"Can I go on your shoulders please?"
I look down at her sweet face and beautiful, deep, pleading eyes. My shoulders and back are sore from a day of piggy back and neck rides, but I can't resist her eyes.
"Course you can sweetie."
I crouch down so she can climb up on top of my shoulders.
"Where to Denver?"
"Let's go on the playground."
We climb up the playground to the highest platform and we look out at the tent and at all the other children running and laughing.
"Kaila, do you love God?"
"Why yes Denver, with all my heart. He saved me from my sins and gave me a new life in Him."
"Can God really take away all my sins?"
"Yes Denver, do you remember the red bead on your bracelet. It was for Jesus' blood. He shed His blood to pay the price for our sins."
She pauses. The wind blows around us and I can tell she's thinking.
"So, God can take all my sins and throw them all away? Like in a dumpster?"
"Yes He can Denver."
"Wow! God is amazing."
We climb down from the playground and I head toward the grassy field.
"So, God made the grass?"
"Yes He did Denver. All He had to do is say, 'Let there be grass,' and there was grass."
"Wow. Did God make the trees and the animals and everything?"
"Yes, He sure did! And He made you! He knew who you were before you were even born."
"You mean, He even knew my name and how to say it right?"
I laughed and began to twirl her around.
"Yes, He knew your name. He knew everything about you and He loves you! He loves you more than anyone else ever could."
She giggles and holds on for dear life.
"God is so awesome"
Her quiet voice is crystal clear.
"He is so SO awesome!"
I carry her over to our song leader with the guitar. She climbs down and waits for a turn to strum the strings of the guitar. She takes the pick and starts to strum, smiling radiantly. After being prompted by the song leader she begins to sing out loud and clear,
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy Name. Sing like never before, oh my soul. Worship His holy Name."
All I can do is smile.
The first day I met Denver she was very quiet. When I saw here on my team, somehow I knew that God had something very special for this little girl. She was very, very quiet and pretty much just nodded her head the first day. I noticed that she listened very carefully as we learned about who God is and how He is our Creator. The second day that she came she was still quiet, but she smiled so sweetly when she saw me. That day, she pretty much adopted me. She became my shadow. I gave her plenty of rides that day and she never once complained when someone else wanted a turn on my shoulders. The third and final day, she was still quiet, but she would ask me questions and when it was time to sing she sang out with such a beautiful radiance that I couldn't help but praise God for this little girl. But nothing was as precious as that conversation we had at the playground. That one single conversation made the entire week worth while. Every ounce of soreness, every bit of sunburn, every tired morning. It was all worth having the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with Denver.
There is nothing in all the world as precious as having a child take your hand as you walk across the grass, or that moment when they see you and their face lights up as they run to give you a hug. That's the power of love. Love takes a quiet little girl and turns her in to a giggly, joyful child, lifting her voice in the praise of her Creator. The love of God and the knowledge of the Gospel changes everything. It transforms your life.
Although I will greatly miss little Denver, I have such joy in knowing that God loves her. She is being protected under the shadow of His wings. He knew her before she was ever born. He knew that I would get to meet her and spend these last three days loving on her and telling her about Him. He knows what her future holds and He knows who she will become. He is so awesome!
It sounds so simple, but it's not.
God. Is. Awesome!
Once again, I was reminded of what simple child-like faith looks like.
God is awesome.
Denver had it right. It would be nice to sit here and think about all the ways that God might use my time with her to benefit her life, but the truth is, He used it to remind me of His greatness and awesomeness.