During our GoCorps training in Minnesota, (just about 1 year ago this month!) our staff led us through a session on some of our roles as GoCorps Goers. One of my favorites was “storyteller.” (I don’t know if you guys have figured out yet that I like to talk!) Our leadership told us, “Storytelling is such a powerful, yet underappreciated form of ministry. Anyone can sit there and argue the historical connotations of a Bible verse or whether something is to be taken literally or metaphorically, but YOUR story, that YOU EXPERIENCED, and God GIFTED to you? That’s truth. And someone might not believe it, but they can’t argue it.”
But I never really imagined my story telling role to look like THIS:
Since I moved into this new, “big-empty-house” (as I like to call it), I also moved into this “small-neighborhood-with-lots-of-children.” One day, while cautiously exploring boundaries of being in the grass near the swing set at the same time as one of the large families, the oldest from the family of 4 kids asked me to tell them a story. She started the game by telling me a traumatic story of the time she swallowed a penny and had to go to the hospital. I took a turn by sharing my own traumatic story of the day my house burned down when I was about the same age as these kids are now.
I guess they really liked the story, because now, after school during play time, I always come downstairs or look out my window to find the kids riding their bicycles in front of my house, or tip-toeing towards my porch saying (or yelling) things like, “I wish it could be story time now! When is story time? I wish r-o-s-i-e would come outside and tell us a story! I wonder if she has any more cookies!” (They always ask for true stories only.)
On top of this new story telling gig, I’ve also picked up pen-pal-ing. Since the family’s usual international pen pal relationships have been put on hold recently with the stopping of international mailing during Covid-19, the 3 children old enough to write have been writing ME letters each week, asking questions about my favorite things and sharing Bible verses or stories about things they did that week. (*See picture above!*)
This one from the 4 year old made me smile, so I thought I’d share part of it with you. It was written with the help of her mom, on lined, writing training paper, with splashes of green, pink, and yellow watercolor. You can see how she and her mom took turns, writing a few words, and then switching off for practice. Here’s a segment of her words: “I hope my mother lets me sit down on your porch. I enjoy spending time with you having stories because stories make me feel--” *here there is a drawn picture of the sun, colored with yellow watercolor, and above in her mom’s handwriting, “(sunny)”-- “inside. That’s why I like your stories and your porch. Why do you tell stories?”
“I enjoy spending time with you having stories because stories make me feel sunny inside.” What descriptive language! What a sweetheart!
I responded to her question, that mostly I tell stories because her and her siblings always ask to hear them, but also because I believe that God gives us each our own great stories to share, so we can all take turns to listen, learn, and understand each other better.
Yeah, these kids spoil me.