Joanna

 

by Lyndsey Smith

 

A significant relationship that has developed during my time with Good Works as a Summer Intern has been with one of the kids from Kids Discovery Club. Her name is Joanna and she is seven years old. Joanna has been going to Discovery Club for a couple of years now. This year her cousin joined her too after hearing how much Joanna has enjoyed it. Joanna is such a joy and a light to Discovery Club. She has been such a blessing as I get my bearings on how to do Discovery Club.

To be completely honest, I do not remember my first encounter with Joanna. Our relationship began to form pretty early on though. In the mornings we have unstructured free time. There are a ton of activities the children can do and a lot of times there is some form of tag going on too. I would always join in on tag as a way to break the ice with the children and make them feel like I’m their friend as well as one of the leaders. I would target certain kids and always try to tag them as a way to make them feel loved. Most kids found it funny and did not think much of it. That was not the case for Joanna. She loved the special attention she got when I would purposefully try to tag her. She would run away as fast as she could and smile and laugh. If she was it, she would try her hardest to tag me and get other kids to gang up on me to ensure that I was tagged. It was fun because not only did Joanna get to pick on me back, but the other kids loved joining in on the fun and “get Miss Lyndsey!”

This bonding time in the morning extended throughout the rest of the day. Joanna would ask to be my partner or be in my group for presentations. Without fail, she would sit next to me in faith time. She always made sure there is seat for me at her table at lunch. Then she started asking me for hugs at the beginning and end of her days. The attention I gave Joanna helped her to trust me and want to engage in a relationship back.

Joanna may be young but she is very mature for her age. As I write this, I understand how unusual it may sound to know that one of my most significant relationships I have formed has been with a seven year old. But Jesus constantly reminds us about the significance of childlike faith. With that in mind, I feel it is very important to engage in relations with children and learn from them first hand. Joanna has taught me a lot and helped me to recognize that age shouldn’t be a deterrent from seeing the way God uses people to make Himself known.

Joanna is very perceptive and sees more than she lets on. She will question what we are doing for the day and pays attention to the little details to make inferences on what is happening. Often times she winds up coming to the right conclusions. It’s a fun game we play where she tries to guess who our presenters are or what we are doing in faith time. I am very vague and she grows frustrated but never gives up. Day after day she comes in knowing I won’t answer her questions about this, but still enjoying the game of trying to figure it out. She just doesn’t give up.

I say all these things about Joanna to address some of the things she has taught me. Joanna instantly trusted me after barely even knowing me. She enjoyed that I was willing to spend time with her and that’s all she needed. That reminds me of how God has a very short list of requirements before He extends his grace toward us, to believe in Him (John 3:16). Joanna is also very persistent. Every day Joanna would ask me what the plans were for that day and everyday I wouldn’t give her an answer. This silly interaction between us was a sweet reminder of my relationship with God. Whether I’m open to what he’s asked of me or not, he’s still going to be there loving me day after to day.

Joanna is very dear to my heart and has taught me so much. I am so thankful God has ordained my meeting her this summer.