Making a "heart trail" all over the church one day with all different sizes and colors of paper hearts and chocolate hearts that the kids had to follow as they entered the church. It led to a SpongeBob gift bag that had airheads and a book inside. And I related the trail to following God's plan for us. How He wants so so bad to bless us but can't if we don't let Him.
Making tons and tons of home-made Valentines with the kids (over 200) and delivering over 70 to Arthur's Nursing Home. Giving the rest to others to remind them of God's love for them. The responses of people have made my day. Cooks... Janitors... people I wanna thank and also remind of how much me and God love them. ... :) A cook hung hers in Kise and it's still hanging there. It has animal print stickers that say "Crazy about God!" on it. ... :D ... And the Janitors at Hope were so thankful. One said he's never received a Valentine before.
Sharing my sponsored child Dayana (a four year-old from Ecuador) with the kids so that they can make and send her stuff.
Telling the kids all about Ash Wednesday. What it is and why we use ashes. Telling them how Lent is a special time to reflect on why we need Jesus to save us. How sinful we are. A time to reflect and be sorry for our sins. And a time to reflect on His death and His grace. A time to grow closer to Him. A time to give up something for Him as we reflect and grow. Nothing we could give up could ever compare to what God gave up: His only Son and to what Jesus gave up: His life.
The kids really get it! And we are asking them to all give something up for Lent. It is so awesome to hear their responses. They are giving up things they really really love: their DSs!!! Video games, Wii, TV, pizza, etc. ... One kid proudly said, "I think I am going to give up video games for a few days, TV for a few days, and going to the bathroom for a few days." ... he was serious haha... and so cute!
Going to the Ash Wednesday service at Hope. I loved every bit of it more than expected. I loved what we all said,
"O God, you are so compassionate. You are slow to anger and you are so full of mercy. This night I come before You knowing the weight and burden of my sin. Savior, please take my hand. I work so hard. Life seems to go by so fast. I try to be tough, but I'm just not strong enough. I can't do life alone. O God, I need Your hold on me. I am nothing without Your old rugged cross in my life. Savior, keep saving me. Everything You are to me is everything I'll ever need. Help me to accept the fact that I don't have to prove a thing because you're the One Who's saving me. You are the only One who can wash away my sin. Thank You, Jesus. Amen."
(I stole a program because I liked that haha)
And I really loved every word of the sermon. It was way more powerful and good than I ever expected. I hope they post that sermon online because it is one I want to share and remember. I loved every song too...
Working on Valentines for all the kids and my family and friends and picking the perfect presents for each of them... haha, I am such a perfectionist and I truly have so much fun.
Spending time with my family. With my beloved and amazing grandparents. And just with family.
I have not done enough of that lately!!! But it's what I look forward to, love, and cherish.
I can not wait for tomorrow and this weekend. Becca's play and time with family, grandparents, aunts, and all. Can't wait.
All the nice people and coworkers at Hope.
The cooks at Kise! :D
Today helping the preschoolers give out their Valentines. Wishing everyone Happy Valentines and giving them the special things I picked... And oh man, most fun thing of all was taking groups of kids on a scavenger hunt all over the church. We ran to eight different locations, including the fridge in the kitchen, the balcony of the church, a boat in one of the rooms, and many other places. The adrenaline was high, and it was so much fun! At each location I made one kid read the "Letter from God" (a Bible verse about God's love for us) And I made sure they all heard and understood it. And one kid read the clever and cute clue. ... Then we ran. And at the end it led to the Bible, God's ultimate love letter. And I let a kid open it to whatever it opened to and I read them God's love letter on that page. I explained the whole thing is one jam-packed love letter. That some of it might still be confusing to them, but as they get older they will understand how even the confusing stuff makes sense and adds to God's plan and love. Sending His Son to save and love us. ... And man, they picked beautiful passages about God's love.
This was part of one of the passages they opened to,
“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
And we gave them a John 3:16 Valentine. ... and of course we played tons of other fun games today!! And made tons of cool Valentines things to eat and partied it up. It was fun!! And the kids are getting the message. That God loves them. And that we can share His love on Valentine's Day and every day. They are getting it.
They are the sweetest kids.
I am blessed.
Blessed by everything in my life but incomparably most of all by Jesus.
He is my strength and my hope.
Without Him I wouldn't be able to get through all the times during the day that I feel tired or afraid. He is the One who gives me words, gives me energy, carries me, and reminds me of what's important when I constantly what to make everything about me. He reminds me of what matters: loving others, following, and submitting to Him. I am so thankful and in need of the way Jesus is the One who carries, leads, holds, protects, and works through me. He is the only good in me. And His love for me is like no other.
"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my Lover among the young men."
-Song of Solomon 2:3