Today we went to church at the children’s home, worshipped with the kids and put together various activities for the kids. It was an eye-opening day in many different ways.
When we got to church we had come a couple minutes early so we had time to wander and look around. At least ten banners were hung around the room decorated by handprints, images of Christ, bible verses, etc. All of the banners were made by the kids and they were all very special in their own way.
When the children arrived at church it was an awesome feeling to see all of the little friends I had made from the previous day run up and give me a hug. I really wasn’t expecting them to remember me that well but they did.
As church began the rest of the kids got into their seats, crawled across adults or staff and got ready to worship. I led the procession by carrying in the cross from the back of the church. It was a little different from when I do it back home but I’m starting to think I like the procession here a little more.
Church was filled with so many different fulfilling moments. One was how much the children loved the music. They would dance, sing and close their eyes each of them trying to feel their way to connect to God. Another moment was when an older girl who played in the band got up and gave a testimony. She talked about how everything we receive from God is a blessing and that we should always look at it that way. She also talked about how Christ is in each of us and how the group from Kansas (us) is a perfect example of him working through us. Finally hearing the service in both English and Spanish was a special moment for me. It made me think about how so many people across the world worship the same God I do in various ways. For some reason to me hearing the Spanish version of the service I worship to at home was just beautiful in a way I can’t explain.
After church got out most of the children went back to their homes and ate lunch, the little ones took naps too. We had lunch together in the office and discussed the crafts and activities we had planned for the carnival the kids would have during the afternoon. Soon after the kids started waking up and getting ready we began playing.
We provided a bunch of different activities such as bubbles, puzzles, bracelets, temporary tattoos, tissue paper flowers, and giant Jenga. Of course the kids had a bunch of fun and when they were done with the provided supplies we just played with them ourselves.
As the day started to come to an end I reflected on all that had happened. I realized how grateful these kids were for the things that they received each day and the simple toys we had given them that day. It made me think of how I wanted to change the way I act towards the gifts I am given in life. Each thing I receive is something precious from God, the children here are a major blessing to me.
~Julia Howell, high school junior, Grace Cathedral