Children and Neighbors

For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” (Act 2:39 WEB)

Children are fascinating to watch around the globe. Arriving as the foreigners on our little island our children had to deal with being the outsiders. Just as adults must find their fit into society children also must learn how to relate to and play with the other children on the island.

Ellice and Joel were only five and three when we arrived on Guam. They didn’t notice the differences in skin or even the accents prevalent on the island. To them their neighbors were just other children. As children they wanted to play!

In our first apartment there were only four flats and no children. The shack next door was home to a couple young children but there was no chance for us to allow our children out to play. Within a month we moved from this small flat to a house in a nice neighborhood. It didn’t have the nice view of the ocean but it was a large house with a bedroom for each of our children.

Ellice and Joel played out in the yard hoping to become friends with the neighborhood children. There were many. Most of the children were Chamorro (island natives) or Filipino. As the children played about the neighborhood they eventually noticed our two blond and bleached children playing in the our yard.

Our children sat on the curb and watched the other children play and waited. Unfortunately the local children were not very friendly to strangers. Occasionally one would cross the street and actually kick Ellice or Joel and then dance back home laughing at the foreigners.

I wanted to give these children a piece of my mind, something I can seldom afford to give away. Ellice and Joel didn’t appear too upset and were very stalwart as they waited. Each day they played and sat, played and sat, and occasionally received some abuse from the other children.

Their faithfulness in waiting patiently had a slow but definite impact. The reaction from the local children became less violent and eventually stopped. In a couple of weeks they started to talk with the new neighbors. It was then that our children had a chance to share some of their life in the USA as they answered questions about where they came from and why we were there.

As the years went by the opportunities to witness to our closed neighbors was enhanced and opened through the faithfulness of our children. The next summer we held Bible Clubs in our home and most of the neighborhood children attended. A couple of them received Christ as their savior.

When school started Ellice and then later Joel were involved in school activities, clubs, and events so the doors opened more and more to witness to the neighbors. Opportunities were opened to witness not only to neighbors but also to teachers as our children stood proudly for their Savior in a class where they were one of maybe two other foreigners.

Jesus said we need to be like children in our faith. Sometimes we need to be like children with our neighbors. It may take a while for them to notice but God’s presence in our lives will become evident.

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