Free to be themselves, Pt. 1

     
I wrote the following stories for a devo I did our second to last day
of Impact VBS. Last year I did a similar devo (click the underlined portion
to read those stories) at the end of the summer as well. I wrote the stories,
told from the child’s perspective, with the idea that it might give my interns
some sort of closure for the summer. We needed a way to realize how God 
used us and that he will continue to use others in these children’s lives. 
These are three of the six children who I wrote the stories about.
I picked one from each of the six age groups (we separate them into colors),
and I will share three of them with you now.
I saw these kids change this summer or, for a few, over the past years. 
God taught them unconditional love through some blessed people at Impact. 
A beautiful sight to witness for sure. 
And it changed me…probably most of all.
*****************

2010: Nathan and Ricardo in kindergarten.

I began VBS last summer. I barely knew what church looked like. I barely even knew my family. I have enthusiasm like you never seen, and my favorite place is wherever I can show off, run or jump around. I love the stage…especially when you tell me to get off it. I’ll run through the halls every day, even though all the interns have told me every day all summer that I’m not supposed to. I hate my purple square, particular because I’m required to stay inside it.

Last year my mom left my three brothers and me with our grandma and uncle. She never came back for us.

My children’s minister laughs at my missing teeth, but she hugs me and tells me every day she loves me.

One intern danced with me on stage…well, mostly he danced alone while I stared at him. Other interns showed me continual patience despite the fact that I may be crazier than most could handle. All these people showed me the unconditional love of Jesus.

I’m Nathan, and I’m in purple group (1st grade).

2010: A second summer meant I was OK to him. So, you can imagine my third went even better.

 

I have a ‘tude like you have never seen. I roll my eyes at big buddies, at my interns, at my director. It doesn’t matter who they are…I’ll roll my eyes. I whip my head around and glare into their soul.

But it’s a cover. I want them to keep trying. I test them.

2011: Ethan with his intern Paul. Claudia, his other intern, also had a profound effect on him.

I’m not like other kids. I don’t become best friends with youth group kids.I don’t really have friends in my class. I want someone who will stick around…someone who will prove his or her worth. I love my intern who treats me like her friend.

And the ones that always keep trying.

I’m an old soul, and I’ll test you. I do that because my mom doesn’t know how to love me. She hurts me and takes my stuff back to the store. But I trust my intern enough to tell her. I know she loves me unconditionally, a love that comes from the one above.

I’m Ethan, and I’m in green group (2nd grade).

Ethan and one of his first champions, Marilyn.

 

2009: Roxie's oldest brother Cosme. He was in my group when I interned my first summer at Impact.

I came to VBS in the shadow of my brothers. I was shy. I was little. But I’m pretty dang cute, though, if I do say so myself.

I’ll trick you with my seemingly quiet personality. I’m actually mildly insane like my brother. You met him last year. You may know him as “energetic” (or insanely hyperactive, whichever you prefer).

2010: The "insane" brother. My sweet boy, Edgar

When I first came to VBS, I didn’t really want much to do with anyone. Now, I’ll play eat-your-face-for-breakfast.

Interns refused to accept my lack of participation. Big buddies showed me love week in and week out. And still the interns pushed me to feel free to be me.

I know I’m unconditionally loved like never before. And I feel free to be me in Christ.

2011: Roxie (Kinder), Edgar (2nd grade) and Cosme (4th grade) with one of our interns, Courtney.

I’m Roxanna, and I’m in red group (Kindergarten).

***************

Stay tuned for a coming post on the three other children. And to God be the glory.

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