XV. My Day to ‘Mushroom’
by valerie shultz
July 22, 2011
Today was my teaching day. I can’t believe the camp is over. We will spend tomorrow and Sunday with the children, but we won’t be back at the camp or have more teaching days. This morning I woke up and thought about how I wanted to present my opening. I knew which Bible verse I was reading (Luke 17:11-19) and had already asked Jeremy to illustrate the story as I read it. Joanna stood beside me and read it from her Polish Bible.
I asked the children what the lesson of the story was, and Wiktor immediately put his hand up and said, “To be thankful.” Ah, I was happy! My theme of the day was about giving thanks. And in the spirit of that, I wrote a prayer this morning to read to the children. All the teachers this week presented their opening slightly different. Carol had the kids share their birth month, Court told the children her faith story, which was very touching, and Karen had Pastor Dave talk for a little bit before she read her story and then she had fun popping and flying things for the children.
Whether the children knew it or not, the most personal thing I could do was pray out loud for them. I wrote it down in my bed back at the parish house so I didn’t stumble and fumble through it and could say exactly what was in my mind and in my heart. My prayer was this:
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us remember to be thankful, for everything we have comes from you. We thank you for bringing us to this wonderful country, where we have been treated so graciously. We especially thank you for the opportunity to meet these very special children and share not just our language, but your love with them. Soon we will have to leave this remarkable place and say goodbye to these people, but we will always remember the love and kindness that was shared here, and for that we are very thankful. Amen.
After devo, we had some worship time with Ethan singing and playing his guitar. He has graciously taken on this role and has filled an amazing spot on this team with his talent and faith. The modules seemed to go well. The children made a bookmark with the prayer of the day on it, and they made two t-shirts to present to the cooks as thank you gifts. In English, they made thank you cards, writing in both English and Polish, so they could practice the skills we’ve been working all week, but so their recipients could read them. And in drama they learned the lyrics to Lord We Lift Your Name on High and practiced singing it. They were given a CD with the song on it to take home with them.
Maybe I was just too tired to experience the same nervous anxiety that the other teachers seemed to experience, but it didn’t happen for me. The day went smoothly, despite it being our third solid day of rain and again not being able to send the children outside where they so badly want to run free and expend their energy.
The children today were even more responsive and open. I heard English spoken while we were being greeted this morning, at the meal tables, and everywhere in between. I got hugs from several of the kids, and from Kuba (the nickname of Jakub, pronounced Ya-coob). During the songs the children were smiling and singing so loudly and performing all the movements and you could tell they genuinely were enjoying themselves. Ethan and little Wiktoria won the foosball tournament. Ksryz turned the lights off on me while I was using the water closet (the light switches are outside the restrooms here, and almost always, the switch, which is a large square, is the opposite of the way it is in the states, so you flip it down to turn it on). I will probably spend quite awhile trying to flip a switch down to make the light turn on when I get home. It still surprises me how quickly you get accustomed to things in a foreign place.
And so my day of taking the lead role and being the main mushroom was quickly over. In all honesty, this team is so efficient and gets along so well that I felt like I didn’t have much to do during the day.