Last Thursday was a wonderful day at Elmwood UMC, until the last 5 minutes of program, when one of our amazing youth, Velvet, told us that it would be her last day. Her dad got a new job and would be unable to drive her and her ADORABLE younger sister Mayleen (a saccharine little 1st grader with a Whitney Houston bob that is the envy of Elmwood) to site each day. Velvet is one of those kids in youth who is just sweet to everyone, always has a smile, and participates emphatically in every activity. Mayleen is in the youngest age group in the elementary program, the purple group. I’m so blessed to lead the purple group during Bible lesson every day, and what a joy it is to watch kids like Mayleen learn about God. A few weeks ago, she told me during Bible time (we were talking about God as the potter and his children as the clay) that she wants God to mold her into a policewoman when she grows up. She lets other kids cut in line for the water fountain. She is constantly smiling and laughing. How do you say goodbye to a duo like that?
We were honestly devastated. Everyone rode home from site that day with a weight on our shoulders, a pit in our stomachs, and an ache in our hearts. We had to be so thankful to God that their father found work, but losing two of your sweetest kids is a really tough pill to swallow.
I know that I and many of my fellow interns prayed about the situation. We thanked God for our time with Velvet and Mayleen, for blessing their dad with a new job, and for the possible security it could bring to their family. We called on God to bring us peace in coping with the ennui of missing these two sweet girls. We asked him to intervene, if it was in his will, and keep them at our site. There had to be a way to keep these girls in our program! They were such a blessing!
The following Monday was the start of Suncreek UMC’s annual reading week. This is my home church, and I was really pumped to see all of my friends (and even my sweet saintly mother) at my work, and to introduce them to my incredible kids. All of this excitement was overshadowed, however, by the impending dread we all shared at facing our first day at site without Velvet and Mayleen. They just added so much to our program, and we were so truly saddened at this loss. I had to pray again on the way to site, just to try to appease the sadness I was feeling. I know, I know, this sounds so dramatic, but we really love our kids at Elmwood, and if you met these two, you’d be pretty bummed too.
I was bouncing around during check-in as some of my friends from church made their way to the volunteer room, and I swear I saw out of the corner of my eye, Mayleen’s little curls bouncing around. Was my grief driving me to hallucinations? I shook it off and continued my rounds. A few minutes later, I thought I heard Velvet’s voice, and I ran to the gym, my heart filled with hope. My jaw dropped! Mayleen and Velvet were there! In front of me! I pinched myself and just inquired “How?!?” incredulously. It turns out Velvet and Mayleen figured that they should go out on a limb and invite their neighbors to join the program, with the stipulation that they could carpool to site. The neighbors were so excited to be there, and as if recovering my girls wasn’t a blessing enough, our new students are so awesome too! They are smart, positive, well-behaved, kind, and pretty funny once they get comfortable with you.
I did my happy dance, got on with my day, and was reminded of just how much I love my kids, and more importantly, the power of prayer! God is GOOD!
Intern, Elmwood UMC
Project Transformation 2012