Unexpected Treasures

By Michael

I am relatively new to the PEACE Program; I started volunteering at the beginning of the summer, 2012. I have not regretted a moment I have spent at #20 Devlin Place with all my kids, nor would I trade any one of them for anything else in the world. I was originally a little apprehensive about volunteering. The circumstances are not always the best at the PEACE Program. We have a modest sized space and a scarce amount of supplies, but the number of kids that come through our doors is anything but modest or scarce. Most of these kids arrive at the PEACE Program dirty, smelly, and very energetic. Most of them have homework but do not want to do it and the others just want to run around and scream. This does not sound like the most fun time in the world, but it is a blessing beyond words.

PEACE Christmas

By nature, I am a very passionate individual. If I involve myself in something, I will give everything I have for it to make sure that it succeeds and thrives. I was nervous that If I gave myself to these kids, I would receive nothing in return. I was very surprised when I came in and gave my heart to a group of children and it did not get trampled on, but met with a similar reaction. I found that every time I gave my heart to a little boy, he would give his to me. Every little girl that I poured into would turn around and pour right back into me. I realized very quickly that regardless of what I had previously thought of myself and in spite of what anyone had said about me, when I gave my heart to a kid and they gave me theirs, I was getting the better end of the deal.

This was made very evident to me on a cold winter day not too long ago. It was nearly Christmas time and Santa Clause had come to the PEACE Program. The kids were all excited and showing it by acting just about as crazy as possible. I was doing my best to make sure everyone calmed down and listened to our special visitor. Somehow in the hustle and bustle, my shoes came untied. I hadn’t noticed until I felt a little hand on my feet. I looked down and saw that one of the little girls had gotten out of her seat, stealthily crawled over to me, and began tying my shoes. I looked down at her and watched as she tied both of my shoes without saying a word. When she was finished, she silently crawled back to her seat. That moment changed my life.

Many times, while at the PEACE Program, I am reminded of the story in the Bible where Jesus picked up the towel and the basin and washed the disciples’ feet. In many ways I feel like that is what we do for these kids, we wash their feet. When that little girl tied my shoes without calling attention to herself, without accepting praise for what she had done, without even asking if I needed it done, she washed my feet. She may not be able to help me with my homework, feed me, or provide shelter and security for me (all things we strive to do at PEACE), but she did for me all that she could do.

Not long after I started volunteering at PEACE, my role became very clear. I am the enforcer, the bringer of discipline. I am not violent or harsh, but I do enforce the rules. I was feeling somewhat discouraged one day because for the last week or two I was having to be very strict with a couple of the kids because they had been very unruly. I did not want to be the “bad guy” and I did not want to discourage any of the children by bombarding them with rules and scoldings.

So I was sitting there, helping one kid who had been the main recipient of my scoldings, when another kid startHomework timeed flinging himself around the room, hitting other children and disrupting those that were working on homework. I went over to him and started to correct him, but he continued to get more unruly. I responded with increased firmness. He became very upset and started to insult me, saying I was mean and bossy and stupid. Before I could react, the kid who I had been helping and reprimanding earlier yelled at him saying, “Hey! Don’t say that! Michael is not mean, bossy, or stupid. He is my friend! Leave him alone!” The other kid was flabbergasted and immediately stopped what he had been doing, turned around, and went back to where he was supposed to be. I was amazed. I realized in that moment that this child had not just heard me correcting him, but he heard my heart. When he stood up in my defense, I received his heart.

I went to the PEACE Program expecting to give to a group of children who were needy. It turns out that I am the needy one. I gave my heart to dirty, smelly, energetic kids, and in return I received beautiful, priceless gems. I do not regret any moment spent with my kids, my treasures. That is what they are, treasures. Now I am theirs, and they are mine. Thank You, Jesus, for everyone of the treasures that comes into #20. Thank You that You have given me to them and them to me. You are a truly great God.

2 Comments

  1. Melanie Celian |

    In spite of my very busy life I feel like I am not giving enough to those who need it. I would love to give what I can but not only materials I would love to give the love and attention to the children who have lost faith that there is love for them out there.

  2. Michael,
    You are blessed to have such friends in your life!
    I dropped what I was doing when I heard this and thought on the goodness of God for the rest of the evening.

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