Friendship Day

Our last SOC event of the year took place on Friday, the first day of the students’ summer break.  It’s been such an incredible blessing to supervise these students this year as they have led their fellow classmates to reach out and serve in the community around them.

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And it has been a wonderful year.  The council arranged Support Staff Appreciation Day, the Junior Unity Cup30 Hour Famine, a trip to a local nursing home, and finally wrapped up the year with Friendship Day today.

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Annually, we set up an event at our campus for a school serving people with special needs.  It really was a fun day – 30 SPH students and 23 visiting students played together in a bouncy castle, on the basketball court and the playground, with playdough, and decorating cookies.  Students paired up with a “buddy” and stuck with them for the day.

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It was beautiful to see 30 of our students give up their first day of summer vacation to serve and invest in others.  I have such a passion for people with special needs, and have learned so much from them about true joy and love and trust and acceptance.  Unfortunately, there are not many opportunities in this culture and in our community here to interact these people.  I wasn’t sure how my kids would handle some of the more difficult situations that were sure to present themselves.

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It was such a blessing to watch them embrace their visitors from the get-go, and, of course, there were so many worthwhile lessons in it.  I was so challenged by the way that they quickly adapted to overcome barriers to love on the kids in ways that they weren’t used to.  They selflessly put aside their desires and threw themselves into giving their visitors a special day, no matter what kind of running around or repetitive activities that   meant.  It was really heart-warming!

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A side note: If you haven’t yet read about why a few of these incredible girls have their heads shaved, you need to read this beautiful story!

Here are a few people that made me smile throughout the day:

Anton and Billy

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These sweet boys were about 10 years old.  They played basketball which each other and their new SPH friends for probably two hours!  They threw the ball back and forth over and over again… and they were both blind.  It definitely kept things interesting as the SPH buddies tried to keep people from getting hit in the face 🙂 They had a great time though!

Billy was originally paired with Marcel, but Anton decided that he wanted to be with a boy – specifically Marcel.  He went over, pulled the other boys’ hands apart, and inserted himself despite Billy’s pleas that “Marcel was his partner first”.  As a girl, it was made clear that I would not be a good replacement!

Gary
ImageGary was a precious 15-year-old who found so much joy in even the simple things. He and Tommy were partnered up for the day.  Gary wanted nothing more but to jump in the bouncy house, but he couldn’t seem to get over the ledge surrounding it.  For close to an hour, he and Tommy sat together on the outside rim, Gary singing to himself and Tommy devising a plan.

Tommy was so committed to making it possible for Gary to get into the bouncy house!  It was really inspiring to see his persistence on behalf of someone else.  He ended up getting a few people to stand on the sides, deflating the rim so that he could help Gary inside.  It was definitely a struggle and a team effort, but Gary had such a great time!
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Samuel
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Samuel brought us all so much joy!  He had such a fun personality.  Throughout the day he had us all laughing multiple times, whether he was teaching me Indonesian slang or calling us his “bros”.  He had such an inspiring passion for life!
The Operation-Help-People-Conquer-The-Slide Team
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Our visitors loved the slide connected to the bouncy house (and it landed in a ball pit!  How legit is that bouncy castle!?), but the instability of the floor and the challenging ladder made the trek to it quite trying.  Lots and lots of teamwork made it possible for everyone to go down though!  Sometimes, like in this particular case, it took about four people and fifteen minutes, but they never gave up!
My heart was overflowing today!  I absolutely love people with special needs, and believe that they give us a special glimpse into the heart of God.  I also love seeing my kids in this capacity… it brings out such a selfless and joyful side of them, too.
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