By Jolene Maxwell, Field Ed Student
Last Sunday my leader (Gala) and I took two of the kids from programs out to sing at a church that was having a missions-focused Sunday. This was significant to the two kids because it made them feel special and cared for, it was something exciting for them. It was a great way to spend extra time with these two girls and tell them that they are worth something. We picked the kids up at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, where we run programs. First, Melanie (name changed) arrived bright eyed and cheery faced. She was a chatter-box as we waited for the other girl. Sarah (name changed) arrived shortly after in her Sunday best, wearing a stripped skirt and matching sweater. Her mom had given her a dollar for offering. It was clearly a big day for them. We set off in the car, promising to stop at Tim Horton’s to get them something before heading to the church. On the way Melanie talked non-stop telling all sorts of stories. Dave, the Executive Director of Toronto City Mission was there as well to share a message. He greeted one of the girls with a kiss on the forehead. The girls thought this was funny and giggled endlessly about it.
We went through the songs a few times so the girls could get in a final practice or two. Then we sat and waited for the service to start. The girls sat still as the service began and sung loudly to songs they did not know as worship started up. They were eager to participate. Finally it was their turn to do the songs they had prepared. They were announced as special guests and went up and did a fantastic job of the songs they had practiced. Both Gala and I were so proud.
We took the girls down to the kids Sunday school programs. We weren’t sure they would want to stay by themselves, as both these girls are not used to going to church with their families, but they were happy to go on their own!
After church we mingled with a few guests and stayed for a potluck. The girls were congratulated over and over again for their good job. You could tell by their smiles that this really meant a lot to them.
After the time there we headed to McDonalds to play at the play place. On our way we ended up talking about Heaven and how Jesus was the only way to get there. It was a cool way to be able to share the gospel quickly and had the girls thinking about what it meant.
After McDonalds we were all tired and went to drop the girls off at home. As we drove to Melanie’s apartment, the lingering smells and the rough neighbourhood residents reminded me that these girls were from such different backgrounds.
As I think of this whole experience, it is more than taking two girls on a trip to sing a song at a church, but it is taking two kids on a journey of faith, to meet Jesus and to see a different way of life.