Written By: Esther Tjeuw, Summer Intern
Yesterday was the day where I fell to my lowest point – and I wasn’t the only leader that broke down that day. In that moment, I forgot about hope. That day I felt like a mere babysitter but at the same time I also felt like it was my job to be the best babysitter in the world. If the kids weren’t entertained or happy with what I planned or how I lead as a teacher then it would mean that I had failed. But I was quickly reminded to turn back to God and see the little transformations in Kingston-Galloway.
*Zach, is a 6-year-old boy, who has been attending camp over the past two years. Zach could be described as the most miserable, most frustrated and easily angered kid at camp. Every time he would get mad, he’d yell at someone, cross his arms, pout and scream while walking away, “It’s not FAIR!” Zach would always need to be the first in line in everything we do especially during after school programs. In spite of this, when he and another kid were fighting about being first in line, Zach crossed his arms as usual. But what surprised me was when he said, “Humph! Fine. I’ll go to the back of the line because Jesus said whoever is first will be last and whoever is last will be first!” Now when our new kids are fighting over being first in line, I will bring Zach to tell them that being first isn’t everything.
Then there’s 7-year-old *Tiffany. The first time I met her, I can’t lie, she was one of the kids who I found harder to love because she always demanded everything and never wanted to share. Because Tiffany's two closest friends received attention from getting in trouble, it was clear that she felt the need to get in trouble in order to constantly gain approval of staying in the group called, “the tomboys.” Recently, Tiffany is one of the first people to be sitting quietly while the leaders are trying to get the attention of everyone else. She no longer wants to get in trouble to get attention. Instead, Tiffany always wants to be the one to pray and gets upset when she doesn’t get to. Tiffany will be the only one to want to summarize the bible story in great detail. And when I read from the bible during our small group times, I can see the spirit working through her in how her eyes widen in amazement followed by questions filled with wonder.
Lastly, there’s *Kenneth. Kenneth lives with his mom and older sister. He always got into verbal and physical fights with girls and ignored the female leaders. Even though I know he (and half of the other kids) would ignore me when I ask questions like, “how was your weekend?” I would ask them anyways. This week, he started to reply to me! The other interns even pointed out how my face lights up every time he talks to me. Last Tuesday, he pretended to fart on me then giggled – his way of showing affection. That was the biggest highlight of my week.
At this point, I could go over every single kid and share about their personal growth but what’s important is that I wouldn’t have been motivated if I weren’t reminded that God is working! Many times I’m so caught up in the doing of things that I fail to see what God is doing. He is the hope in Kingston Galloway, a community that is in need of His love to heal over broken relationships and families. Even though we can’t see fruit that God is doing in each moment of the day, I need to be reminded that God is changing people's hearts and lives.
I am reminded that I cannot let go of Hope in God or else my purpose will be lost.
"Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." Luke 17:33
Esther has been interning at Toronto City Mission for the past 2 summers and volunteers her time at Kingston Galloway during the afterschool program.
*name has been changed due to privacy.