my colombian heart (part 4)… lose the comfort-zone!
This is Rosa. She is a gorgeous and extremely talkative little girl. She is one of thirty little faces I had in my Vacation Bible School (VBS) group at Exodo Church. We had 364 kids laughing, talking, and dancing in the building that day; but the thirty I had a chance to play with and love on will forever be in my heart.
I guess I need to back up to before the VBS started to give you a full and honest glimpse at my heart. When we began preparing the various activities for the week we were in Colombia, the VBS wasn’t one I was super passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. However, I have never been the first to raise my hand when the call for nursery or VBS volunteers comes. It’s just not my comfort zone. I never know what to say or how to act, so I just avoid the whole kid situation.
Well. Obviously, God had another plan for me and my comfort zone on Tuesday, June 25th. I was given my VBS assignment on Monday afternoon- I was a group leader over 30 kiddos. Oh boy! I had no clue what to expect and I hoped I wouldn’t screw up the system or not be “up” on the events of the day.
When we arrived at the church that morning to set up, I could feel the excitement building. It was one of the hottest days I experienced while we were there, but I could already see kids lining up outside the building to be checked in. As I sat on my little circle in an open concrete area, I began to whisper “Jesus, please help me communicate your love to these kids. You know I can’t speak their language, but I know you can speak to them.” As I continued to ask the Lord to enter the scene and work through me, little ones slowly began to trickle over to my group. One little boy, Ruis, who I wish I had a picture of, was soooo shy. He had huge dimples, but he rarely smiled. Rosa immediately took my hand and walked me around the group to tell me how old everyone is and what their names are. David walked right up to me and took the folder I was carrying so my hands would be free. He was such a little gentleman. I never had to hold anything for the rest of the day. (he’s on the center in this picture). He was also the strict enforcer of the use of the rope I had to keep everyone together. I never had to worry about where my group was, thanks to David!
I also had a few “tough” guys in my group. They said they were 13, but I suspect they were more like 9 or 10. At the beginning of the day, they were so aloof. Definitely too cool for VBS.
As I took in the faces and tried to imagine the stories, Rosa kept tugging on my hand to catch my attention. All I had to do was smile and give her a little hug, and she would be temporarily pacified while I figured out my next steps as the group “leader”. How could I focus on what area we were supposed to be in when I had these little ones talking to me and hanging off of my arms and fingers?
By the end of the day, our group had done hula hoops, waved a huge parachute in the air, blown bubbles, used side walk chalk (which, by the way, consisted of writing my Spanish name, Teilor, over and over again on the concrete. I was very humbled), filled in coloring sheets, and finished the day with an intense dance session.
My time with these kids ended by being dog piled as we tried to get a group picture. Thankfully, the photographer got one before I was tackled!
I’m so glad that God doesn’t allow me to stay in my comfort zone. If I had my way, I would have been behind the scenes planning the VBS, yet never interacting with the kids. It was a fun, tiring, beautiful, adventure-filled day that I will never forget.