Camp has been going great! The children are very sweet....many of them clamour to hold our hands or just to have a hand on our arm. Sometimes I'll have four kids hanging off of me as I lead them to the crafts class. Or they'll just walk up, say my name and hug me. I ask for the gift of tongues so I can speak to them individually, ask about their lives, their interests etc....but God hasn't answered that yet. =) All I can say is their name and hug them back. Sometimes planting a kiss on their grimy foreheads. And speaking of grimy....I'm realizing (again) just how different their world is from ours. We were discussing logistics of the camp and suggested having the children all sit on big carpets in the main hall...and that children should remove their shoes so they don't track the dirt from the field in. We were told that was a bad idea since many of the children would have spreadable fungal and bacterial infections on their feet. I would've never thought of that. The children will touch their feet absent-mindedly and then those same hands grab mine or stroke my arm or touch my hair. By the end of the day my hands and arms smell like their unwashed bodies. (And I can imagine some of you pulling your lips back in an "ew" kind of expression.) But then I was struck by how Jesus carried our filth in the same way....except He willingly touched us (sans latex gloves). He initiated the relationship because He loved us so much. I am humbled as I realize that I often do not initiate touching the children....and that I sometimes cringe inwardly when I think about where their hands have been before grasping mine.
Can I say I love them? I want to be that extension of God's love to them but I have a long ways to go to having a Christ-like heart. I pray I learn how to love the children more...and better.