A little 4 year old girl named Mary messed me up today. I just can’t get her out of my head. I was in the middle of magic show number 5 today. I was doing tricks for the pre-K kids, which was pretty much making a pellota verde disappear (that’s green ball for those of you who don’t speak the Spanish like me, though I can’t spell Spanish words well so I may be wrong). I looked over at her table and and saw her big brown eyes – brown eyes that remind me of my two little daughters – and sad face and I just melted. She wasn’t as happy as the other kids. Her eyes were downcast. She didn’t want to do anything other than sit.
As I looked at her, I knew – I just knew – no one told her she was beautiful or special. You could see it in her face, in the way she carried herself, in the way she didn’t interact with the others. So after finishing my tricks, I knelt down beside her, and said, “Tu es bonita y especial.” You are beautiful and special. She stared at me and smiled a bit. Then I went in the hallway and cried. There are so many incredible kids at Oasis of Hope School and in their neighborhood who don’t know how special they are to God. Maria is one. I’m glad the kids in the school are hearing that.
Here are a few pictures:
This is the school. I don’t think I posted one from yesterday – so this is it.
The boys above are some of the many who followed me around asking me to make rocks disappear. I made them pose for a picture first.
The toilet paper mummy game – big hit.
Claudie gave chiropractic adjustments to pretty much every kid there. Pretty cool.
Everybody on the team had amazing individual moments today with the kids, as we learned to communicate and laugh and pray and lift and hug. It was so much fun. We love the kids, but some of the coolest things to happen today involved the teachers and staff who give so much of themselves to the kids. One of my favorite times today was when I looked up and saw Bradley and his intrepreter praying for one of the teachers – a woman who seemed tough as nails – as she just stood weeping as Bradley prayed for her hurts and worries. My pastor Jason had a similar experience with another teacher later in the day. We also prayed for Rudy the school administrator and Jacquelin, who serves the lunches, and her daughter Jennifer who is deaf. I’m not sure they experience prayers like that very often.
We also worked with a sweet Nicaraguan couple that travels the country ministering to kids. They sing and tell stories. Alex, the husband, is wanting to learn some magic tricks. I gave him a couple of mine so he’d have something to use. He needs them more than I do. His wife, Maria, is great with the kids. They were lots of fun. Here they are in action:
Finally, below is a picture of Udy – I talked about him yesterday. He’s pretty special to me. We had a good talk yesterday, and today he was great. He did a great job leading the kids and being an example. Alex and Maria asked for volunteers to help lead a song today, and Udy raised his hand and jumped up to help. I looked over at Elaine who loves him so much and is so broken for him. She saw Udy get up and just started to weep. She told me, “He just doesn’t do things like that anymore.” The kidnapping really caused him to withdraw, and to see him emerging, knowing so many of us have been praying for him the last year or so, that was pretty awesome.
Time to clean up and rest. More tomorrow!
ps – It’s so hot and dirty here, this is a picture of my leg at the end of today.