We had a team down from Michigan this week. The main thing we did was take photos and measurements of each child for sponsorship. My job was to write each child’s name down on an index card. This meant I saw each face; every single child in kindergarten to 6th grade that attends this school. It wasn’t until I had already been through three classrooms before I realized what a privilege this was. I could see each person and tell them they were beautiful. I could look into every face and tell them Jesus loves them.
Sometimes the next child would tell me “No. She isn’t pretty.” And I would tell them all over again.
So I would whisper it into their ear so that the others couldn't say this.
Sometimes I had the entire class in an uproar of laughter. Probably because of my kindergarten-Creole grammar, but that was the goal; smiles and joy. I’d tell each person these things and remind them to smile for their picture because I love smiles and their smiles are beautiful and God made them beautiful.
And they always smiled.
Several times since this I have passed a class and I’ll hear one or two people say “Sveta! Souri!” (Sveta! Smile!) accompanied by the whole class laughing. But that’s okay. Seeing the joy on these kids’ faces as I told them those words is worth every bit of teasing. In those three days I realized what my goal in life is: to make each person know they are loved.