I currently dwell in Ostrava, our home base city, until Wednesday. The couple of days we get here between city visits are spent "nesting" (commence debate on how ok or not ok that term is), prepping, meeting, and resting. Among the perks of being here is the fact that we get to pair up with another team of four.
This afternoon, after a brief chat with my beautiful mother and sister, I walked over to the park, which is smack dab in the middle of the missionaries' apartment where a couple of the guys are staying and the old church building where the rest of us are staying, sitting at a lovely 2 minute walk from either location. Jonathan, one of the guys living here full time, had set up a slack line. I have been trying to be cooler and towards that end, think it would behoove me to learn to slack line proficiently.
Soon after getting to the park, the children came. A group of little ones approached on the right and teenagers meandered in on the left. I got to play with these awesome people, about 10 kids ranging from 7-14 years old, for about three and a half hours. I don't know the last time you took several hours to just play outside - toss a frisbee, kick a ball, play hide and seek and tag, swirl some kids around - but I would give it a 10/10 recommendation.
In the Bible, Jesus commands followers to let children come to him. He celebrates their faith. These kids in the park were such an example of faith. They didn't know me and could barely communicate with me enough to swap names and ages. But they trusted me to hold their hands as they walked across a slack line and jumped as high as their little legs would let them. And when things didn't go as planned, when there were scrapes and blood and scary times, they trusted that their pain was not my intention, but just part of the process. Hugs and fist bumps covered a multitude of hurt. What if we could see how much God is on our side and ready to give us hugs and fist bumps and get us back on our feet and off on our adventures?
In Czech, there are greeting words that can be used for both hello and goodbye. So, like my wonderful little pals practicing their English, I will leave you with a great big "hello!"
P.S. I may not be able to communicate much, but when I say "selfie," these chicos know exactly what's happening.