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My Bunk Mate

Yesterday we got home from Citychurch's childrens' camp, Camp Hope. I was in a cabin with 14 ten year old girls. Believe it or not, I had fun! The camp is a fun time for the hundred kids that we take, free of charge.  The kids were ages 5-10, and they were all children that Citychurch ministers to throughout the year.

I was especially blessed to have a sweet girl named Elina in my cabin. I had met her before camp because her, her little sister Lucie, and her big brother Jon all attend the Bible club I help teach at Will Rogers Elementary during the school year. When I met their family at the beginning of last school year, I assumed that they were a part of the Somalian refugees that recently settled in Amarillo. It turns out my sweet little friend and her family are from Zimbabwe. Her family had come to America about 4 years ago in search of jobs. She was about 5 when she came to Texas and had to learn a new language and culture. 


I had so much fun talking to her about Africa. She still remembers a lot about her home in Zimbabwe, and she still speaks to her grandmother their often. It was funny to see the contrast of pride about her home country and shyness about how she is different from the other black girls in our church and her school. When we were going around the room sharing what we thought we were good at, she quickly told us that she was good at speaking her language. But when we asked her to share some words, she coyly refused. Later the next day, I coaxed her into whispering the name of her language in my ear. She speaks Bantu. Then she spoke some into my ear. I tried to repeat it, but she quickly informed me that there was a "th" in the word. Wha? I didn't hear it. That feeble attempt gave me an appreciation just how difficult learning English was for her and her family. Our language sounds were so different from her language sounds. Even after speaking fluent English for 4 years, she still had trouble pronouncing words that are not often used. One night before bed, she informed us that she was going to give her broken flashlight a funeral. The way she pronounced funeral was so awkwardly funny, we bust out laughing. She loved making us laugh, but she also wanted to learn how to say funeral correctly, to avoid future mistakes. She made us help her practice saying the word several times before she would get in bed.

Our last night, some of the other girls were mean to her and hurt her with a stick. She was very upset. She went on a long rant about how children in Zimbabwe were much more disciplined than children here. She went on and on, speaking quickly, and the faster she talked, the thicker her accent got. I know I was suppose to be comforting her, but her lecture was so cute, I'm sure I was smiling. She was deeply bothered by the other girls actions, and I admired her sense of justice.

Seeing Elina's precious personality and amazing sense of humor made me anxious for the day that we are able to find out what our future African son's personality will be like.

I know Citychurch's Camp Hope was planned to be a blessing to the hundred kids we brought to camp, but because of Elina, this year's Camp Hope was a blessing of hope to me. I am full of hope for our future son.



"I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength."  - Ephesians 1:16-19