Children’s Outreach Programmes
It is almost a tradition by now to let you know how things are going every summer when it comes about the Children Ministry under Smiles Foundation. That’s why I will let you know, in a first episode today, about what is happening, but I will come back with another episode when we’ll get toward the end of the season. We decided to call this Children Outreach Programmes (COP) as the way we do it is rather a happy combination between a classic Holiday Bible Class (or Vacation Bible School) format and a more casual fun day for children. Our aim is to reach as many kids as possible, from communities where no one has any activities for them and to send a clear and simple message to them about Jesus’ love for them and His example that we all want to follow.
The greatest ambition we have here in Smiles Foundation is to see people transformed and changed in a way that becomes examples for other people, so that more bad situations could be turned into good and positive outcome. We do not have unrealistic expectations tough – we know that God only could change people – but we are determined to do the best we can in allowing God’s message and touch to actually have an impact on people. This is what we are called to do and this we try to do on daily basis, through our work and efforts, in all projects we run through Smiles Foundation.
From this perspective, working with kids is an amazing adventure, not only because they are fun to work with – and fun it is indeed! – but also because this is a great opportunity to tell them about things that are important in life. As I said it many times, we have to interest in imposing or forcing a Christian message on them, but we have every interest to present and to tell them about Christ, in a manner that could only be remembered of as a „great” „fantastic” or „like nothing else” day, so later on, when these children will start to grasp things differently, such a memory will drive them towards the only Love that makes all the difference.
This season we already visited several places and we had more than 200 children present to our programmes. We are not even halfway through. We believe that more than 500 children will have participated to COPs by the end of summer, and all of them will have kept a great memory about this occasion. As we started our meetings with them even before the end of the school year, we visited churches as well as schools. Also, we were blessed to have some wonderful teams of mission trip to help us, the students from Wesley Foundation were fantastic in acting, playing, jumping, singing, sharing with kids! All these in a two-three hours programme that includes a short lesson from the Bible (this season we present the parable of Good Samaritan) two-three songs, a verse to learn, games, competitions. At the end of course we have prizes for everyone. And yes, the snacks and sodas are always welcome in a short break by the middle of the day!
We have some pictures here for you to see.
Maybe the greatest benefit of these programmes is that they allow children to discover things they did not know before, but also new things about themselves. I had one child telling me one of these meetings that he was amazed to discover we could sing! And another little girl asked me when can we go back to their town, as she wanted to do more of the crafts we’ve taught her how to do and to ask our opinion on which one is best… And I think the same is to be said about the mission trip guests who discover they quite enjoy working with kids and how important is to make possible that such a little contribution as doing the signs for a song to help little ones to understand that “Jesus loves everybody, he loves us all”
So, the first part of COP for summer 2017 went very well and we are confident that God will keep us all in a good shape, with still a strong voice to cover 100 shouting kids, all that love of Jesus will be shown and introduced to the youngest!
Have a great summer, a wonderful season with His blessings!
Assistant Director of Smiles Foundation Romania