Monday, July 21, 2014

Because You Love Us

For two weeks during the summer program, we have groups of intrepid high school students (and their extremely brave, good-natured adult chaperones) come stay at Harbor House to live and serve with us.  Two weeks ago, we had a group from Yuba City, California and this week we have a group from Keller, Texas.  They spend their mornings helping with upkeep or cleaning in the house or helping out at other local organizations, and they help with the summer youth program from 12-5 pm.  These groups are called TOTAL (Transforming Oakland Through Action and Love) and tend to come every year.

Today, our very youngest kids, entering kindergarten and first grade, were in the cooking center.  They were making salad for the TOTAL group's dinner, which mostly consisted of ripping lettuce into very, very small pieces.  While the kids were happily shredding lettuce, one of the adults asked the kids if they knew why the group was there.  Hakim, age four, shouted excitedly, "Because you love us!!"

The group wondered if the kids understood why they were making a salad that they weren't getting to eat.  When the same group member asked the kids if they understood why they were making the salad, they all yelled, "Because we love you!"

The kids are beginning to understand that we're all part of God's family; whether we're from Texas or Oakland, regardless of our race, and whether or not we even know each other's names.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Does God Love Vietnamese People?

That is what "Jeffrey," a Vietnamese first grader asked me after a devotion in which we talked about how much God loves us all.  He seemed very concerned, and it came out that his brother was moving to the US from Vietnam and he had to make sure that God loved him.  When I assured him that yes, God loved Vietnamese people and specifically loved his brother, he asked me if God speaks Vietnamese.  When I said yes, he looked slightly incredulous. Then he pulled himself together, "I just had to make sure, because my big brother is coming from Vietnam, so I needed to know if God speaks Vietnamese."

Jeffrey then leaned in close to me and kind of whispered as he asked, "But does God speak Chinese?"  I said yes, and that God loves Chinese people too!  Jeffrey beamed.  
"No way!!"  He smiled to himself for the rest of the day.