Why is this boy smiling? Because “anything can happen” – that’s why!
His name is Jesse and he’s in my 6th grade class this year. Last June, his family planned to take a short trip of about 8 weeks to the U.S. and return to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on August 28th. However, this meant he would miss six weeks of school. (Because we are a ‘year-round’ school, the beginning of our year was July 22nd.) No problem. The parents and school decided we could pick some core subject areas, like math and language, and send this work with him to the U.S., and his parents could teach him. This is, in fact, what I do for children who travel and live in PNG villages while their parents work on translation.
After I had prepared all his schoolwork and delivered it to his house, Jesse seemed kind of discouraged. It wasn’t because he had to take his schoolwork on an international trip; it was because he knew the trip would be just long enough for him to miss the Ukarumpa Int’l Primary School Sports Day! Jesse is very athletic and competitive. He was going to miss Sports Day – not just any Sports Day, but his 6th grade year Sports Day! Sixth grade is the top grade at the Ukarumpa Int’l Primary School. It was his year to be a “big kid.” After 6th grade… it’s on to the high school.
My advice to Jesse was, “Pray about it.” He just stared at me. Can God do anything? Yes. Does he care about you? Yes. Okay then, pray about it. Anything can happen.
However, our principal let our community know of the school’s need for a volunteer to organize our Sports Day, and a parent volunteer named Deb bravely stepped forward to do the job. As Deb looked over what needed to be done, she felt there was no way she could be ready the regularly scheduled time, August 28th. We’ll have to post-pone Sports Day until September 11th. Ha! Jesse will be back in Ukarumpa by then! I couldn’t wait to tell him. I wrote him an email, first asking if he had prayed about missing Sports Day? I then explained that Sports Day was post-poned and he wouldn’t miss it after all! I finished off by encouraging him to pray about everything, no matter how impossible it seems.
Anything can happen. Especially with God in charge. And God is always in charge.
Here are a few more pictures from our Sports Day:
Picture 1 - The boys begin their race.
Picture 2 - Jesse does his best at the long jump.
Picture 3 - Some of my students get crazy during the 3-legged race!