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The Lasts High Five

I could tell this was going to be different from any other night I had experienced.
By: Kimberly Bookman

I looked up and saw all of creation in the starry night. What an amazing evening. I could tell this was going to be different from any other night I had experienced. As we neared the village I noticed a certain smell and people were not fully dressed. As we drove a little further into the village, I realized these people were very poor. Their houses were on stilts and looked very dirty. I held on tight in anticipation of meeting new people. As we stopped, the brakes screeched. Children came running from all directions, excited to see us. Jumping off the back of our vehicle, I started greeting the children. I followed them over to a hut with stilts and noticed everyone taking off their shoes, so before entering I decided, in respect, to take mine off as well. It seemed like children kept appearing from everywhere, making the group multiply all around us.

We started singing children's songs, such as "Jesus Loves the Little Children," and "Oh Fill It Up." The children loved the songs and joined in. Soon everyone, including the adults, were joining in, and as I looked around me, I saw children turning in circles, raising their hands to God and smiling with joy that God wanted to be with us.

When the last song was sung, we all sat down and listened to a short story about Jesus. I looked at these children listening so intently. Many children were coughing. Others had sores and boils all over their legs. These children had nothing, yet their faces were filled with joy, peace, and excitement to know of a Father who was waiting for them in heaven. All these children really wanted was some attention and love, and to learn more about this God they did not know.

Time was running out and the children started crowding me from all around to say their goodbyes. One gave me a "high five" and then numerous children wanted "high fives." They surrounded me, clinging to my body, hugging and tugging at me, saying, "Please don't say goodbye, Miss."

I did not want to say goodbye and disappoint their little hearts. I have never felt so attached to so many children in such a short time. I was in love with their hearts and tugging smiles, but most of all their accepting attitudes. They thought I was their world, and I thought they were mine. I gave my last hug and a big "high five." "Good night," I said.

I walked over to join the group of adults and student volunteers who were sharing about God. The speaker was talking about having a relationship with Him. He reminded me that God will never leave me, and that God knows me better than I know myself, and He is closer than a friend. The speaker continued, saying that this means being secure in the knowledge that He has met and solved all my problems. To have Jesus Christ as our master and teacher is beyond comprehension. This blew me away. Not only had I felt God's presence with the children, but now with their parents who were the same age as me. This has been an experience I will never forget.

The children ran behind as we drove off into the night, their voices yelling "goodbye!" I yelled, "I will see you next week!"

Kimberly Bockmann is a volunteer, teaching fourth grade on the island of Pohnpei. She represents Walla Walla College.
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