In Košice, for four mornings, we went to a crisis center for women and children. Whether the issue is domestic violence, poverty, or other conflict, these families have somewhere safe to live at the crisis center. During the summer, the kids get bored because, without school, they are in the same place all day every day, so we went and played games with them. We played baseball, basketball, and soccer, as well as other small games teaching the kids about Jesus. We also taught the children to make small friendship bracelets and used face paint to make them look like cats, tigers, butterflies, and much more. By the end of the week, the kids were trying to chase our van down the road as we left.
In the afternoons, we went to a village outside of Košice called Keseroce, we intended to be working with older youth, but as the week progressed, more children and youth of a wide age range came to join our games. Just like at the crisis center, we played games, made bracelets, and used face paint with the kids from the Roma community. They especially loved beating us at soccer. Each day, a couple of us gave our testimonies in front of the group. We explained how God has been present in our lives in hopes of showing the kids that God wants to be present in their lives.
While working each day, we were challenged to think of where we saw God. I found that during the week, I saw God everyday in the way the kids, both at the crisis center and the village, wanted to know us. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, we learned each other’s names and we played for hours. The games didn’t require us to talk, we could show God’s love to them through our actions.
One thing I learned while working in Slovakia was the difference between being materially rich and being rich in love. The kids we played with weren’t materially rich like we are. They were, however rich in love for each other, rich in community, and rich in acceptance. The moment we got out of our van, all of the kids wanted to know us, play with us, and be with us. They were an example to us of how to love and accept others like Jesus did.