Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Heart of a Child

A few weeks ago my church gave us the wonderful opportunity to sponsor a child through Compassion International. I suspected that there would not be enough children to satisfy the demand so I chose to wait. Sure enough, all 25 children were quickly sponsored. I wasn't too worried, as I knew I could sponsor a child online or wait until the church received more profiles of children who were needing sponsorship.

I luckily was asked to help with the Compassion International table this morning. I was quite excited about it. Not sure exactly why. On a basic level I just like having something to do. On a deeper level, I do care for a ministry such as this one. On a more superficial level, I'd probably do anything this friend of mine asked, just to help her or the church out.

My wonderful friend thought it'd be a great idea to separate them into boys and girls and even put them in order of age. I scoffed at her (in jest) and later she laughed at me when so many came up wanting a specific aged child! I suppose she was right in the extra effort it took to group them by age and gender.

As I was putting them in order I realized that this was a great opportunity to choose a child for my family. I picked out two girls that were about Katie's age for her to choose from. I wanted them to be similar to Katie and they were: Kindergarteners who enjoyed helping out their mom and dad with chores, loved playing with dolls, and the most important thing: She had to be wearing a dress. Katie has quite a penchant for dresses. (and the frillier the better!)

In my mind, I thought she'd choose a little girl named Sara who wore a blue dress with a flower on it, but instead she chose a little girl in a more traditional dress. They both were beautiful girls. After she chose little Ayoko she wanted to hold her picture, and went all around church showing everyone her new friend. I thought it was really sweet.

Then we went to lunch with some friends. Katie did not want to let go of Ayoko's photo. She asked if she could go to Ayoko's house to play. I tried to explain to her that Ayoko lived in a different country, far away from her. She still did not get it and asked if she'd see Ayoko at church. Again, I patiently tried to explain the whole concept of living very far away, but we could write to her and maybe send her stickers and a photo of our family. Excitement once again shone in her face as she tried to think what type of princess sticker Ayoko would like best: Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty (a.k.a. Princess Aurora or Briar Rose..... surely you know Sleeping Beauty's real names!)

At dinner tonight Katie wanted to pray. (She always wants to pray aloud at meals) She used to pray long prayers thanking God for everything in sight as well as the things she holds near and dear to her: Ladybugs, turtles, flowers, etc. Ever since my church's KSK (VBS) program she's a bit more focused in her prayers and she ALWAYS thanks Him for the day, herself/ourself, Her family, food, the Bible, the day, and tonight she thanked God for her new friend Ayoko. (though she couldn't quite pronounce it well)

I love the simplicity, gratitude and joy that my kids have for God. There is such a limited understanding and yet it doesn't matter; they somehow trust that their God is a great and kind God. One that loves them. it's fun to listen to their "theological" conversations of how God can be everywhere and why God wants them to obey parents. (really; it's all quite cute) Katie delights in God's creation. They know that God is the Creator and it's pretty funny that they believe that God made EVERYTHING: Cars, their Bible, toys, etc. Reid asked me the other day how God made his Bible and we had quite an interesting discussion about the BIble.

It's official: According to Katie, Ayoko is now one of our family; her sister and friend. It doesn't seem to phase her that Ayoko and her look nothing alike. It's really cool how none of my kids have ever seemed to even notice differences in skin tones or race. Of course, I'm sure it's that way since they are familiar with diversity and cultures. It really makes me smile the love they have for others and just the simplicity and love found in the heart of a child.

Ayoko, I hope you like princess stickers!

PS. I did not feel right posting Ayoko's photo so instead here's Katie dressed up as a princess. The first one is her pretending to be The Little Mermaid. (Ariel) The 2nd is just a fun one of her in princess garb. Her lip looks funny because she had stitches in it.

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