This picture. I love this picture.
It is me, spending some time with a little gal named Alexandra. She’s holding my Walgreens version of a pillow pet that I bring along to break the ice with shy kiddos. I have a “pig name ideas” list and ask for suggestions on a new name for my pig. They love to debate which name is best. 🙂
Her school was a ways up the mountainside and had a beautiful view of the ocean. The students who came to quiz, from ages 7 thru grade 6, were full of joy and smiles and energy. However, in the classroom where we gathered with her team, there were several very inappropriate scrawls in permanent marker on chairs… I moved them to the back of the room before students arrived.
Big classroom sizes. Lots of ages in the same school. Tons of pressure to perform well academically (GSAT, standardized test at the end of 6th grade year, largely determines the course of their lives and opportunities are limited). Big, mixed families. A garbled, vague version of religion where one has to “do good things” to go to heaven.
So that’s why I go to Jamaica. Because little girls like Alex need some one-on-one time. They need to feel like they are special. They need to hear the truth of God’s love for them and that salvation is a free gift, not an impersonal burden. They need to succeed at something and learn God’s Word and have fun (aka Bible Quizzing).
And they probably need to cuddle a pink pig for a while. That never hurts.
(photo by Joel Hager)