The room was filled with whispers and giggles. As I looked around me, the kids were all sprawled out on the floor of the church sanctuary. Some had concentrated looks, others were squealing in delight at the progress being made-yet others were waiting anxiously for me to come and see their poster boards they had just finished.
You see they had all just learned about other kids across the globe-kids just like them. Except there was a huge difference, the kids they had just learned about were living in refugee camps, or fleeing as refugees to other countries-leaving behind clothes, toys, friends, a life.
My friends-the kids in Tres Rios community do not have it very easy either. They are growing up in a neighborhood where poverty, drugs, and crime are the norm. But I wanted them to know that the atmosphere surrounding them does not have to define them. They can be world changers, right where they are- even in this neighborhood.
We explained as gently as possible the crisis in the Middle East to all of the kids. At the end, I asked them their thoughts on what they had just learned. One child raised their hand and said- “We need to pray for them.” Yes, oh yes how spot on.
I asked them if they knew of ways we might help make a difference amidst the crisis. Shouts of ideas began to bubble up out of them as they took turns talking over one another. “They need clothes, we can fill a big truck with clothes for them!” Others said, food, toys, water, medicines, etc.
I was grinning from ear to ear as I heard their ideas. I loved them all. However, one very sweet voice suggested the one thing we all know is needed most. It’s the one thing that makes all the difference. It’s the one thing that shatters darkness.The sweet voice called out ever so simply- “love.”
Doesn’t that just mark you? No long winded answer on love and how and why-just simply stated. It came from a place of pure innocence, a perfect resting place of hope.
So we got out the poster board and crayons and let their imaginations take them away.Tears sprang to my eyes as they were met with smiles, enthusiasm and creativity.
The kids came up with ideas to host fundraisers in order to send money to organizations we knew who were doing something for the kids, just like them-across the globe. All their own ideas! We gave no hints, help or suggestions. I genuinely wanted to know their thoughts and if they could respond, what would be their response. A child’s response to a hurting world is powerful.
I was so impacted. They weren’t sad, scared or consumed with a dooming sense of helplessness. There in the midst of glitter and glue, crayons and markers- change was happening. A change coming from little minds working away and I saw what He sees- faith like a child.
To a child, faith is so easy- so simple. In one child’s mind, why not drive a truck full of clothes to Syria from Costa Rica?! To him, this child-distance, money and time have no factor. Their hope was contagious. They were not focussing on their own lack of clothes, some even suggested they could run home and grab (what little they had) of their own clothes to give away.
What would the world be like if children were consulted more on world affairs? The innocent responses while so simple, are often the most accurate. We forget that some of the greatest answers are found within a simple idea.
Oh I know there seems to be a lot of complexity in the world today. Between social media, world news and local news-anger and hate are loud. But not this day, this day the kids chose hope and love. At the end of the day-hope and love are louder.
The energy in the sanctuary was exciting as the kids of all different ages were full of ideas, of hope. And there, I felt it. I mean I really felt it-the energy in compassion. It’s transformational. We stop thinking about the sadness and the despair. We stop thinking about the lack and the worry. We simply start thinking like Jesus. Our hearts beat hard for Him-for His hope.
We are praying and loving our family from Syria and Iraq all the way from Tres Rios, Cartago, Costa Rica.