News / Industry News Article
Love beyond reasonSeptember 29, 2011
- By George Belden - Area 10 Church
Early on and repeatedly throughout the trip it became evident that God was not interested in our gifts but instead in something far more intimate. The children expressed little interest in juggling beyond the brief talent show act, nullifying the hours spent practicing and preparing. Camcorder equipment was malfunctioning. A bout of some laryngitis-like illness swept through both the Area 10 team and the GVI team, rendering two of our translators incapacitated along with one of our talent show singers. Even our beach plans were stalled by a cleverly placed tropical storm.
Yet somehow everything worked out even better than any of us could have imagined in our dreams leading up to the trip, proving that it was God doing the work and us passively acting as vessels. Rather than the Area 10 team being in the spotlight, the children of SS3 dominated the talent show with tender songs and an impressive fashion show. The joy from our excited cheering spread to a crowd of many curious onlookers.
When the beach was swallowed up by the storm, crafts and group games took root under the pavilion. Craft participation was surprisingly enthusiastic. All the kids, regardless of age, were able to make something memorable to take with them, whether a visor, sunglasses, or even a painted picture frame with printed photographs from the trip. The games created unanticipated opportunities for the kids and adults to warm up to one another and learn each other’s names. Once the storm passed, relationships had already been birthed in love which enabled the beach activities to be so much more natural and meaningful.
The language barrier was a challenge during mealtime, but more important than frail words were the expressions of love shared in the family style setting. A family is truly what we became. When the time came for carnival games, the Area 10 volunteers, GVI staff, and children and adults of SS3 were already moving as one spirit united by a mutual willingness to surrender oneself.
As must always finally happen on such trips, we met as a group for the last time. But what occurred during this last visit was something special. Our “Tạm biệt” (Good bye) turned into “Hẹn gặp lại” (See you later) and then into “Năm sau” (Next year) indicating that this was not the end of our interaction but rather the beginning of something profound. Each of us on the Area 10 team inwardly committed at different levels to continue contact with the children beyond just these few days. What we have been given now is an incredible opportunity to be a part of one another’s lives for years to come: to grow, to share, and to experience a gospel not of mere words but of a living reality.