-Photos by Caitlin Stamm and Kristina Viscariello
Mission work does not end when the mission trip is complete. We have all been called to be missionaries where we live. We have been called to be lights of Christ and to spread His word.
I had the opportunity to be the light to a group of second graders this past Friday. I worked with a second grade class at the California Avenue School in Uniondale this past semester and when Mrs. Chaplar, the permanent teacher, heard I had gone to Ecuador she asked me to speak to the students about it. I had the chance on Friday to give a talk to 18 second graders about what I had experienced in Ecuador. I was not going to give up that opportunity. Since it was a public school, I was unable to talk about the religious aspect of our trip, but I showed them a world that they did not know existed. I made up a slide show of pictures of the school buildings we were in since Mrs. Chaplar’s class has recently read a story about schools around the world. Most of the students in the class did know that there were schools where there was only one classroom, there weren’t enough chairs, and there weren’t enough books. The second graders were silenced at what I showed them. Even though the students found that the children of Ecuador have very different things, I showed them that the children were also very similar to them. I showed them pictures of the mission team playing games with the children, and I told them stories of the children we met. I told them that the children of Ecuador still like some of the same things they do. They have the same wants and needs as them.
After I finished showing the students pictures, I asked them, “How are the schools in Ecuador different from the schools here?” One student said, “We have more than one classroom.” Another student answered, “They don’t have desks.” Many others answered in similar ways. Then I opened it up to questions. I have never seen so many hands raised. The students were so curious about these kids who they didn’t even know. I got asked if the people had shoes, if the people had jobs, if they wanted to live where they did, and so many more. I had to stop them from asking questions because we ran out of time! Then one of the students asked if we could raise money for them. He immediately wanted to jump right in and take action.
I was so happy at how the students reacted towards my talk. I was nervous because I was speaking during their snack time which is a time when they normally get to talk to each other. I was afraid none of them were going to pay attention to me. I have to say that I have never seen these students so focused on something. They were silent when I was talking to them. I have never seen them so well behaved. They were genuinely interested about what I had to say about the people of Ecuador. I feel that if I did nothing else, I showed this second grade class that there are places around the world that aren’t like here.
Now I challenge you to be the light of Christ. Go out and be missionaries and proclaim His word.