When I was a little girl I was on a jumprope team through my school. I was the youngest kid in the pack, a 2nd grader in the midst of 3rd-6th graders. The name of our team was The Jetsetters and we traveled throughout Texas and performed jump rope tricks and routines for various crowds. One of those crowds was the kids from the Special Olympics. I vividly remember after performing my trick, jumping with my own rope in between a pair of double dutch ropes, walking off stage. The music began to play and all of the Special Olympic kids walked out, or rolled out in their chairs, to dance with us. A little boy around the same age as me with Down Syndrome walked up to me and smiled and tried to grab my hand to dance. But it was the first time I had ever encountered a child who looked like that and I was afraid of him. I walked away from him and my team eventually got on the bus.
But something happened in my heart and mind at that very moment. I felt the love of God for that little boy and others like Him. And I remember crying for years afterward whenever I saw his face in my mind. I wanted another chance to dance with him and to tell him that I was sorry for not treating him like a regular child. Although I was small, I learned a valuable lesson that day and I believe it was because of that encounter that my heart opened up to those who are “different”.
One of the days we were in Ecuador we spent time at a school for children with special needs. I immediately bonded with a couple of little boys and they wanted to dance and play sword fights. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that the Lord reminded me of that memory as a little girl with that little boy. I began to weep because I realized He gave me that second chance that I had longed for for years in my heart. It was a healing moment and it was so awesome to see that I was in fact a different person today than I was years ago.
We had a dance party with the children after Miranda preached on David & Goliath to the children and invited them to know Jesus.