Monday, July 11, 2011

Children's Ministry

As the children straggled in, Ronnie and I introduced ourselves and made conversation with the kids. I told one 9-year-old guy, Maxwell, that he and my son share the same name. Vivian was dressed in bright pink stripes, and I did really well remembering their names until they numbered more than ten and I was really sunk when those ten mixed themselves with the multitude that followed.

The children began filling the yard at Calvary Chapel in Namulanda at around 2:00. After having moved into the church, and before the visiting ministry leaders began, Ronnie and I played with the kids. Laura left a bat and ball during her ministry time with them and we used that ball to get the kids organized and to entice them to participate with the group. A few quick games and the echoes of excited children filled the neighborhood, which brought even more children.

Ronnie took on the task of introductions as the number of children present multiplied. He was really quite gifted at engaging each child in some special way as they said their name and their school.

Pastor’s wife observed that Maxwell wasn’t feeling well and that his mother had gone. Maxwell refused to sit out of the group as we played ball, he was having too much fun. Yet, the tears running down his cheeks indicated how bad he must have really felt. Malaria.

Four girls from the Calvary Chapel church in California presented a message about David and Goliath, and about how the power of God is with us today just like he was with David way back then. The children did well in remembering the story and were rewarded with some sweets (candy). Just before lunch (chapatti and cabbage) the Hallelujah song competition raised the sound level of the church. The song must have echoed through the hills of Namulanda.

I found myself enjoying lunch on the veranda of the church looking out over Lake Victoria in the distance. The next thing I knew, Maxwell plunked himself right up close to me with those tears still trickling down his cheeks. He was roasting (a side effect of malaria). He didn’t want to eat and he didn’t want to play the games that followed lunch. We just sat together and watched. I feel so privileged to connect with that one child who needed something just a little different than the rest.