We had a neat opportunity to join a ministry that has a school on wheels for street children in the historical area of Quito. They meet out there 3 times a week and randomly the children come to get a "break" from their work ridden day.
As we walked up to the plaza where the tent was set up I saw 2-7 yr olds holding their little wooden case in their hands where they carry their shoe shining equipment. I saw little ones (still too little to put them to work) just wandering the plaza "playing" while their guardian/parent worked selling candy or other knick knacs, I saw little faces that didn't know how to smile, blood shot eyes that hadn't slept well in days, little bodies that probably haven't eaten a full meal in months.
Our goal was to be instruments of our Lord by helping put a smile on their face by giving them at least 5 minutes to be a child by coloring, singing and making a craft that would be useful to them. Many of them rushed as they colored because they would get in trouble if they were caught not selling. My friend Beth, brought her guitar and she filled the plaza with her melodious voice putting smiles on those little faces (it took a couple of songs before the kids allowed themselves to smile at the silly songs) and drawing a crowd of children and adults to our little huttle. The rest of the time we decorated tote bags that the MMBC Summer Ladies team left this past summer. I left the plaza feeling excited having had a chance to be Jesus to these little ones but I also left feeling overwhelmed by the extreme poverty and horrible experiences many of these children have had in their short little life. I pray for those little feet that wander the streets on a daily basis early in the morning to late, late nights, may the Lord protect their bodies, hearts and minds.