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Giving Thanks in the Inner City

I spent the day with 14 kindergartners, sweating profusely in 103 degree heat as we guided them (and 80 other kids) through the maze of streets and subway cars. We took a 40 minute ride to the Statue of Liberty, which entertained my kindergartners for all of about 10 minutes. Over the next several hours, we ate, played tag, chased pigeons, braided hair, and cooled off at a water park. When we took a ferry—meaning I got to sit for the first time in hours—two little ones immediately crowded my lap, politely asking for a snack.

I divided fruit gummies between the girls, who patiently waited until I gently encouraged them to eat.

“We gotta pray.”

“Right.” I smiled as they each grabbed one of my hands, and we enthusiastically thanked Jesus for the gift of fruit snacks. Minutes later, we were back on the subway, where they promptly fell asleep, sticky fingers still firmly clinging to me.

When we arrived back at Exodus, I had to start on dinner for the team. I gave both girls hugs and told them how much I loved being with them. The hopeful look on the tiny girl’s face made my heart break. “You can’t come back tomorrow, too?”

If I could go back tomorrow, I would. How I long to return to those smiling faces, sticky fingers, and sweet reminders to pray and be thankful for small things (even fruit gummies). 

MTW no longer offers the NYC Operation Exodus trip, but we have lots of others to choose from. Visit mtw.org/missiontrips to search for a trip. 
New York City United States Dec 12, 2013
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