Good Morning Brothers…
(Our children will carry on the legacy of Christ we instill in them. This may be a vibrant, this may be decrepit, this may be somewhere in between. Today’s devotional is written by my oldest daughter Ciara, who was also on the trip to Haiti a couple weeks ago.)
“Ciara, you’re on kid duty.”
This is a phrase that is near and (sometimes not so dear) to my heart. For as long as I can remember, I have always been most gifted with caring and tending to children. Therefore, I am almost always in charge of the kids wherever I go, whether that is at ball games, Sunday school, family get-togethers, etc.
My trip to Haiti was nothing less than me spending lots of time with the precious kiddos there. I had the privilege of running craft time each day during the Vacation Bible School sessions that took place in the village we were staying in. Much like most young kids everywhere, these little Haitian children were sometimes more interested in game time and craft time than they were in the Bible lesson. Sitting still is such a challenge when kids are young, but the Bible lessons were so important it was hard for me to not feel let down about not reaching the youth on a spiritual level. Sure, they listened to the message we were sharing, they answered questions, and sang songs with us, but they were eager to be done with Bible time.
After the first day of VBS, I started to realize something. The difference that I was seeing in this group of kids in this Haitian village, compared to the kids I see each day in classrooms in the U.S., was the way they treat each other. The kids in Haiti were much more aggressive toward each other, less loving, less patient, and less kind. The “golden rule” was definitely not an active rule in those children’s minds. I decided after the first day of breaking up dirt fights, grabbing little punching fists, and blocking little kicking feet that if there was one thing I wanted these kids to remember it was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” My hope was that if, by the end of my time there, those kids didn’t remember all of the important parts of the Bible stories, they hadn’t accepted Christ as their savior, and they still had to go home to voodoo filled homes, they would at least have spent a week filled with being loved on, filled with silliness, and filled with compassion.
In Ephesians 5, Paul writes to the church of Ephesus, calling the people there to be imitators of God, therefore, living a life of love, just as Christ loved us. This was my challenge: to love those kids like Christ loves me and in turn, share the power and the change that the gospel brings. Genuine love goes a long way with human beings. It can’t be a love drawn from feeling pity toward a group of people, or a love drawn from tolerance of differences, but a genuine love of another human being because we were made equal in the eyes of our Father. Those kids need Jesus in their lives so very badly, but they also need to be loved. Some Biblical knowledge is above their heads, it’s complex, and kids often don’t understand. However, kids do understand what it means to be loved, what it means to be forgiven, what it means to treat others with kindness, mercy, and patience; all of which the Lord does for me even when I do not deserve it. As Christians, we want people all over the world to hear the Word of the Lord and to turn to Him as their Savior so that they might be saved by Him, but we also need to teach the broken, the lost, and the hurting what a relationship is.
My hope for the week I spent in Haiti was that the children saw the love of God in my life, in my teammates lives, in our smiles, and in our outreached hands; a love that was lacking in the village they live in; a love that could move mountains and bring people to Truth.