by Guest Author — August 5, 2013
A new mission team has settled in to the projects in Anchorage this week. They have meticulously prepared stories, crafts, and games for our kids to enjoy after we finish serving them the orange and white boxes of government-sponsored food. On the blue tarp, the kids wiggle and whisper their way through story time. We finally finish learning about Pharaoh and his unwillingness to let the people of Israel go, and just as we start to enter in to a time of questions (with candy rewards, of course), the maintenance man comes….and he has a sprinkler. Instantly the kids run over to the spraying water like they are being pulled there by a magnet. There is hardly an adolescent soul left on the blue tarp. The team sits there, looking stunned and defeated, undone crafts in hand. As the summer missionary, I feel like I should do something about the situation. I jog over to the little patch of grass where the sprinkler is soaking 20 or so kids. I want to yell at them to all come back to the tarp, but with one look you can tell that they are having the time of their lives. I just didn’t have the heart to stop them. I stand back and laugh as they play and prance in the water. Before I know it, though, I have 5 or 6 pairs of arms wrapped around me, dragging me towards the spray. Resistance is futile. I am going to get soaked. Soon enough I am dripping from head to toe…laughing and smiling with my sweet kids. Just after the height of all of the action, a boy about seven comes to me and sweetly asks when we are going to finish story and craft time. “Well, how about right now?” I answer. With that I go back to our blue tarp with a small following of kids behind me. In a circle by the trees we talk about the story and the faithfulness of God. We sing songs about Jesus and the joy that He brings us. In all the weeks prior, we’d never had a story time that was more genuine, joyful, and organic. For the first time I was able to see just how eager these kids were to love and serve the Lord. I was also able to see that loving God’s children means meeting them on their level. Sometimes this involves jumping through sprinklers until mascara runs down your face. God can use the things we least expect. More than anything, I am humbled by the way that God draws His children to himself. He is so much more satisfying than the temporary pleasures of this world. Yes, he is more alluring that sprinklers on a hot summer day…even for a seven year old.
by Emma Nystrom, Anchorage, Alaska, Alaska Missions