Watching a Heart Change
Earlier this year I watched kids in our Morning Manna program grow in their willingness to be open and receive God’s word. Many came into the program with hard exteriors, wearing heavy shoulders and cold expressions. Every morning before the bus came I witnessed a piece of this hard shell fall. Smiles formed and laughter rose from mouths that were once silent. It was a joy to watch these middle-schoolers open up and show their personalities. One child in particular showed a lot of change. In the beginning Connie distanced herself from most of her peers except for two or three girls. Most days she would sit on the bleachers while the others engaged in games with my co-worker and I. I could tell it was difficult for her to show emotions. If she began to smile she would quickly straighten her face. If I tried to hold a conversation with her, she would respond with one word answers or nod her head. During our daily devotion time she was one of the kids who would get up and leave.
My coworker and I believed the best thing we could do was continue to help her and the other kids feel welcome. Slowly Connie began to stop hiding her smiles. She began to laugh aloud. What really touched me is when she arrived one morning and greeted me with a hug. I was cheerfully taken off guard. From then on, Connie wanted to play volleyball and kickball with the other kids. She would willfully tell us about her day and even ask us about ours. She started staying for devotion time and reciting our weekly bible verses. As Morning Manna came to an end for the summer, Connie had grown into a bright and cheerful person ready to take on her freshman year of high school. She is now a student worker for the summer program and is excited about being a part of the Beth team. It’s encouraging to witness such a transformation. I look forward to watching Connie grow into a more confident and capable young lady.
Shari J. Watson
Shari is a recent UTC graduate with a background in music and writing and is currently the Marketing Assistant at the Bethlehem Center.
She enjoys being out in nature, laughing with friends, eating Chinese food, and traveling as much as she can..