If you were to ask anyone who works for Desire Street Ministries what their favorite part of working here is, they would probably tell you about the times they get to interact with our partners. Because our mission at DSM is one of helping our partners thrive and be sustainable, we don’t get to do as much “hands-on” ministry with children as we once used to. So opportunities for our staff to help out our ministry partners are met with great enthusiasm!
Take for example our Accounting Assistant, Sue Bishop. A mother of 5 grown boys and grandmother to 7 grandchildren so far, she delights in the hours she gets to spend helping our ministry partner Justina Dix at Summerhill Community Ministries. Here is a story she related to me of her joy in teaching the skill of listening.
On one occasion at Summerhill, Ms. Justina was longer in visiting with a parent than she had expected. The children were getting very antsy and needed something active and constructive to pass the 10 or so minutes until Ms. Justina would be available to lead devotions. So I announced that we were going to play a game.
I have fond memories of playing “Simon Says” when I was a child…so for Summerhill, I renamed it “Ms. Sue Says” and proceeded to explain that it was important to listen for “Ms. Sue Says” before “do this” or “do that”.
This proved to be an excellent opportunity to teach the children to follow directions, and to listen closely to be sure they were hearing correctly what directions to follow. Unlike “Simon Says” they didn’t have to sit out if they made a mistake, I would just remind them that they had to listen carefully and encourage them to “try again.”
One little 5-year-old boy kept missing the point and doing things that were not preceded by the words “Ms. Sue Says.” After several times of just reminding him to “listen carefully,” he began to understand what to do and began to listen carefully—a very difficult thing for him. But when he finally got it, he began to say “I did it! I did it! I got it right!”
This is such a very small thing by adult standards, but for that 5-year-old that day, it was a milestone in his little life. And the repeat games of “Ms. Sue Says” are now met with many more exclamations of “I did it! I did it! I got it right!”
When I make a mistake, I’m so glad God doesn’t “put me out”…He just lovingly says “listen carefully”.
I pray God will give me the ability to “listen well”, and I’m so grateful for His patience. May God grant us all the ability to listen and be grateful.