Maxime posing with a guitar at church.
Today before church, Maxime and Joshua were out playing until Joshua came in complaining that Maxime wouldn't share. Apparently, Maxime's grandmother had given him some money (a rare occurrence to say the least) and he had spent it on cookies and candy at the store and refused to give Joshua any. The first reaction Edna and I had was to question why we weren't getting through to Maxime with all the Bible teaching about sharing. After all, Joshua has always shared with him and we have treated him like one of our own children, so how dare he not share with Joshua.
When it was time to go to church we were still upset with how Maxime had acted. The one time he had the opportunity to share with Joshua, he didn't. When we didn't see him outside our building or at the bus stop, we figured that maybe it was best if he didn't go with us to church this time. Obviously the messages about sharing with one another hadn't gotten through to him.
We were more than a little surprised when Maxime showed up at church a few minutes behind us. He told us that he had run to the bus right behind us and had just missed it so he had to catch the next one. What happened next broke our hearts and made us see how poorly and wrongly we had judged. Maxime opened up the bag he was carrying his Bible in to reveal unopened bags of candy and cookies. He hadn't shared with Joshua because he was saving all of what he bought to share with the church. How could we have been so quick to judge? Maxime had not only taken the Bible teachings of sharing to heart, but had far exceeded our expectations. We had misjudged Maxime and the power of the Gospel message to transform lives. How humbled we both are by what happened.
Maxime was just happy that he could share what little he had with the church and he was excited to sit up front and listen to the worship music. Some members from our sister church in Kyiv provided us with some great music that included some songs in Hebrew.
Maxime was fascinated by the music.
As if I had thought my birthday had somehow gone unnoticed, I was yet again surprised this year to be presented with flowers. I'm just glad they didn't announce how old I was. Not that everyone doesn't already know, you can't keep anything a secret in Ukraine, but at least they didn't say it out loud.
Edna holding my birthday flowers as Maria admires them.
We were also blessed to have Ruslan and Anya (and of course, little Nikita) join us for church. It was nice to include them in our church family and introduce them to everyone. Nikita made his way around the room making friends with everyone, no introductions needed. Anya even stayed after church to practice a skit the girls will be performing as part of a Christmas outreach.
The girls practicing their parts while Valya gives careful instruction.
Today turned out to be a humbling yet fulfilling experience for me and Edna. I will never cease to be amazed at how God uses children to bring us to our knees and to bring us to the Cross where we belong. Glory to God.