More Like Jesus Loves Me

VBS games
I taught VBS the last week of August at the chapel we attend.  I was exhausted dealing with fourteen little 6, 7, and 8 year olds–I can barely remember that this was my “life” just over 4 years ago.  The children who attended were all truly great kids, but there were a few moments and a few personalities that tested my patience a little bit.  
 
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Our class had a few volunteers who were young sailors and Marines who are stationed here for their A-schools, and they were amazing with the boys and the girls and an incredible help to me. The kids climbed all over our volunteers, racing and challenging our sailors and Marines when they played at sports time, showing off their artistic talent during craft times, and trying to impress them with their knowledge during our lessons. It was also great fun for me to be around such helpful and positive young people–a blessing of our work here in Pensacola.
 
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There was one little boy (actually more than one), who though very intelligent  and sweet, began to get under my skin just a bit.   I was so impressed by his vocabulary and utter cuteness that at first I didn’t notice his neediness. He would screech when the kids cheered and was often demanding and clingy.  He didn’t want to participate in the outdoor activities for longer than a few minutes and he quickly finished his crafts and looked for more “creative” things to do. When there was a drawing for prizes he cried when he didn’t win anything and I kindly reminded him that there was a whole room full of children who hadn’t won anything.  I found myself saying teacher things like, “Use your words!” and “We aren’t moving until you’re quiet!” or “Dennis–just STOP!”  I don’t remember Jesus talking the the little children that way…
 
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 Finally on the last night, after the closing ceremony, I asked a friend about Dennis.
It turns out Dennis’s dad has died.  His mom has an addiction and she recently spent some time in rehab, so he lived with her parents.  When she came home, she made the difficult decision that she couldn’t support Dennis and so his aunt and uncle–his father’s brother-decided they would adopt him.  So he just moved across country, became a big brother and he has a new mom and dad.  TWO WEEKS AGO.
 
Clingy?
Demanding?
Loud?  
Whiney?
Imagine. . .
 
I told Jonathan, one of  the young Marine who worked with Dennis, his back story and I could see the lump form in his throat.  All week Jonathan had poured into a little boy who has so many empty spaces–he couldn’t be filled.
 
I wish I had known and I would have loved him more like Jesus loves me. 
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About rickandjan

We are missionaries serving as the SE Region Director of Operations with Cru Military. Rick handles the operations and Jan tries to keep up with the communications.
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3 Responses to More Like Jesus Loves Me

  1. Steve says:

    I just found your blog. This is an amazing story. Just a couple of weeks ago we celebrated our 7th family birthday. That’s the day we picked up 3 of our kids. The 4th came a few weeks later. Although they are siblings they had been in 3 different foster homes for 3 years of their young lives. This story serves to remind me that even 7 years later there are some special needs that cry out to be filled. I pray that I am able to see the need and not just the behavior.

  2. Rick and Jan,

    So good to read this post. My family has “adopted” a single-mom and her 4 kids. Suffice it to say, the institutions of man have failed this family, and the Lord decided to take over. He spoke quite loudly to me: ” They need a family. Go BE their family. Sometimes I get a bit grouchy with all the demands this little mission places on me, like “Lord, you do know that I have a job, a wife, kids, and other commitments, and yet you demand MORE”. He always answers: “I gave my life for you.” I am convicted, and humbled.

    Please pray for us, as we are praying for you.

    Semper Fi,
    Steve T.

  3. rickandjan says:

    Thanks Steve–we can always use a little more conviction. We will be praying for all of you.

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