Last night during our first Coffee & Conversation of the New Year, our group continued with our regular cycle of asking and answering questions in English from a stack of cards. One of the questions was “What causes you stress?” Will suggested I go last, or not answer at all because I would need the next 4 hours to answer. Not true though. I don’t need 4 hours, just 2. I kept my answer short and sweet, and used yesterday’s EKC as an example of something that would normally stress me out to the max. As we said in our monthly newsletter, yesterday was also our first EKC of 2014. We were so ready to see our kids again; you know, our usual 8 to 10 kids. The lesson plan about the Rainforest was ready to go with a little room to spare in case we had 12 or so kids show up. The “ants on a log” snack was prepared (a short celery stick covered in peanut butter or Nutella with raisins on top), the games were divided to accommodate the younger kids and the older kids based on their reading levels, and the Rainforest word search was also created based on what I knew each child was capable of doing. It was totally, specifically ready for this group. But, as specific, perfected plans normally go, we had to switch up our game plan. Our regular 10 kids arrived, plus a few more kids, plus a few more.
We had a record breaking 17 kids present at yesterday’s English Kids Club! 17! The perfected lesson plan went out the window, and we worked with what we had. As I said, normally I’d be sweating from stress, but surprisingly I wasn’t stressed out at all. I was instead very pleasantly surprised, and all the plans turned into a 5 loafs of bread/2 fish situation. The snack somehow fed everyone, there were enough word searches to go around and suit the various reading levels of the new kids, and the games were neither too hard nor too easy for all 17. It was an amazing, surprising, non-stress inducing event. This does mean we need to take another look through our ready-made lesson plans and make some alterations, but we’re of course glad to do it. We’re excited to do it! One of the absolute most important lessons we’ve learned here on the mission field is to be flexible with our ministry and welcoming to every single individual. It doesn’t matter how far in advance or how down to the detail our plans are, if God wants them altered, switched, or thrown out completely in order to make room for His own, we will strive do so. While feeding the 500 with just 5 pieces of bread and a couple of fish is something only Jesus can achieve, we’re so thankful to have the opportunity to feed, teach, and have fun with those who walk through our doors. Everyone has a place and the chance to belong, no matter where they’ve come from.
We have 7 more little blessings in our office who we hope to connect with over this spring. It’s going to be a good semester!