I receive many gifts from my students.
One day at recess, my youngest girl came up to me, a massive smile spread across her face, and asked me to hold out my hand. “Something for Teecha,” she rasped out in her warm, little voice. I stretched out my hand, and she placed something shiny in it. Her eyes looked keenly up into mine, waiting for my reaction.
Looking into my hand at the special gift, I smiled down at her and thanked her for thinking of me. Her eyes glowed with pride as she gave me a big hug and skipped off to play.
As I examined the gift, I laughed as I realized what she had so lovingly given me: the back of a dead cockroach. I can’t say that I kept it, but I can tell you that I felt all the love she meant to show me in her unknowingly nasty gift. I wasn’t looking at the piece of a cockroach; I was looking at those eyes, just longing to show her love to her teacher. That meant all the world to me.
My year at Timor-Leste was my gift to God. But to tell you the truth, I failed in many ways. Some days I became impatient with my kids, was impolite to people, or didn’t show love to those who needed it most. As much as I desire to give my best to God, my best just isn’t good enough no matter how hard I try. But you know what? Just like I felt my little student’s love through her unpleasant gift, God looks at my broken, stained, and pathetic gift of service, and He see right into my heart, He knows my motives, and He can see my eyes looking up at Him, just longing to show Him my love.
For more stories like this, check out Mission 360, where this story was originally published.