“I love the tap, tap, tapping of the raindrops. I love the buzz, buzz, buzzing of the bees. But the thing I love the best, the very very best, is to know that Jesus loves me!”
I love how the Lord uses the simple things, like this sweet little tune to speak to my heart so deeply. These past few days our STINT team and the Summer Project team (who arrived last Sunday) were blessed with the opportunity to help hold a Holiday Club, which is much like a Vacation Bible School, for some kids who are living in a township here in Port Elizabeth called Walmer Township. (For those of you who do not know what a “township” is check out this page – Townships (South Africa) ) We partnered with a ministry located in the township called Jerusalem Ministries that is striving to help children and their families in this poverty stricken region to create and develop a safe and functional home and growing environment. They do this by creating opportunities for the younger children to go to school there and equipping the parents with life skills and providing avenues for income for their families, as well as providing a facility to both work in and leave open as a safe place for the children to play.
Planting seeds as one of the crafts with the kids (showing them how they are growing in Jesus too)
Each day of the Holiday Club nearly 50 kids showed up to the program and we all had a wonderful time playing with them and seeing each of them so full of joy and glimmers of hope in their eyes. We made crafts with them,such as planting seeds to talk about how Jesus helps us grow in Him and making Jesus bracelets through sharing the gospel with them, as well as there were lots of fun songs and the kids even taught us some cultural dancing…so fun! You could see the deep desire for each of these children to be loved and cherished by how they would excitedly jump into your arms and sweetly take your hand to lead you on an adventure or simply to be next to you. But even deeper than that, it struck me how much they really understood the depth of who Jesus is and how excited they were to sing songs about the Lord’s love for them, and many of which were sung in Xhosa which was so beautiful to hear! As we were singing with the kids, the Lord brought these verses to mind:
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth:make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praise.”
…as well as…
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Children singing “This Little Light of Mine” at Jerusalem Ministries
…When we begin to fully grasp the Jesus of the Bible and the hope of the Gospel, we cant help but overflow with joy through the Spirit!…and spending time with these kids was certainly a glimpse of what that looks like!
Also, recently there has been a lot of flooding in the townships with the hectic amount of rain we have had here in P.E. within the last week. As a result, many of the families living in the townships are struggling to have somewhere warm and dry to stay, so Jerusalem Ministries opened their place for people to stay there for the night. This brought me back to the little tune they were singing in the beginning…. “I love the tap, tap, tapping of the raindrops…” and how even in the midst of hardship, including being unable to sleep in your own home due to flooding, each of these little children are radiant with joy and love to sing songs of praise to the Lord. I realized that they have begun to grasp, even as little children, what it truly means to find joy even in the midst of suffering and hardship, allowing them to turn to the Lord to make something beautiful out of it all. It is incredibly humbling and yet so wonderful all at the same time!
This sweet little girl was called Yonela and she loved to be held!
It truly was such a blessing to spend time with these little ones and I hope we will again sometime soon! In the meantime I have a sweet little tune stuck in my head to remind me of the most wonderful and profound truth and joy of all…
Girls teaching us their dance at Jerusalem Ministries
“…the thing I love the best, the very very best, is to know that Jesus loves me!”