Saturday, June 18, 2011
These students live at the Center for Champions, a residential school sponsored by First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue. Since 2008 the school has been serving street kids who would not otherwise have access to education, community and spiritual direction. Students follow a “catch-up” curriculum that prepares them for entrance exams to secondary school. The ages of students range from 10-22.
Our arrival was met with the sound of thunderous singing and clapping, rising from the open windows of the main meeting hall- an army of strong and able voices, in unison, making their presence known to the sky. We were escorted in and directed to sit in the front row, guests treated to a beautiful ensemble of song, dance and drumming. My feet were lifted off the floor in praise.
At one point we were asked to stand, facing the group and introduce ourselves. As I looked out over the sea of young and hopeful faces, the words of Psalm 1 came to mind.
So I shared them with the students. “Do you know Psalm 1?” I asked. There was scattered nodding and a few knowing smiles. “When I look at you, that is what I see,” I continued.
Delighting in the Lord.
Trees planted by streams of water.
Yielding good fruit in season.
With leaves that do not wither.
I reminded them that their generation was a forest, growing to shade Rwanda. To offer her their good fruits grown in fertile soil, watered by the word of God.
This forest cannot be touched by fire.
This forest will not be touched by wind.
It will only grow, and grow and grow.