This story is told by one of our “Urban Eagles” a coach who has decided to live in an at-risk neighborhood alongside families she ministers to and kids she coaches…
How does craft night with a middle school girl from Thailand produce a visual testimony to the values that Urban Eagles wish to instill in each girl’s heart? This story shows just how powerful the presence of a coach can be in a neighborhood.
One night after school, Namphon walked over to our apartment in search of our craft box. We let her use whatever she wanted from the box while we cleaned the kitchen. An hour or so later, we noticed that she had made a collage of words and pictures. We took a closer look at each one while Namphon told us how each word or phrase made her think of her urban eagles community…
On the top left corner she used stickers to piece together the word “family.” She feels like this team is as valuable to her as her family is. We are like another family to her.
On the right, she made a banner that says “love.” It is raised above the poster and rests a little bit higher than all of the other words. We have been focusing on teaching the girls about Jesus’ love during bible studies on Tuesday nights.
Namphon glued a piece of paper that says “best friends always” to the bottom of the poster, and drew a smiley face next to it. She’s made some of her closest friendships with the girls and coaches on the team. She loves spending time with all of us, even if that means something as seemingly simple as coming over to make a craft on a Tuesday night.
She added a really big soccer ball to the middle of the poster that says good times over it. She’s learned that soccer isn’t what defines her, but that she can absolutely have “good times” while playing together with her team. She even added a picture of noodles (her favorite food) to go along with the soccer ball.
Lastly, Namphon made a little flap that opens up on the poster. The two sides of the flap say “God beside” and it opens up to “me always.” It forms the phrase, “God beside me always.” Namphon has learned that God loves her, God is part of her family, God is her friend, and that God won’t ever leave her.
Namphon didn’t realize how valuable her poster was to us. Isn’t this oftentimes the case? We don’t always get to see the impact of the fruit that we are bearing. It can be so easy to forget that it is there at all. But Christ is always moving. It is in these small moments that God gives us a gift. A not-so-subtle reminder of His goodness.
C.S. Lewis once said, “all ground is holy. And every bush, could we but perceive it, is a burning bush.”
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