difficult to secure which results in children placed on long waiting lists for the opportunity to receive education. The children currently attending classes struggle to grasp the material.
I could hear the compassion in their voices as hospital co-founder Doris Spurrier talked with other missionary and medical staff members in our group.
They quickly ran down a check-list as they formulated a plan to address potential factors contributing to these learning difficulties.
- a follow-up trip to assess nutritional needs and general health care
- a vitamin supplement program
- medicines for other common health issues
And so it went, this heart response beating with the rhythm of their words.
As we headed for the bus, some of the village women walked with us and gathered nearby under a gnarled tree in the neglected church yard. Just behind them stood a cross… silent… as if unseen… beckoning... patient... totally ignored.
The bus fired up, and we prepared to roll out when our leader suddenly boarded and asked us to wait... to stop and pray. The ladies under the tree looked up when the bus shut off again, and for the next few minutes the fervency of our corporate intercession for the people of this community echoed unanimously as God dropped His thoughts and His desires for them into our hearts.
Here we thought we were the ones making a drop-off in the village, and all the while God had a very different drop-off in mind.
What has God dropped in your heart lately?