This morning I had the privilege of spending an hour at Sequoyah Elementary School. It’s just down the street from my office, but the second grade students I met this morning made it seem like I was on a mini-mission trip to another country (or actually several).
If you’re not from Oklahoma, the name Sequoyah may not ring a bell. But, since I was a little girl, I remember seeing his portrait hanging in our state capital rotunda–a heroic statesman who brought reading and writing to the Cherokee Indians.
So it seemed only fitting that my task this morning at Sequoyah Elementary was to listen and help children read. I listened to the story of Hansel and Gretel through the voices of Jillian, Brandon and Maddi. I was struck by Brandon’s statement that he was cold this morning and that he didn’t have a jacket. Get this–it’s not that he forgot his jacket. He doesn’t own a jacket. I listened to sweet Maggi struggle through several words and pondered that she probably doesn’t have parents who speak English (or at least it’s definitely not their first language).
As I looked on the faces of Asians, Indians, Caucasions and Hispanics, I was quickly reminded of how teachers in our city are modern day heroes and missionaries. I saw a second grade teacher who loved on these children and praised them at every opportunity. I saw a principal who sees her school as an opportunity to give young children, who mostly live in poverty, a chance to better themselves, learn the English language and grow up in a safe environment.
School is winding down in most of our states and I’m only too sad that today was my first day to volunteer. I’ll be back. I think I found a place to love others to Christ just down the street from my third floor windowed office. How are you moving outside the walls of your comfort zone?