There is something so endearing when a kid insists on washing your hands after a paint filled day but hold on, plot twist: Twintwin’s hands and school dress are a lot more dirty than mine. This was my baptismal of fire into the GAP ministry which would be my two weeks of sink or swim with cute children who know how to sink your life raft at some moments while you were looking away. Arts and Craft Monday was one of the toughest days of the weeks, paint and glitter; the true definition of a migraine for anyone who works with children. As shiny and pretty as it is, the head splintering moment of the mischief those two innocent substances brings is unbearable. Why paint the vegetables and the paper we have put before you when you can paint your face, we should have thought of that; how thoughtless of us.
These two weeks of hugs and arguments, crayons and tree climbing and homework and giggles, I certainly will not undo them or take them back. Who would ever want to take back the most interesting conversations I’ve ever heard by a 5 and 6 year old girls who actually sound like two middle aged women throwing around; “Don’t tell lies” and “You gonna learn”. Or being called Aunty Meow.
‘I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18 : 3
With such a stern remark of who is given preference as to the entrance of the kingdom, what of those who work in the service of these children? What of the bottomless love and the masses of paint splattered clothing that these amazing people own? In the words of Sim, “I can’t have nice things” and that is so true, my suitcase is is littered with lovely little paint hand prints on tights and shirts. But beyond nice things Sim has a nice heart (the understatement of the century). She embodies the fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control but she has a secret fruit that is a real weapon within the Merlewood culture; she is a warrior.
You have to be one tough cookie to work with these demanding kids that pick fights and refuse to use the gate to enter but rather the bars, and Jess and Sim are. These ladies are superheroes and spending two weeks relearning to serve with them has been life altering. They are a combination of an explosive heart (Sim) and a gentle heart (Jess). They take those tough exteriors of these kids and soften them with hugs and compliments and the most life changing attributes: Jesus and Education. There is no way this program could be possible without Jesus, He teaches love and you need love to change lives. And these tiny lives are being changed daily.
So when the offer of hand washing is made, make sure that you have participated in the art of getting your hands dirty with glitter, paint and wood glue. Make sure little dirty colourful hands have touched your soul and make sure you take up the “cup runneth over of love” from Jesus. So when this day arrives you have layers of dirt on your hands and heart and Twintwin, Kenya and a Taygen can wash them with happy little smiles.
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