“Katie, Katie, Katie!”
I believe God is looking down on this team tonight as we prepare for bed and saying, “Well done. You have served me well today.” It was a day filled with experiences we won’t soon forget. And, it is just beginning.
We were welcomed to a primary school by the principal and his staff, a first time event of this kind in this particular school. Back to back PE classes came to the outdoor court for basketball and lots of fun, then sat quietly as we talked to them about our relationship with Jesus Christ and how they, too, can have that same relationship in their lives. These kids were 8, 9 and 10 years old. Keaton, Mick, Drew, Cacy, Whitney and Rachel took the lead today. I can already tell that Adam, Brandon, Tristan and Haley are busting at the seams to take their stand tomorrow and share their faith. We are scheduled in this school for two more days, eventually sharing with every child enrolled. It is interesting how kids from a school next door just seemed to “show up” to watch and interact with the Americans.
Katie is eight years old and came limping onto the court leaning on her special made walker. She is a tiny little girl with spina bifida. A special education teacher is assigned to be with her each day. The other children were getting in line for relays and there sat Katie all alone. I immediately went to her, got her up, and said, “Katie, this is for you too. Let’s go play basketball.” Well, there is no way to tell you how Katie’s presence in line blessed all of us and inspired all her classmates. She did everything all the others did, except with some help from our team. Her smile said it all. We all chanted “Katie, Katie, Katie.” Her teacher said, “She has never been included in PE classes and loved as she has today. We have her on video and I want the world to see our “Katie”. I prayed with Katie and her teacher before they went back to the classroom, thanking God for this precious child and the gift of her presence with us for one hour today.
We returned to the hotel around 4:30, had a short meeting, gave the team some money and turned them loose for the night. Jet lag caught up with them around 2:00 p.m. so they will get some dinner, hang out and get ready for a good night’s rest.
Debbie and I were waiting for the elevator after our meeting when a man walked up to us and said, “You have a very special group of young people. I have been observing you all and I can tell they are here for a purpose. They are so focused and unified. I am so impressed with your team.” We proceeded to tell him who we are and why we are here. He and his daughter are here from Denmark and he is a former missionary. He wished us well and thanked us for a team so disciplined and focused. I praised God that people can see something different about us by observing us in a hotel lobby.
Debbie, Tony and I walked down to the water’s edge of St. Paul’s Bay for dinner. We looked out onto the body of water and talked about what it might have been like when Paul was shipwrecked and welcomed to this island where he stayed for three months. It was a spiritual moment for the three of us as we allowed God to reveal Himself to us at this very special place. I spotted a beautiful flat rock as the waves rolled in and out. Tony made his way down and got the souvenir for me to take home. I know it is just a rock, but it is symbolic for me now as I have experienced my first full day of ministry in Malta. Jesus is my true ROCK and maybe, just maybe, I will walk where Paul walked at some point during my time here.