Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oklahoma Part 10: Saying Goodbye

Walking into Hawthorne Elementary on Monday morning, I'm greeted by eager smiles and waves by students and teachers alike. It is not unusual to receive several hugs from the kids who go out of their way to cross my path as I walk to my first class of the morning. Similar greetings await at Shidler on Tuesday, Eugene Fields on Wednesday and Central Oak on Friday. But do I really make a difference? Will these kids remember me only as the lady who played recess with them, or the one who did fun stuff in class so they could have a break from academics? Am I really making a difference in their lives, or do they accept the appearance of Character First only as a welcome break in the middle of the school day? In even 5 short years when they are in high school, will they remember anything we've taught them? Will they live their life differently because of anything they have seen? When they see me, do they see Christ? Cesar, a third grade boy stands out from the crowd of kids at Wednesday's Bible Club. His jet black hair and mischievous brown eyes glimmer with a grin as he dashes through the door, flashing a smile at me while I grin back. He came early one Wednesday, which gave us opportunity to talk. I'm not quite sure how the conversation started, but he asked about Miss. Sarah, a friend of mine and an intern for the past 6 sessions. In our communications via email she had asked about Cesar. Did he still come to club? How is he? Has he received Christ?

My Bible club team
As Cesar and I talked about Miss. Sarah and why she was not able to be here this session, the conversation was peppered with statements like, "I miss Miss. Sarah! Why can't she come back?" and, "Is she ever coming back again?" Why was he so intent on seeing someone he only saw once a week for an hour and a half during the school year? It is the love of Christ we demonstrate. Something I have to remind my self of again and again. It is not what I do but what He does. It is not what I show them, but what He shows them through me. It is not what I say, but what He whispers into their hearts So, do I make a difference? When I leave will that difference remain? No, I don't make a difference. It is the love of Christ I bring that effects lives. It doesn't matter if I come back next session, or if Miss. Sarah comes back. All that matters is that the kids saw the love of Christ. We may not see the fruit of our labors here on earth. But I pray the Word that goes out masked through character during classes at school, or openly through Bible club takes root in their lives, that through it they may learn to love the one who loves them unconditionally.
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." ~Ephesians 3:17-19

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