His name was Joseph. He was part of our Sunday school class. Susan and I taught students from age 10 and up. It was not your normal Sunday school class. In our class we not only discussed the Bible but life skills. Many Sundays our Bible lesson would turn into a completely different subject. The kids would ask us how they should deal with a problem they were facing.
On special occasions we would take the students on an outing. We would go to the movies, the park, to historical sites and even out for dinner. They seemed to appreciate the time we spent together.
We thought it was just as important to give them lessons in life as lessons in faith. Susan and I thought we were doing the right thing. We thought the time we spent together would have an impact on them and us. We still talk about times we had with them.
It made us realize how blessed we were in being in their lives at that time.
Then one Sunday, Joseph said to us “You are my Sunday friends”. He was in a bad mood that day a put up a wall around himself and wouldn’t let us in. Little by little he started talking to us telling we didn’t understand. He repeated the line that is still with me today, “You are my Sunday friends! He told us we had no idea what he was up against everyday. He lived with his grandparents and was on the street most of time. After that things were never the same.
The question I’ve always had since our time with our class is what impact did we really have on them?
Here we are years later serving in Tanzania at Irente Children’s Home. We came here to serve and in the beginning I wondered what impact we would have on the children here.
We have been here for more than a month and have had the pleasure of meeting many people who come to the home and visit with the children. Some were here for three months others just for a day. Would they just be “ My Sunday Friend” to the children? Would their visit have any impact on the child’s life? In that moment when the child is with a visitor their life is changed. We see it everyday, with every visitor.
All of us can change the moment for someone. We could call them, write them, and do a chore for them. We could pray with them or for them. We could listen to them, or just sit with them.
When Joseph said we were “His Sunday Friends’ it bothered me tremendously. I thought I failed him. Being here at the home has showed me that every moment spent with someone will have an impact on his or her life. No matter how long or short.