During our last session of the Nativity Store, Chuck shared with me about a conversation he had with his lunchmate Keyshawn. Keyshawn is a 4th grade student who attends the Park Avenue/Crosspoint site.
Chuck: I went to see my mom and step dad last weekend.
Keyshawn: Did you ever meet your dad?
Chuck: Yes. He died several years ago and I miss him. We were very close.
Keyshawn: Have you ever heard of pneumonia? My mom had it once and was in the hospital. You can die from it.
Chuck: I’ve heard of it. Were you scared?
Chuck: When Jesus lives in our lives we know that we will never be alone.
Keyshawn (singing in a sweet voice a song by Chris Tomlin):
In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there.
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait,
Only for You,’cause I want to know You more
I am encouraged by this story for a number of reasons. One, I am so thankful for mentors who can lead students naturally to reflect on faith in God. Clearly this powerful conversation does not happen every meeting, but over time we have volunteers who create the space for children to pronounce like Keyshawn one of the great truths of the Christian faith in an authentic way. Two, I am aware that Keyshawn sings that song regularly at the Park Avenue/Crosspoint site. The words bubble to his lips when considering God’s constant presence with us. What a great gift that students are able to hide scripture and scriptural truths in their hearts. Three, this story affirms for me what I sense happening, but don’t always have proof. Our students are blessed with joy-filled friendships that invite them to a clearer understanding of God and a safe place to express that understanding. And, words that we say, messages that we deliver, and songs that we sing are sinking in. I am so thankful for the consistency of a host of volunteers creating an environment of trust, joy, and hope.