This past Sunday, Mark and I went to the Misato Children's Home to volunteer time to some children that may not have much but had the spirits of lions. The children's home had children living there that were only going to be there for a little while and those that unfortunately, unless adopted, would spend their lives there.
We sent up Christmas trees and stacked presents and even made sure Santa could come say hello, or konnichiwa to the children and show them some Christmas cheer. Christmas may not be a big deal in Japan but commercially it has caught on. Their worn out basketball gym was turned in to a place of presents, cookies, and fun for a couple of hours. There was a spot on the floor that reminded me of a home my aunt used to live. I was glad that she got to move from that little shack before she went home to stay with her Lord. I was taken back to when I was 8 and I didn't understand why someone had a hole in their kitchen floor and it wasn't fixed. The worn spot in the children's gym, from water, or use, would soon become a hole in the floor, and again I could not understand how this could not be fixed. Thank God I found out that the CE group may have plans for the gym and the children's rooms. This was just the 1st of many humbling moments for me. I am very emotionally when it comes to children and this was one of many times I fought back tears.
Mark and my good friend Naomi-San was one of a few translators when brought with us. She had the kids line up, call their names, and receive pictures with Santa. Not really sure if Santa spoke Japanese, but smiles translate in to any language I imagine. After the children received their gifts, some assembly required, lucky for the children the volunteers were engineers, they played for a bit before taking their gifts to their rooms and eating the buffet of sweet treats all lined up and ready for them. One little boy was so excited and didn't want to leave his toy and he had an accident on the floor. I was touched at how everyone came together to help the boy and still put his toy together so that when he came back, it was ready for him. The children played musical chairs, ate, and then the highlight of the day, basketball with the CE group. The children LOVED playing basketball with all the guys and a couple were really good, scoring points in spite of having a brick wall of a smiling soldier standing at least 6'6" in their way.
It was time for us to go at 2:30 PM. Time had come and gone and we found out, no worries, we can schedule visits anytime. As we all said our arigato gozaimasu's and had our bows and filed out of the gym, the children trickled out to say their good byes as well. There were bye bye's and even an I love you, thrown in with the Christmas wishes they sent to us. Now, I have 2 visions in my head I can't get out. 1. The smiles and the laughter that bellowed out of the gym on that day. My face had not used all those muscles to smile in so long it hurt. 2. The many Crocs that were worn and the one pair of yellow Crocs that had a hole in the front so that one child's big toe stuck out.
There are some things that I will never understand and for those things, I simply pray, and thank God for giving me the ability to help, even in small ways. It is hard for me to see and think about the children around the world that were not wanted, abused, or sent to find a better way of life. With people wanting to adopt babies, how many children will have the chance to find homes? What crushes my heart is that even with those like Mark and myself who want to adopt and do adopt, still all children can not be taken from where they are. I just hope, pray, and have faith that there are more places like the Misato Children's Home where children still remember how to smile. I hope there is someone that is telling them, if you work hard, no dream is too big. I pray there is someone telling them, you are worth so much and I hope they believe it.
Merry Christmas from the Scott's.
On a lighter note, we shall see next week if I am off to the States for about 2 weeks, fingers crossed, though bitter-sweet for Mark, he gave me the trip...kind of...if it goes through, I will blog.