21 Aug 2014

Little Lights 2014 Reflection: Eric

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The inception of the Summer Lights program itself is, to me, a faithful display of God’s work. The students there are almost exclusively children that belong to low-income families living in public housing. To them, anything beyond a place to sleep and a sufficiently filled stomach is considered a luxury. They not only lack items that bring people pleasure in life, but also things that may be seen as “requirements” for the majority of households in the US, like safe neighborhoods, functional electronics, and effective education.

In a place where material wealth is lacking, I was able to meet many who are worthy of receiving the wealth in heaven.

Summer Lights provides a comfortable, action-packed environment for these kids. It is a place where they have the freedom of being childish and carefree, as opposed to being pressured by an unwelcoming neighborhood or dragged into domestic violence. It is also a place where they have access to resources that enable them to catch up academically. Most importantly, however, for many of them, it is the only place where they can satisfy their curiosity about God. It is truly wonderful to see traces of God in such a disadvantaged area.

God told us, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deut. 15:11). Summer Lights is driven by the many staff and volunteers who are willing to sacrifice their own time and pleasure to obey this command of God. In this past week, we faced many challenges together as we were continuously combating disobedience, reinforcing proper manners, resolving conflicts, etc.; but at the same time, we witnessed these kids’ strong faith and reliance in God.

Given their circumstances, they have all the excuses to resent God, as they’re facing constant hardship in their daily lives, struggling to have their most basic needs fulfilled; however, when they were asked to give descriptions of God, they candidly responded “God is loving,” “God provides,” “God is the great creator.” We also saw their acts of selflessly sharing what they have among one another, as well as their excitement during praise & worship. Moments like this allowed us to always wrap up the busy day with smiles on our faces and with a prayer that began with “Lord, I thank you for this day.”

In a place where material wealth is lacking, I was able to meet many who are worthy of receiving the wealth in heaven. Perhaps this is why that I find myself spiritually renewed and encouraged through this experience.

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