Monday, May 30, 2016

New Clothes, New Toys, Chicken and Soda! Preparations for Children's day are well on there way here at Zimpeto!

June 1st is one of the largest holidays here in Mozambique—probably even bigger than Christmas in some areas. Somehow in the midst of a nation where abuse, neglect and exploitation are all too common themes of childhood, we are struck by the beauty and the celebration of Children's day. For one special day, this country brings national attention to the very least of these—our beloved little ones.

Here at the Zimpeto, this one of my favourite days of the year and one that requires months of preparation. Each child repeatedly asks their dorm parents in the months leading up, "how much longer until children's day?" They so look forward to the material gifts of the day, and who could blame them! In the girls dorm, each child receives a special outfit from among the most beautiful of donations that we save throughout the whole year. They also receive a new pair of underwear, little trinkets and toys. If you asked our children what their favourite part of children's day is, you would probably get an answer such as: "new clothes" "new toys" or "chicken and soda pop!"

Their answers might seem superficial and materialistic on the surface, but we know that deep down it is anything but! As we sort through dozens of outfits and help each child try one on, we send the message that "You are loved, noticed, cared for and special to us. You deserve to look like the little prince or princess of the Most High King that you are". New toys are a special way that we can say to our children that, "We love you so much that we want you to enjoy your childhood and all that God has for you. We want you to enjoy playtime and the experience God's heart of joy and His treasures for you." And our feast of chicken and soda pop is our way of celebrating and fellowshipping over food just like Jesus. A quick look beneath the surface of children's day preparations shows anything but gifts and all about the heart.

Just look at these beautiful girls showing off their new outfits after they tried them on. One quick glance at their smiles and its each to see that it's not about the clothes, it's all about the love of the Father that they get to experience while trying them on.