This week we have been running a Bible Bowl Camp, that isn’t making crockery out of bibles but preparing the kids over 4 mornings in the week to learn a passage of scripture, memory verses and to apply the bible to their lives. This is the second year we have done this and it amazes me the kids enthusiasm to come and learn the Word of God. Our theme this year has been the Parable of the Seeds. I’ve loved catching snippets of the life application – standing together and meeting together, letting your light shine. To hear the solid teaching explaining the parable, what it means, why Jesus used parables and to see the kids running around putting the Old Testament books into order (something I still can’t do!)
In the midst of this busy week I had made a commitment to visit a girl from the girl’s camp four weeks ago. She had wanted to sew a bag but we hadn’t had time and then we have been full on with camps, work, life, she has been ill and …. I didn’t have time this week. i didn’t want to go out again and have to talk Albanian. I didn’t want to answer questions or….
I also knew it would be looming over me next week and the guilt was already pretty big that I hadn’t managed it yet. So I wandered the few dusty streets between our houses, heavy sewing machine tugging at my sweaty arms as the mid day sun beat down… yes, I was that enthusiastic. I arrived to be greeted by Grandad, “I’m so glad you are here, come in for coffee..” the girls brother came running over, “you’re here, you’re here… are you going to stay?” and then running behind me came the girl. Her grin was from ear to ear and she literally skipped through to her house excitedly telling her mum I was here. Of course, it’s Albania, the greetings were warm, genuine, beautiful. “Let me make you a coffee… let me get you some food… are you too hot… let me….” They didn’t need to do anything they had let me in to their hearts, what more could I ever need?
I got out some fabric for the girl to choose to make her bag, she had some great ideas of what she would like, her brother came to watch and asked if he could make one too. Then her mum brought a tshirt… could I fix it? Then the aunt came in with some clothes she had tried to hand sew, could I… or could she? We began with the bag and chatter and food and drink. She did an incredible job for the first time on a sewing machine, especially an electric one. Then the Aunt began to suggest little things to finish it off… we chatted and she shared how she used to be a machinist. Her little son came in, could he help too? Then grandma came with a hundred questions about the electric machine and how it worked. I was very glad Auntie was there with all the answers. I suggested Auntie used the machine herself for the clothes she wanted to sew and she sat down and began to smile, her eyes sparkling, a pro but more than that… The girls mum came in with a bag of cut material, apparently the auntie had designed and cut out an outfit for the girl but hadn’t got a machine to finish it. It was really, really nice. She began to tell me how she loved to sew and come up with ideas, it wouldn’t have mattered this time if I couldn’t understand her words because her face and eyes said it all.
We ran out of time, but I will go back, lugging the heavy machine but knowing again how fortunate I am but what a blessing something that seemed like a chore turned into in my life. It was such a precious time with a whole family (even the dad came in at one point!) sharing life, skills, stories and moments.