As I mentioned before, it would take a few days before I would slowly emerge from my "processing cocoon," and I appreciate that you granted me those few days. Honestly I don't feel like I've even scratched the surface of what has happened in my heart, but I wanted to share bits and pieces to encourage you and help you understand a little bit more about this wonderful trip.
Two days we had the privilege of working in this particular school. There were roughly 2,000 students, and the student body is mostly Muslim (with a handful of Druze). We were asked to share in their chapel (its an English school, founded by Evangelicals so there is some Christian influence) one morning, and we all appointed Patrick to share. We knew we didn't want to be preachy or over-charismatic, so Patrick shared with these students
on the power of our words. He shared the story of 3 plants: one was spoken negatively to, one was not spoken to at all, and the other was only spoken positively to. He shared how the one that was spoken negatively to withered and died. The one not spoken to did nothing out of the ordinary. But the one spoken positively to grew bigger and stronger than the other two plants (Google the study- all plants received the same amount of sunlight and water).
Patrick said that our words are powerful, and that everyone remembers having something hurtful said to them, as well as something nice.
So in our time with each class for the next two days, we did a fun exercise. We would reiterate the talk that Patrick did, then we'd ask for a volunteer. Once the brave student came to the front of the classroom, we had them sit down. We then instructed everyone in the room to tell that student what they loved about him/her. While the classmates were encouraging the student, our team was praying for prophetic words to have mixed in. We were able to demonstrate that God only thinks good things about us, and has good things to say.
We would give each child 10-ish minutes up front (which meant we could only do 3-4), and we got to pick the student (sometimes we'd pick the rowdiest, and others we'd pick the girl in the back hiding behind her hair). Most of the kids were nervous or embarrassed at first, because from what we were told, they are not encouraged at home. Most parents believe that encouraging their children will make them prideful, so they withhold all verbal affirmation.
We found that to be true when students would come up to us later crying, telling us how they'd never heard those things from anyone. They'd never been complimented. They never knew they were a good friend, or the most generous person in the class. It was completely heart-breaking, but so empowering at the same time. We were helping give these kids a tangible experience with the goodness of God. No they didn't rush to the front to "say the prayer," but sometimes kids need to genuinely feel loved before they want to hear anything else.
I know this school is good about sharing the Gospel, so it was important that we brought something different and fresh to these sweet students. And it had a visible impact on them.