My husband and I spent a number of hours yesterday and today at a Red Cross Shelter for Hurricane Ike evacuees, who came in from the Texas coast. He spent most of his time doing sick call since he's a physician. I spent mine doing arts and crafts with the children, who were bored away from their normal activities. What a blessing it was to spend time with them. I got to practice my Spanish, as many spoke Spanish and some spoke little English. I had to ask some of the kids for help translating the words for such things as markers, scissors, hole punch, stapler, glue and glitter. They were not in my vocabulary.
The shelter is at a Jewish camp north of us. The director and his wife are good friends, so that is how we ended up volunteering there. We were there after Hurricane Rita as well, and I learned then that my rudimentary Spanish was most helpful. I joked with Loui, the camp director, that since Rita I'd learned a little Chinese. He commented that he didn't think I'd need that. Turns out he was wrong. Four-year old Jason, who's from Houston, heard me speaking Spanish yesterday, and told me he spoke Chinese. His eyes were huge when I told him I did too (an exaggeration though I can carry on rudimentary conversation). He giggled whenever I spoke to him in Chinese, and his big sister, Amy, gently corrected my pronunciation. She also gave me a picture of horses she drew, which I will treasure. Before they left after lunch today to go home to Houston, she took a picture of me with her brother, and he took one of me with his sister. I will miss them!
I actually owe Jason credit for the glitter escapade. Anna, the young rabbi and chaplain from Dallas who was at the camp, opened the art supply closet for us. It was a kid's dream. We couldn't allow the kids in, but Jason would stand at the door and make requests. He was the one who saw the glitter and asked for some. It turned out to be the most popular of all the art supplies. The kids had great fun with glue and glitter, which of course ended up everywhere! What's an art room for if you can't make a mess? My husband laughed when I joined him for lunch because I had glitter on my face. I also had some on my shoes and my clothes--bits of sunshine and rainbow glory in a dark and scary time, a reminder of the rainbow promise God gave Noah. God is good all the time. Even, and maybe especially, in the midst of a hurricane evacuation.
Grace and Peace,