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Thankful

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I look into there precious eyes. Filled with sorrow, but hoping for a good tomorrow. I’m just glad I can help them in a small way. I pick up a piece of plastic string. “What colors do you want sweetie?” I asked a shy boy who was at my arts and crafts table. He pointed to the red and blue beads. I nodded and began to thread them. I paused, and looked down at his dirty jeans and his tattered shirt. I frowned and kept going.

These poor homeless children, I think. They live at the Sulzbacher Center. They have no families, no home. All they have is each other. I can’t help them; I can’t save them from poverty and suffering. All I can do is be a shoulder to cry on (if needed) and brighten one day in there lives. Doing crafts, playing outside, and making puzzles. I wish I could do something a little more substantial. I hand the little boy his necklace, he smiled and hugs me. I smile and hug him back.

Hours later, I’m serving food in the kitchen. They let the kids come in first. I look at the food they give them. I look at the skinny kids. I give them two scoops of everything instead of just one. They notice, smile and quietly thank me. I laugh to myself, at how selfish I can be. It’s amazing how I can complain about the food I get at home, as to these kids are fed at a homeless shelter, and are still thankful. I ask myself what I’ve learned while I’ve been here. To be thankful, and to cherish what I have.

I hug the children as I leave; I smile at them, and hug them tight. A tear rolls down my cheek as I hear a little girl silently whisper, “I love you.” I love you too, I reply. I say a silent prayer, that God will bless them, as I walk out the door.

***The next year on another mission’s project to Washington Heights, one of the worst neighborhoods in my city, I saw one of the families from my Sulzbacher Center visit. I’m really glad that they have a home now. I guess God does answer your prayers. :)



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