More Than Hygiene
Felicia was our leader for the hygiene team. Her smile and rapport with the kids and women was amazing. Anything we said in English she translated for us. She was patient and super funny. She kept the kids in the line when they were getting rowdy too :-)On Monday, I wasn't able to do hygiene with the team but Allison stepped right in and did a great job helping Allison. The lesson was on washing hands. They did a great lesson using glitter as germs that they kids loved. Such a great visual to see how germs spread all around. Then they took turns practicing washing it off.
I was so excited to finally get to the village on Tuesday. Felicia gave me the lessons in advance so I knew what we were going to do that day. She taught the kids a cute song that they loved and we started each morning with.
|singing with the kids|
|they loved it|
The lesson on the second day was about Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). Through a story about Pablo and his baby sister Maria, they learned about a simple treatment for diarrhea. Part salt, part sugar with water. As we read the story, Felicia translated.
We did the same story for the women of the community with a little contest between teams on the question and answers. The ladies were so competitive and had a great time with the game.
This day was also salvation bracelet day. This was my favorite activity with both the kids and the adult groups. The bracelets represent the Christian life. Black for sin. Red for the blood of Jesus. White washes pure as snow. Blue for baptism by water. Green for growing in your faith. Yellow for heaven the streets of Gold. We read the kids a little book that I also now ordered for my kiddos.
For the children we used pipe cleaners and colored beads which they easily were able to string together. You had to be quick though. Those beads were disappearing to who knows where every time you turned around. It was precious to see how happy they were with their bracelets and most of the kids wore them back to school the next day.
|Loving their bracelets|
|what a cutie|
The women made a new version of the same bracelet using little hair bands. They caught on so quickly to making them. Allison and I were still struggling along and they were just whipping them right out. Later we got more efficient and made bracelets for the rest of the team.
I brought one home for Beckett and Eli. I was explaining to them the colors and what they meant. They were being so serious like they were listening and understanding. Then Beckett said "cool mom! It's a power ranger bracelet. See, the red ranger, the blue ranger, the green ranger, the black ranger, the yellow ranger.. wait? Where's the pink ranger" Ha! Looks like we need some work on this one :-)
Wednesday was a great day too. In fact, the kids really listened and were not so rowdy that day. The lesson was on brushing teeth and then we did Bible story time. Felicia told me to pick any story for the kids and I chose David and Goliath. By far, Beckett and Eli's favorite story. One of my favorite stories because I love explaining that God is so big that you don't have to be. When I finished, the teacher said that the kids love that story too and saw a movie about it. For the afternoon we did brushing teeth also and did Joshua and the battle of Jericho from the Living Water guide. We also gave out toothbrushes to the women and visitors that afternoon.
|This guy came to our class every afternoon and loved chatting with Felicia.|
|Look at how happy he is with his little toothbrush|
One of the most fun parts of the trip was getting to play with the kids during their recess and after school was out. They had a little playground with basic equipment. The team brought with us soccer balls, footballs, frisbees, and jump ropes. I seriously wish that I had brought 100 jump ropes so every kid could have one. As much as we wanted to have an impact with our bible lessons and hygiene classes the kids were most impacted I think by the attention that we gave them. Their smiles, their giggles, their never ending energy. The drill team was able to get time during a few of their breaks to spend time with the kids too. They thought the guys were hilarious playing soccer.
|see the smoke? They had a burn pile on the playground. I was one nervous mom|
|Ashliegh "hanging" with the kids|
|holding rope and throwing football|
We even had time for some "class". Brad taught the kids "matematicas" and proceeded to equally confuse them by then switching up addition and subtraction. :-) Femi knew all the right answers though.
On the playground one afternoon there were just a few kids left. Felicia was sitting on a bench and we were talking. A couple of kids climbed on the swings so I jumped up to push them. As I was pushing them I started singing Jesus Loves Me to them just like I do my kids. Felicia joined in and sang beautifully. As I pushed them and looked around at the conditions. The dirty water they were drinking. The bathroom conditions. The classroom with minimal supplies. My mind could not wrap around how blessed we are in the US in comparison. I thought these easily could be my kids. I could have been born here. This could be my life. My eyes teared up as I was just overwhelmed by this life and distinction between birthright and where you are born. I said to God, why me? I am so underserving of your blessings. Your abundant overflowing blessings. At that moment, one of the teenagers walked by wearing my hard hat and I saw the verse that I put on my hat. Luke 12:48 - From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. God didn't bless me so that I could just enjoy this life and bask in his bounty and goodness. He blessed me so that I could bless others. What I have is not mine. My treasure does not lie here. God entrusts us with his resources to be good stewards. To have the ability to help those less fortunate here and abroad. To have the resources to spread the Gospel.
I recently read a post from one of my favorite bloggers Ann Voskamp from her recent travels with her daughter to Africa to meet Katie Davis. She talks about the "Esther Generation" in a post titled Why You Are Where You Are For Such A Time As This. If you haven't read her series from her trip, visit her blog and do so. I cry even as I read it again to copy it here. For those that don't that much about Esther, her story is a great biblical drama and I encourage you to read it. She is in her castle. Behind her gates knowing that the genocide of the Jewish people is planned. Here is what Ann Voskamp writes.
“Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all your people suffer. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief will arise from some other place, but you and yours will die.” There are a thousand ways for your soul to die, to be the living dead.
You can look into eyes and hear the whisper from those outside the gate:
“You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life. If your life isn’t about giving relief — you don’t get real life. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”
You have got to use your position inside the gate for those outside the gate – or you’re in the position of losing everything. There are a thousand ways to be the living dead.
If you have any food in your fridge, any clothes in your closet, any small roof, rented or owned, over your head, you are richer than 75% of the rest of the world. We are the Esthers living inside the palace.
If you have anything saved in the bank, any bills in your wallet, any spare change in a jar, you are one of the top 8% wealthiest people in the world. We are the Esther’s living inside the gate.
If you can read these words right now, you have a gift 3 billion people right now don’t, if your stomach isn’t twisted in hunger pangs, you have a gift that 1 billion people right now don’t, if you know Christ, you have a gift that untold millions right now don’t. We are the ones living inside the gate.
It’s like you can hear the cry of the red soil of Africa’s pulsing right here with the heart of God: “You have got to use your position inside the gate for those outside the gate – or you’re in the position of losing everything — of losing your soul.“
You are where you are for such a time as this – not to gain anything — but to risk everything.
You are where you are for such a time as this — not to make an impression — but to make a difference.
You could have been the one outside of the gate. You could have been the one with the Lord’s Resistance Army slitting your child’s throat in the middle of the night, you could been the one born into a slum, raped without a hope, you could be the one born into AIDS, into starvation, into lives of wild Christ-less desperation. The reason you are inside the gate for such a time as this – is to risk your life for those outside the gate. If I perish, I perish.
I could have easily been one of these moms. Washing my clothes in the river. Walking for miles for water or watching my kids struggle knowing that the water that they drink is making them sick.
A friend when I got back recently asked me what my take aways from the trip were. What things stood out to me the most or impacted me the most. This experience above was one. The other one was closeness to God. This beautiful, wonderful communion with Him. With all the business and distractions stripped away. We never turned on the tv. We checked email once a day. We woke up and immediately began devotion and worship. We spent each day surrounded by Christian brothers and sister working for the same goal. To bring the gospel of living water to the people. Our basic needs were met but our spiritual wells were overflowing. I can't describe another time in my life that Christ has been so real to me. What they say is true. You go to be a blessing, but truly in turn it is you that is blessed and changed from the inside out.