5 Minutes of My Day: Evan
I’m here in Miami for our first day of ministry. The team is hustling about, Liz is running around, ensuring everything is flowing well.. and things are kicking into gear for a big week of VBS ministry at the church.
I’m a floater, here to help wherever. I find myself being pulled into the largest class – 3, 4 and 5 year olds. As I walk over, I notice there’s a little boy crying hysterically – I’m not sure why.
As I introduce myself to the kids, they ask me if I’m pregnant, I tell them yes. Their eyes light up and the questions start: Is it a boy or girl? Is it twins? What’s his name? – “his name is Edison.” I tell them.
“Sonson!” they cry out, his nickname in Creole. My heart warms. They come up and touch my belly, telling me of their various brothers and sisters – I smile and remind them to be careful.
I pull the little one into my lap and rock him as he cries into my chest. I try to soothe him..the other kids tell me he always cries, everyday. His name is *Evan. Then after about 15 minutes he falls asleep whispering “mama, I want mama.”
I wonder if Edison will cry for me like that someday.
Later in the afternoon, he’s entering his third “rage” of the day. Simply wilting in front of the team as crying and hysteria ensue. While I feebly try to console him to no avail, he fights against me and (accidentally) hits me in the belly. I tell him again, “there’s a baby inside of me, you have to be gentle.” About that time an older man from the church sees this happen and gently takes his little hands and tells him firmly to get up. Evan immediately responds. The gentleman tells me he’s taking him to “the back room”.. I laugh. He eyes me with understanding.. he’s done this before. When he comes back out, it’s a complete transformation in Evan. He has Evan apologize to me for hitting me in the belly. I can tell he feels bad, as he checks in on Edison throughout the day. And although it was an accident and nothing to be worried about, it makes my heart glad to see him concerned. Even at 5 years old, he must remember when his little brother was born and how he had to be gentle with mom while she was pregnant.
The older gentleman and I laugh together as he explains that he fake called Evan’s mom. His crying stopped at the mention of mom.
I wonder, will Edison stop crying at the mention of calling me? I smile. Evan knows it’s not a good thing if mom gets a call from VBS.
The older man in charge explains to me that he, along with a few other kids at the summer program, have an array of attention and anxiety disorders. In some cases, they can’t be in a normal day-care situation and specialized day-care is too expensive for the families, so they bring them to the church VBS/summer program. Parents have to keep working, but can’t leave the kids at home. Catch 22. Can’t stay home, cause they need the income to sustain the family.
I am sitting here taking a break and I think about these workers here at the church and how exhausted they must be. I’ve been here one day and I’m drained. I can see why our team being here is a huge help – it’s respite care for the volunteers.
They’ve been going for 6 weeks so far, everyday 7 am to 5 – 6pm.
They have activities to fill the entire day.
They also feed the kids lunch and 2 snacks.
There’s over 100 kids everyday.
All on their own, a group of maybe 10 volunteers.
It’s the end of the week and I’ve developed little attachments to the various kids in my class. There are about 20 of them total with probably 8 of them having attention issues. But oh goodness, they are so hilarious, I’ve learned some of their little quirks and their favorite foods. I’ve learned about their families and met some of their parents. I’ve laughed so much – kid’s say the darnedest things, right? Their joy has been my joy this week. Their laughter, my laughter.
So as I sit here, 7 months pregnant, ankles swollen and ligaments overworked from carrying little ones around all week, I find myself in a quiet moment. Evan and I are sitting, waiting for the closing program to start. The other kids are running around and I know I should probably be getting up to help corral them. But Evan is so calm next to me, a blessing, so I stay seated.
I look down to see his little hands tracing outlines on my belly. He hugs me and cups his hands to whisper. As I listen, I can hear him speaking to Edison in Creole and English. “Sonson, mama ou bel. Sonson, ou tande’m? Sonson what are you doing in there? I have a (toy) car out here, do you want to play?..”
My heart beats out of my chest as I hold my breath to hear his tiny voice. It’s such a beautiful moment, I don’t want to miss a second. Tears flow down my cheeks.
In that moment, it was like Christ was there with me… saying “See? See what I can do when you trust me? This is what I had planned for you this summer.”
I could feel His presence, connecting me to His heart. Filling my lungs with praise and my heart with love. It was like Christ was in Evan’s little hands, tracing outlines on my belly, breathing life and promise and hope and beauty into my future, into His Plan for Me.
Father, in these little moments You find me.
In the little moments, You craft a love letter to me. Painting in the skies a message, only for me.
I see You.
*Name changed for privacy
This particular snapshot was from my summer 2014. When a last minute decision by my doctor left me staying at home for the summer instead of leading mission trips in Haiti with Eric. I ended up working in Miami for a few weeks, serving the Haitians in three communities. God knew what he was up to.
5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is, the good the bad and the ugly. Snapshots of 5ish minutes of my day.