(This post was started a few weeks back... Sorry for the delay in posting...)
When we lived in Knoxville, our family was blessed to serve at Water Angels Ministry. We found out about it from the O'Leary family, who now runs Feeding the Orphans. One of our favorite ways to serve was to help with their Saturday ministry to the homeless children in our community. This special time with the kids is called Shining Stars. Each week, the children come and participate in worship, a Bible lesson, a craft and some games. The photo above was taken several years ago when the boys were leading worship at Water Angels. Yes, that is Mason playing guitar. Doesn't he look tiny?
As we were preparing to move to Ghana, we had a conversation with Righ and Kristie O'Leary. We asked them how we could serve them best here in Ghana. Righ quickly answered, "Do something like Shining Stars with the kids there. You know, like we do at Water Angels. Do something like that to show the kids the love of Jesus."
So now...we are taking Shining Stars to the children of Ghana.
Recently, we led a Shining Star day at one of the orphanages here. On this day, Mason came with his guitar and led the kids through his strumming. I sang along and even did the motions to "Every Move I Make." Now that's a blast from the past!
The children clapped, sang along, and LOVED it!
After the music, we did a Bible lesson. The older boys found the scriptures and we talked about how much God cares for them. God knows their names. God knows the number of hairs on their heads. He knows their every thought. And, He loves them. Some of the children were wide-eyed as we shared Truth with them.
On this day, Reid held Godwin while we did the lesson. Godwin was battling malaria, and running a fever. Bless his heart, we were well over an hour drive from our home when we realized he had a fever. Godwin stayed in Reid's lap the entire time.
This summer, an FTO volunteer lived at this home and shared a story with us. The volunteer had brought his malaria medication in his prescription bottle to the home. One of the boys saw the bottle and was literally amazed that his name was printed on the label. In fact, the boy said he had never seen printed name. For three nights, the boy could not sleep because this "printed name" intrigued him so much.
After I heard the story, I wondered if the children own anything with their name on it. It seemed doubtful.
Several years ago, I was really into "stamping." As we weeded through things to bring here to Ghana, one of the things that made it to the "take to Ghana" pile was some of my alphabet stamps. I figured we would be able to do several things with them and they were non consumable. This day showed me what a blessing these little wooden blocks would be.
The children received paper, scissors, etc... and were able to stamp their own name! The kids were so excited! After each child stamped their name, we found a special verse for each child.
As soon as the boys finished stamping their names, they wanted to hang their creations up in their rooms! Oh, it was precious! Even the older boys were thrilled with the project!
The children took such pride in their artwork. Concentrated eyes focused on making their paper perfect. Every child was so happy to have something beautiful with their name on it and a Bible verse to remind them of God's love for them!
Desmond is happy to show off his special creation hung on the wall beside his bed!
After the craft comes snack time! The boys were thrilled with Beebe popcorn!
Abigail squared! Love it!
Joseph came to join us at the end of our day. It was such a gift to have him participate because it was the first time he has engaged with us. Joseph was so intense stamping his name. I loved seeing him make something for himself.
At the end of the day, we received a special sign for our wall as well. Joson made us this hand-stamped message of love and it now hangs in our dining room. I love it when God sends us special gifts like that! What a wonderful day with the God's precious children!
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my past and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
YOu hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.