She comes every Saturday to teach the kids at 5pm. She knows them by name and takes roll, asking where those missing are.
She was thrilled last week when she found out we had a copier in our printer, and at our house, nonetheless.
This week, she made her own flannel graph with a blanket hung over two chairs. She kept the kids locked on her, somehow intrigued by the same story we’ve told them before. She doesn’t have to shout over the chatter like we did; she’s got them enthralled.
I’m telling you, she’s a professional.
Yesterday we pulled into church with another car full. Suddenly, everyone is excited to be going to church, and they are asking us to go. It feels unreal, and I find I’m skeptical as 6 o’clock rolls around and it’s raining, that they won’t really go. I find I’m skeptical that they’ll go once and then not return.
But they are going. They are returning.
And admittedly, this week didn’t go as smoothly as last. There was three-year-old breaking down in the middle, an eight-year-old standing on a chair, and a glass of water dumped on the floor.
But, still, there were 16 of us there, and we all wanted to be! Things are growing.
As we sat talking with some friends this week, I realized how much of a blessing this church is to us. It’s just beyond words, an answer to prayer, above and beyond and what we could have asked or imagined.
They love this community so well. They are learning names. They are celebrating with us when hoards join us for church. They are welcoming people in with smiles that aren’t welcomed in so many places. They are teaching in ways they understand. They are using repetition for those who can’t read.
As I watched her with her homemade flannel graph, I realized how far we are from this—knowing the culture, knowing the language, knowing the nuances. From letting a story and a love flow out of us smoothly and understandably. It would have taken us so many years more to get to that point, and yet she was here this week, on top of things.
And yet I didn’t feel intimidated. Suddenly, I felt like it was okay that I was who I was. It’s okay that we’re better at hospital visits and homework help. It’s okay that we’re better at opening our doors and living life here. It’s okay that language learning just isn’t that quick for us.
And it’s okay that they are amazing evangelists and amazing story tellers and know three languages.
God knew this was coming all along. He knew we needed to till the soil and plant the seeds. He knew they were coming to douse them with water, and that we’d all be sitting back together, celebrating the growth.
We have prayed for this, friends. We have prayed and prayed and prayed, and he is answering. I can’t even really describe the feelings I am feeling: after the loneliness of feeling like we were in this community alone; the prayers for help; the prayers for language; the prayers for the seemingly endless road ahead; the prayer after prayer of, “Oh, Lord, LET SOMETHING GROW.”
He has heard; he has answered. And he is such a good, good Father.