I spent some time reminiscing today about the life experiences I cherish the most. One that always comes to mind is a volunteer trip to Brazil. While working in an orphanage there, I discovered much about what is important in a child’s life and in my own.
As an often overly energetic and devoted volunteer, I spent hours preparing for our trip. I gathered donations, purchased supplies, planned lessons for the toddlers and preschoolers, and asked a million questions. What should we bring? What types of activities are often well-received? Can we bring supplies and gifts? What do these children need most?
“These children just need to be loved. Come prepared to spend time with them and share your love.”
Part of me understood this statement right away, but for some reason another part of me refused to let such a powerful statement fully sink in. And so, I began packing!
Three suitcases later, I had everything I needed. I squeezed a few outfits into a small bag and then filled my larger suitcases with books, crayons, chalk, balls, toys, kids music CDs, balloons, coloring books, diapers, toiletries, soap, wipes, and just about anything else I thought these kids might need.
Don’t get me wrong, they kids loved having new toys to play with, books to read with us, and some music to dance to. But, more than anything, they were excited to have new friends to hold them, talk with them, play with them, dance silly with them, and love them.