This month has been one of the busiest we’ve experienced since we’ve lived here. It’s been absolutely crazy. A good crazy, of course. There have been end of the year parties, service projects, fests, outings, dinners, celebrations… And it’s only mid-June. But through all that has gone on, there are two events of importance that will always stick out in our minds when we think back to June 2013.
Tuesday, June 11th was a momentous day in the life of English Kids Club as we celebrated the last EKC of the 2012-2013 year. It represented endings as well as new beginnings, and we watched God go to work as He always does when we least expect it. Will and I began planning the End of the Year party several months back. Since it was our first time to plan the party we weren’t entirely sure what it was going to look like, but after some idea swapping with Mendy Kooi, we decided to bring the Oklahoma Christian University Study Abroad students on board and before long we had the makings of a carnival. The students paired up and planned various games and challenges for our EKC kids to do on their last day, activities like Sack Races, Candy Walk, Face Painting, and several more. The carnival was supposed to take place outside the office, but we had to scramble and change plans due to the downpour that began before we got started. We were sure our regular kids wouldn’t show up because of the rain, but like I said, God worked in a way we weren’t expecting and all of our regular kids plus a few more came and our carnival was in full swing. God is good.
The kids and the students played together for about an hour while Will, Kim, Josh, Jake, Amanda, and I chatted with the parents. Once we noticed that the majority of the kids had taken an interest in the giant puddles outside instead of the carnival, we brought the carnival to a close and had the kids come inside for their performance. The kids sang “In the Jungle” to the parents as a cute demonstration of what they learned during our “Jungle Week”. After the performance, we graduated 8 kids – 7 boys and 1 girl – and gave them all a graduation certificate and a frisbee (which they later used as buckets for the puddles outside – whoops) as a way to remember their time at EKC. We ended the party on a bit of an emotional note as this was the last English Kids Club for the Hensal family. Kim was the brains behind the program so EKC has always been especially close to her heart. As a way of saying thank you, the kids as well as the rest of the team signed their names on a yellow canvas that reads “We Love You”, and the kids presented it to Kim. It was a tearful yet special moment, and a very sweet end to the EKC year.
Another event Will and I worked on was what we called “Hensal Sunday” which took place yesterday. Hensal Sunday was a time for everyone in both our congregation as well as the congregation across the river to come together and celebrate the good and missional works of the Hensals’ 6 years in Vienna. We began the day singing the Hensals’ favorite worship songs on blankets under the trees in Hirschtettner Badeteich, a park that is especially close to the hearts of those in our church as several baptisms have taken place there. After worship, anyone who wanted to was given the opportunity to share memories and give well-wishes to the Hensal family. During that time, a German Bible for Josh and Kim was passed around for people to sign and highlight favorite scriptures, and a journal for the kids was passed around for note writing. The time of sharing brought forth lots of tears as the church family expressed their deep love for the Hensal family. Once everyone had shared, we brought the Hensals to the middle and prayed over them and their upcoming journey. Then to conclude Hensal Sunday, we picnicked together while the kids took off to the lake for an after-lunch swim. It was a beautiful day.
Since most of our programs and events have ended or are winding down, most of our time this week will be dedicated to helping the Hensals pack. We ask that you be in fervent prayer for our church and especially for the Hensals during these last few weeks of transition.