Relay races with colorful balloons squeezed between legs. Ping pong balls balanced on plastic spoons. Time for fun and games with children at a Compassion project in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Chaos and laughter erupted when balloons popped and ping pong balls bounced away. The sound of pure joy filled the church’s sanctuary.
A team member brought gold medals to award the winners. I studied the flimsy plastic medals attached to a red, white, and blue ribbon. Would the children consider these pretend medals special?
As the children shuffled with balloons and chased ping pong balls, I connected with Ledy, a sweet young lady with a broad smile. She listened attentively and played by the rules. Her gentle and kind spirit captured my heart. Ledy encouraged her team members (one was her younger sister), and led her all-girl team like a champ. She was a good sport with a big heart.
When I had the privilege to hang a gold medal around her neck, it shone brighter than any Olympic medal. Ledy beamed.
We celebrated a gold medal day. A day when the all-girl team prevailed over the boys. When plastic church chairs were pushed aside so young feet had room to run. When the sound of different languages combined into glorious music. When strangers and beautiful children played, laughed, and loved.
The gold medal around Ledy’s neck cost very little yet it was priceless. Gold medals days aren’t dependent on precious metals but on smiles, hugs, and tears. They are topped with sombreros and wear plastic gold medals. Gold medal days linger in our hearts forever.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21 (NIV)
Throughout 2019, I’ll share a story inspired by a child.
May 2019: A gold medal day spent with Ledy.
April 2019: The children of Karatu brought Love close.
March 2019: Celebrate the highs and help carry the lows. But be present for both. Happy Birthday, Israel.
February 2019: Pray so others will know Jesus like Rosmeiry’s father.
January 2019: Joy, thanks to a handsome charro.