Storyteller: Curtis Stout
One of the most rewarding parts of working with children is every now and then, you see them get "it." Maybe "it" is intellectual progress... little Woodeley finally wrote the letter "a" correctly! Maybe "it" is a behavioral triumph... not so little Yvenson finally stops wrestling his mates during class. Maybe "it" is physical development... sick, weak Kernande is finally well and attending class regularly. Regardless of what "it" is, watching our students connect the dots, understand the why behind the what, and trust what we are teaching them or moving them towards is AWESOME!
My favorite "get it" story from our November-December trip was the story of Ferlandes (Fair-luhn-dez). His "it" is spiritual growth. Ferlandes sits next to a sweet little girl with developmental slowness whom needs extra help throughout the day. Your average five-year-old is clueless on how to help a child with special needs, but not Ferlandes.
Ferlandes is her knight in shining armor, patient helper, protective guardian, helpful classmate, and watchful friend. He constantly looks after his sweet neighbor during class. The watchful friend tucks her chair under her when she is about to miss and land gracelessly on the floor. The helpful classmate assists her in putting stickers on her papers during art activities but doesn't takeover and do it for her. The guardian protects her space when other classmates encroach. The knight in shining armor lends his arm and guides her around the class or out to recess. Ferlandes gets a very spiritual "it" at a young age.
At this point Ferlandes sounds like a saint....he isn't. He is still a five-year-old who probably pees his bed nightly and most likely thumps his friends like Yvenson every now and then, but here is the point: Ferlandes understands what "being the light" (Matthew 5:14) and "loving your neighbor" (Matthew 22:39) really means AND he lives it out!
When I watch Ferlandes and how he treats his neighbor, I get a little glimpse of how Jesus cares for me (and you). Sometimes I am a slow developer. Sometimes I need a little extra help. Sometimes my lack of ability is annoying. BUT, like Ferlandes times 100, my patient friend, my knight in shining armor, my Savior is always ready to help me grow and waiting for me to overcome my next "it."
I love the story of Ferlandes not because of what he did, but who compelled him to do it. Only God can put love like Ferlandes' in a five-year-old heart. I like to think our 1:17 curriculum, our sharing of bible stories, our reenforcement of truth through art that happens daily in the school has helped Ferlandes develop this love, but I can't measure it or quantify it. All I know is God put it in his heart and I am happy I got to learn this lesson from a five-year-old.
Thanks for reading. Keep praying that our students learn what it means to "be the light!"