Mentoring builds relationships one precious moment at a time. It's wise to remember special moments and use them as stepping stones of wisdom in future relationship building. Last year as we were leaving, we asked one of the boys what we could bring the next time we visited. His answer was a Blue Gatorade and some Takis. We knew about Gatorade, but Takis was new to us. They taste like somebody combined a snack with a flame thrower! Kids like tasty heat! Most stores carry them so they were easy to find. On our next trip, we brought a case of Gatorade and a case of Takis. We gave them to the boy who requested them (planting the suggestion that he might want to share them!) His eyes lit up and he smiled. We had kept our word.
To many children, commitment is a foreign word representing an unknown promise. There's a lot of parents and adults who say a lot of things and never do what they say they'll do. The Gatorade and Takis represented a relationship breakthrough. Keeping your word means you care. Children quickly recognize the difference between truth tellers and fakers.
The last few moments of our most recent trip to NAOMI House represent an opportunity for greater relationship building. Several of the youngsters were having fun until something happened that hurt someone's feelings. One of the girls sat alone in the sand with her head down feeling sad. Kneeling down beside her at eye level, I asked what we could bring her the next time we came back. She said, "Blue Takis." I asked her to repeat what she said to make sure I'd heard correctly. "Blue Takis." Her answer was immediately imprinted on my heart. The sad feelings started to fade away. This moment too will fade away and probably won't be remembered until we show up with Blue Takis.
There were many beautiful and fun times that far outnumbered any sad moments. There was the bouncy house, face painting, squirting each other with water bottles, Bible stories and a wonderful lunch. We're grateful for all the volunteers from Urban Hope Church, Youth With A Mission, Hope Cottage, Youth With A Purpose and Compassion Ministries. Mostly though, we're grateful for the children and staff at NAOMI House who do something beyond anything we could imagine. They cause us to leave them with more love in our hearts than when we arrived.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Go do something nice for somebody.
Jesus loves you and so do we.