Sunday, July 25, 2010

It Rained Grace

This past Thursday was the 5th Village Art Project meeting of the summer. In keeping with our C.R.E.A.T.E Community theme, we volunteers were prepared to talk to the kids about the "A" in our acronymn which stands for Action. After some good small group discussions about the Blood:Water Mission - the organization we chose to take action for, we were then going to collectively decide on a way to raise funds for this charity. After that we were going to learn "postermaking as an art form" and creatively communicate messages and important information regarding taking action on behalf of Blood:Water Mission. The big idea behind doing a night focused on action was/is to help these kids know that they can do good things for others, that they have something good to give.

So, the evening began with a drum circle (thanks to CMU and Mike List), where kids sat in a large circle with all sorts of different drums and percussion instruments and tried to make different beats, building off one another, so as to make beautiful music. Before we got too far into it though, the rain began to make its own music! Kids and adults scrambled to get under the two tents we have set up outside of Trailer #92. Change of plans...we gave each kid a piece of cardstock-like paper and each table a set of pastel chalks. Rob gave instructions for the kids to draw and color anything they wanted. I've never seen so much beautiful color on such a gray and dreary day! Rhyannen (7) drew an "X" on her paper from corner to corner and colored in each triangle section a different color. She called it "celebration" and said it made her feel happy - I couldn't help but smile. Many of the kids drew pictures of the rain - all different! Devin (15) drew the rain too, but his was from a different perspective. On his paper he meticulously drew one beautiful, large raindrop falling into a puddle causing a ripple effect. When Joann (9) was finished she came up to me with one of the most beautiful pieces of art I've seen her do so far. She had colored her entire paper with yellows and oranges and mixed the colors together by gently rubbing her hand over them. On top of that she drew simple, straight, vibrant lines of color: blues, reds, purples darting in all different directions. She called it "Explosion" and that's exactly what it made me think of when I saw it. There were many more that I did not get to see that night only to my loss. The art that these kids create is truly a reflection of the beauty they possess inside. I see how given time, love, energy, and the means to express themselves through art, they are beginning to value themselves and each other. One of their favorite things to do is to give positive feedback on each other's artwork! After pastels, we did some acting exercises that we have done in the past. The kids got to vote on whether to do the acting under the tents or in the rain. Guess which one they chose! I had to be getting home by the time acting began, but it was a beautiful sight to see the life in that community as kids celebrated and enjoyed having fun with each other in the rain!

From the volunteers' perspectives, I get the feeling that the rain was grace to us that night. Many of us, myself included, were feeling tired and distracted by the time we got there to set-up. Our prayers reflected the long days and weeks we were coming from. I know I personally didn't feel like I had the energy to engage in a semi-serious discussion about action with a group of adolescents. Usually in situations like these, people pray for the rain to stay away. I'm glad no one whispered that to God that evening. The rain was just what we as a team needed and I trust it's what those kids needed as well. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!


P.S. Next weekend (July 31st - August 1st) we will be taking a camping trip with kids and their families to Lake Michigan & The Sleeping Bear Dunes. It should be a lot of fun - please be praying for that!

(View Photos from the evening HERE.)

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