Train Up A Child
Working with youth is always a challenging job. It wasn’t that long ago since I was one of them myself. I remember moments when I saw things differently than my parents and other adults who were responsible for me. At times, I felt like writing myself a letter with advice for when I grew older. Then as time went by I began to remove things one by one from that mental list as I started to realize my parents and the adults in my life were right about most of the things I disagreed with. Do you remember such moments from your youth years? What helped us make it? When trying to put my finger on situations from the past I only recall a few bad memories. What I remember most and what overflows from my mind is the feeling of security, knowing my parents loved me and other adults in my life were there to help me. I guess the things that remain are the things that touch us the deepest. The Bible passage Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. I am thankful for those who taught me and modeled Christ before me, so that I am blessed now to remain in Christ following the example I was taught.
In a similar way, we labor to teach and model the way for children that grew at the BOL Orphanage and are now part of the youth transition program. It is not a class they take, nor a special meeting they attend, but a minute by minute, day by day interaction with our qualified staff that transfers to them Christian values, thoughts, habits, and attitudes paving the path to follow in life.
We believe every interaction they have is a tool in God’s hand. Most of what we are today is not the result of one action or situation, but rather the outcome of a multitude of situations and choices. Recently, our girls in the Youth Transition Program spent a few days with older sisters from church working on a cooking project. A local vegetable business blessed us with an abundance of vegetables. After sharing with the feeding centers and families in the Brothers Keeper Project, we still had enough to cook and can for the children. I wish I could adequately describe how I felt observing the teaching process that occurred in the church kitchen during those days. Everything, from the smell, the smiles, the teaching, even the tomato stains on our clothes contributed to the growing process. Even the tears Niculina and Andreea cried as they peeled many onions are part of that. The fact that they kept a smile under the tears showed they were happy to be there. The process of teaching our children goes beyond words; every action is a teaching moment, a brick that we lay for their future. It was a great experience, not just serving but acquiring life lessons and skills.
There is this redundant thought that I get in such moments: oh, how I wish our ministry friends could experience this. It is a drastic contrast from the past these children came from and where they are today and their future with God. Praise God for all we do together for them. I wish I could send you all a jar of the Zacusca they made (a Romanian vegetable spread/dip). Better yet, why don’t you come visit us and we will give you two.
God bless you for your part in the teaching process.