I wavered back and forth about whether to plop this post smack in the middle where it doesn’t belong. It is not in chronological order with the Summer Series, but yesterday was such a good day.
I hope you will forgive me for getting out of order. And if you are troubled too much by it and think you will lose sleep over it, then kindly skip this one until the end of the summer and read it after Week 9.
Week 10: (this week)
The kids here in Lancaster start back school Monday. The kiddos going to the 6th and 9th grades actually started today. You can feel the excitement in the air around here. Some are more excited than others.
Brooklyn Springs Elementary is where the majority of our kiddos attend. We heard a presentation Wednesday night about how unique this school is. I don’t know if you are going to believe this, but…
*94.4% of the kids at Brooklyn Springs Elementary live at or below poverty level.
*Last year, out of the 495 students, ONLY 28 paid for their lunch. That means 467 of them qualified for free or reduced lunch.
Maybe that paints a picture for you of what our neighborhood deals with and the challenges this school must face. Teachers are meeting basic needs first, educating second.
When the temperatures were freezing last winter, teachers were going out to buy coats for the kids that showed up in short sleeves. You can’t learn if you are cold.
When the third grader shows up with an empty book bag on the first day of school because that’s all her family could afford. It’s hard to move forward if you already feel behind.
When the little boy tells his teacher he is so sleepy because he is scared to sleep at home, she lets him sleep because she knows he can’t learn when he hasn’t slept all night.
Sweet dreams, sweet boy. You are safe here.
And some of those kiddos are the ones we know by name. The ones we love to hug. The ones we play soccer with. The ones we take to Sunday School.
And that’s why we feel it is so important to coat the school in prayer. And yesterday we had that opportunity.
Each classroom we would go into we prayed for the littles who would sit in those chairs. Each time we gathered around the teacher we held her hands and prayed that those hands would gently and patiently guide these kids. Each time we stood in an empty room we pictured the seats full of smiling faces, eager to learn, and the potential they have. We prayed that school would be a safe place. A place that they would come to love and one where they learned what Love is.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
The teachers were thankful. Many told us they felt peaceful now, at ease, like it was going to be ok. One said her heart was overwhelmed and full of God’s love.
Amen and amen.
And when we came home, I learned of five neighbor kids who were going to show up at school Monday with empty book bags, so I shared the need on Facebook.
You guys overwhelmed my heart and it was full of God’s love.
I will go out Saturday to pick up the school supplies so our friends can learn well this year. So they don’t walk in the door feeling defeated, empty bag in hand. But that they can walk in confident that people love them and care for them and want them to succeed.
And when they sit in their desk, may they feel the peace and love that we so fervently prayed and may it avail much.