Saturday, July 27, 2013

AK 2013: the one with the First Aid Clinic

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:34-40
Tuesday, June 25th
Tuesday morning.  
The morning of the day with the First Aid clinic...and...I am excited!!!
Gone is the pit in the stomach whenever someone uses those three words in a sentence.  Gone are the anxious moments about what to do for this time in the park.  Gone is the dread, desperation, and doubt that there is a purpose in these hours about to be upon us.
Confidence and contentment are such better companions today.
Because God has a plan...and a sense of humor.
A plan He began last year.
A plan where He would remove me from the equation, yet require me to be a factor all at the same time.
A plan to involve many to reach many.
The ultimate plan to show Himself awesome and merciful.
But, I am getting ahead of myself...
After a good first day, we were excited to see what God had in store for today.  I was up and worked on t-shirts for upcoming teams before breakfast.  It was good to get some more work done in preparation of my departure at the end of the week.  Sad to think of it already...
I remained back from the hike this morning and continued working on prep work for upcoming weeks while others hiked and helped with make the kids' lunches with Mrs. L.  Tomorrow I will hike with the fam and team...today I needed to work.  I may or may not have consumed more coffee in those few hours than ever before in my life, but at least it was decaf.  :)  It was one of those mornings...
Today in the park, we were excited to see how the rootbeer floats would go over.  I was happy to see the sunshine remaining so that it would be a good day for an ice cream treat.  We get there to a few kids already in the park and NO police cars.  It is so awesome how these children make their way into your heart so quickly.  Only the official second day and I am so looking forward to the hugs and fun we get to share with them.
Kids come and get their lunches.  We brought some cardboard to put on our picnic table for a smoother top today.  It's a grand idea, as is putting the largest tarp we could find down for kids to sit on for lunches and the Bible lesson.  As the kids are finishing up lunches and beginning to play again, S and I go and purchase the ice cream and rootbeer at the store down the street.  Time to see what the kids will or will not do for an ice cream float.
Every single one of the children in the park, ages 2 to teenager, came and sat on that tarp. 
What an amazing God we serve to have initiated a conversation between N and one of our team/hosts about what treats they like in the summer.  From that conversation yesterday to having every child sitting and listening to the Bible story today, I stand in awe of the goodness of God.  He cares for those who need to hear His message of salvation through His Son, Jesus.  He uses all things to draw people unto Himself.
The kids heard the lesson and then enjoyed their treat until we ran out of ice cream and rootbeer.  The joy on their faces was priceless.  They smiled even bigger with the promise of another treat tomorrow.
More personal stories, crafts, and fun were shared throughout the afternoon.  Two brothers have become my helpers and my buddies.  One is more like my shadow.  :)
N and L have a story that will unfold more as this week goes on, I am sure.  As it does, I will do what I can to love on them and help them in any way possible.  Any level of cleanliness and personal hygiene is basically nonexistent.  Dirt is caked on them from head to toe.  One permeates an odor that is gut-wrenching.
But I hug them as if they were my own.
They are mine, afterall, for this week.
Each one of us has found ourselves claiming them all as our own.  It is evident we are where God wanted us to be, right when He wanted us here.  The ability to love on these children is nothing short of a miracle from God Himself.
The afternoon went by so quickly.  There was a lot less tension among the kids in the park today, too.  We were not for sure how things would go after yesterday's scuffle.  Thankful that the tempers cooled down and our time at the park went without yelling and screaming threats today.
We said our goodbyes and reminded them that if they came back to the park tonight and participated in our First Aid Clinic they would get a gift.  Some wanted to know what it was, but we told them it was a surprise. We had our wonderfully awesome, super delicious Alaskan fish dinner before the clinic.  (I am so going to miss blackened salmon...last year I craved it every Tuesday for a month once home.)  It was our clean up day, so after every meal today we helped with sweeping, cleaning the tables, taking out the trash, and refilling items on the table.  It's a little job when we all pitch in and help.
As we wrapped up the cleaning, I grabbed the box of stuffed animals...aka "Boo Boo Bears"...for the clinic. My mind kept racing, wondering how tonight was going to go.
Finally, after all the months of waiting it was time to see what God had in store for His idea of our First Aid Clinic.  I caught myself holding my breath as we drove up, wondering if any kids would come.  As soon as we were in sight of the park, I saw several children running around.  I could breathe again.  Even adults were milling around the park tonight.
We brought out the tarp.  I have come to love this tarp!  It is a symbol of something good to come to the children...both God's Word and something of this world.  The kids see the tarp, they know to come and sit on it.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude toward God for giving us over 25 kids at our First Aid Clinic. Adults sat around the edges.  An older brother of two of our regulars, sat on the edge looking in.  Never had a clinic been so well attended in the previous weeks.  It was God...and it was good!
I welcomed everyone to our clinic.  As we were all getting settled in on the tarp and I had just begun to speak, the ice cream truck rolled up right beside where I was standing and trying to talk.  Unbelieveable!  Satan did not want us to get through this night easily.  As some children ran over to the truck, although with absolutely no money, I called over my shoulder that they needed to remember about their gift after I was finished speaking.  Most of them sat back down quickly.  Sometime in the next few minutes, the truck pulled away.  Trying to refocus our group, I asked them what First Aid is and some gave some good answers.  Most answered that it was saving someone's life.  I addressed that First Aid can save someone's life, but most first aid is bandaging up wounds that we receive.  I talked about three types of injuries that everyone was familiar with: scratches, cuts, and burns.  There were several with stories to share about things that had happened to them and how they were taken care of when they got hurt.  I discussed with everyone how to first clean the wound and then cover/ice down the wound, depending upon it's severity.
As we wrapped up the discussion on those types of wounds, I introduced the second half of our clinic by saying that some wounds that we have cannot be seen on the outside of our skin like cuts and scrapes.  The wounds we carry on the inside from hurtful things that are said to us, feeling unloved and alone, to sickness that is not visible, such as cancer, that makes us sick or hurts us by taking someone we love away from us.  The First Aid that we covered for the unseen wounds was all about Jesus.  This is where it got good, folks.
Really Good.
For each type of unseen wound, I had one of the teenage girls read Scripture to help us realize how to "treat" it.  For feeling unloved and alone we read John 3:16; for sadness/hurt feelings we read James 5:14; and for serious illness we read Matthew 9:35.  Each of the girls read the verse and then explained it in kids' terms for them and shared about what the verse meant.  The girls did a wonderful job.  So proud of them!
After the girls shared, I summed up all of what we had discussed and prepared the kids for their gift by explaining that they were going to get to choose a stuffed animal to take home with them to have as a reminder of what to do when hurting from a wound...whether on the outside or the inside.  They were going to get to tie a bandage onto their Boo Boo Bear Bring on the stuffed animals.  On these bandages were the Scripture references that we had just read during our clinic.  God's Word was going home with them.  Some of the kids didn't just want three bandages, one of each Scripture, but lots more bandages!  I loved seeing the team/hosts helping tie those bandages onto the animals with the children.  One little tiger was all covered in strips of white cloth.  The smiles on their faces were priceless.  Even the boys who were rather standoffish picked out some of the most colorful animals we had to offer.  They even posed for a picture with them.  The littles running around had their arms full with their animals.  On the slide, the teeter-totter, the tire swing...everywhere you looked you saw children playing with their animals.  Warm fuzzies moment!!!
God did amazing things here tonight.  He made First Aid fun!  He gave the children something to smile about and take home with them.  And, He made a way for His Word to cross the threshold of every home represented at our clinic.  Most likely we are not going to get to see how those animals with bandages make a difference in someone's life this week, but someday the seed that was planted this very night at this very First Aid Clinic is going to be watered and harvested.  Praise our awesome God for His making a way in the wilderness!
After our clinic, we drove around being good Mooseinaries...missionaries looking for moose.  Found none of those, but we did find a McD's that drew the attention of some in our van wanting some ice cream or other treat.  It was a great day!
God is God and He is good!

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