We kicked off the summer of volunteer teams with a group of high school seniors from South Lake Christian Academy in North Carolina. Every year, a group of teachers and parents bring the members of the senior class on one final class trip to visit the country, work on our construction projects and to play with the boys. We spent the first part of the trip in Kusi, and then headed south to Ica for a couple days before the group returned home in time to graduate.
I had been to Kusi quite a few times this year since January, but had not been to Ica since Billy and I were there for New Year. Of course, no matter how long you are away, going to one of our homes is just like going home – you’re greeted with wide open arms and lots of smiles.
Augusto and Nancy, the house parents in Ica, are always very welcoming to any visitors to the home. For this first group in 2012, they had worked with the boys and prepared 2 different traditional dances to share. We pulled our chairs out into the patio of the home and the older and younger boys took turns presenting carnaval and festejo dances. After the presentations, the boys invited members of the group to join them and learn the steps.
I happened to be sitting next to one of the younger boys, Wilmer, and asked him if he wanted to dance. At 10 years old, Wilmer is one of the smallest boys at the Ica home – he actually looks like he is just 6 years old. Unfortunately for me, Wilmer did not want to get up in front of the others and teach me the steps. After a couple attempts to get him to say yes and being turned down each time, I finally gave up and just watched the others with him.
Later that evening, while the group and boys were all watching a movie, Wilmer came and found me and asked if I wanted to learn the dance. Taking him up on the offer, we went to the patio and he patiently showed me all the steps. Unfortunately, I’m not quite the dancer like these boys all seem to be, but I was moved by the patience Wilmer had with meticulously showing me each step – and then re-showing me every time I didn’t get it right. He showed me both dances two times and then came over and gave me a big hug.
Wilmer wanted to teach me the steps but he wanted to do it on his own terms. In those 20 minutes we were dancing around the patio, I saw a normally quiet child break out of his shell and be excited to share something.
It’s the little things like this that make me truly enjoy being here and being able to share in the lives of the children we work with. It’s because God has so richly loved me that I am able to share God’s love with people here, like Wilmer.