The sun was not out, and so was I
I was prepared for the rain, and not without it. The latter happened. The weather was less gloomy, less cloudy, less wet, even though the ground we stood onto was terribly muddy. Kate walked barefoot, but she was happy to be there. I had a few new students whose names I have already forgotten. I doubt if they knew mine, but what I do know is that they will remember my face for such a time.
My heart was wrung and wet with rain and inner tears as I came to my Sunday ministry, completely bare. I just relied on my gut feel. No materials. No artworks. When the Children’s Worship portion came, I had no story in me. I had nothing. It was completely washed away by what-I-supposed-the-weather-would-be. The kids sat on the bench closest to me as my fingers tickled the piano. On the farther bench sat a young kid with a cleft palette. It was a blessing when the song on our makeshift board was a melody they knew. So we sang. We sang till the elders sang with us. It was a happy tune and the kids didn’t want us to end.
Jasmine asked me to sit in with her during Sunday School. Of course. I knew she didn’t know what to do yet. And like every Ate, I need to inspire her to be creative and do something fun, spontaneous yet memorable for the kids. Guess how we started our lesson. Planets. Yep. The kids in this forsaken part of town, a bunch of youngins who didn’t know how to read properly, enjoyed a little starter for an intergalactic wisdom. It was very random; how we talked about pilots and astronauts, the skies and the atmosphere, Jupiter, and Mercury, till we had a rather fun game where they had to “revolve” around the sun as little planets without bumping against each other. Making them line up probably lasted for 10 minutes. The play lasted for 5. But when we ended, they were probably ready for the next thing, and even though our small play had nothing to do with our lesson, they relished every bit of it. Some on-the-spot skits and Q&A solved their craving for the momentary lull in artworks.
Tumbling with Words
If there was one thing that struck me today, it was Ram’s eager face when I asked him to read a part of a prayer in our Sunday School guide. He was probably seven or eight years old. Perhaps older than Mila Shane. He looked smart, so I thought reading would be a small thing. It wasn’t. I was smiling as I assisted him through the letters, but my heart broke. Education is one of the least priorities in this part of town. What people here wanted is food on the table, to look normal, and to not be belittled by their neighbors.
I knew it must have been hard for him, for when Mila Shane read her part, she was ten times a fast reader than him. But I knew my little mentions of “very good” throughout his standing moments helped him not to feel awkward. In fact, many kids who weren’t good readers started raising their hands and volunteered for the next sections. The girl with the cleft palette, whose name I think was Julian, kept hugging me and was curiously looking at my book, longing for her turn.Ayet, a usually-naughty-and-loud girl, felt proud of her tulip pen, and one of the young boys asked if we’ll have a session tomorrow. I said, “We only come on Sundays, so I have to see you next week.” I don’t know how many times I said, “Study hard for this week, okay?” but I meant it. I really did. To be honest, I wasn’t so much of an inspired student back then, but I was an eager reader, and I had everything I needed around me. These kids don’t. These kids needed the heart to inspire them to study. And a hand that will make learning a beautiful thing for them.I won’t be with them for a long time; my best bet: only until next year. But I wish, I wish so hard, that I leave these kids with something, for they sure have made a mark in my life. A mark that pushes me to push hard, with a heart. A mark that bears, “education is important!!!!!”A mark of a compassionate human. A mark of a soul who loved. A mark of someone whose aim is to plant good seeds. I hope these seeds grow well.