David & Goliath skit
Today at Kids club the kids were learning the story about David and Goliath. Chantha's students do a lot of role playing and acting out the bible stories through drama skits with props and the kids are thoroughly entertained as they listen attentively to the story being told. When 'David's slingshot was released and the stone hit 'Goliath' who ended up flat on his back the kids all stood up and cheered.
With each day as they hear different bible stories, we pray that God will be building His foundation in them so that in their time of need when they face their own Goliaths they will recall the boldness, courage and faith of David and the God whom He trusted to defeat the enemy and as such, they will be inspired to respond in the same manner.
After the story time the kids either do a craft or they will color bible pictures. While I was walking around one little girl called Srey Lin about years 6 old who I had not noticed before grabbed my leg and so I decided to sit with her. She began to start kissing me on the cheeks a few times and literally crawling on me to be held and hugged.....this is a bit more affection than I am typically used to with the kids as most of them will just want a hug and then go on their merry way. I wasn't sure if she was simply starving for affection or was being too forward in her actions so I pointed to her drawing to encourage her to continue to color her picture. She quickly went back to doing that with one of her arms on my leg. I realized that she just wanted to have me nearby, almost like a comfort blanket. It may seem odd to be so cautious to these little ones but its hard to know which kids here have been exposed to abuse and which ones are just naturally longing for affection. At the end of the day, its all about being viewed and seen as a 'safe' person for these kids.
No sooner had Srey Lin continued her colouring, a little boy Bunteen who is 7 years old but is like a 4 year old broke away from the group of boys and plopped himself on my lap. I had held him last week and I guess he must have enjoyed the company for he seemed more interested in hanging onto me than participating in the songs. He proudly came to show me his drawing. Then there is little Tieng---she has chubby little cheeks and very small eyes. Each day when I see her she comes with open arms for a hug. She is like a little princess, always dressed so cute in a matching pants and top that is common attire for the Vietnamese kids, along with little pieces of jewelry. Today she had on a pearl necklace and a little gold ring. She too just wanted a little hug and stood next to me to show her bible picture.
All of these interactions involve limited verbal communication but for each of these kids even if I only speak one word to them telling them that their picture is beautiful or very good, their faces light up with a huge smile. They are no different to kids any where else longing to be affirmed and to be encouraged. Yet I suspect many of them don't have the opportunity to hear kind or tender words from their own families on a regular basis. But here in the Sanctuary, they are held, hugged and cared for with tender loving care and they are certainly blessed with words of life and love that no doubt draw them back each day. Interacting with them is like watching a little rose slowly blooming as they give love and affection so freely, displaying the splendor that God has bestowed within them.
While all that was happening at the Kids club, the last two mornings mothers have been coming by with their young children wanting to give them to Chantha and Bunthan. It is such an irony that the kids have so much love to give but the parents in this community seem to have so little love to offer. We are now up to 5 kids whose parents want to give them up. It seems that word has gotten out that Pastor Chantha and Bunthan are keeping baby Joshua and as such it has led to other families coming forward wanting to hand over their kids to them. This is just another example of how little kids are valued and viewed in this community. Children are either seen as a burden or a commodity to be sold rather than a gift from God, a treasured possession to be cherished. Pastor Chantha is thinking about preaching a sermon on the gift of children next Sunday. Pray that God will breakdown this ongoing stronghold in Svay Pak that causes parents to so easily reject and abandon their children.