Connecting Through Crochet
Blog post written by Valerie Anderlik
This morning we visited a girls' center. It was the same center that we had visited on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, I had a hard time connecting with the girls, especially the teenage girls. I am a first grade teacher used to working with young children, and feel quite uncomfortable and intimidated by teenagers. I said hello to a few of the girls, but that was the extent of it. I am not an athlete and try to avoid sports at all costs, so I really had no way of connecting with them as they played softball and soccer all afternoon.
Today I was again feeling uncomfortable and intimidated. Until one of the girls pulled out the yarn and asked to be taught how to crochet. Now you're speaking my language!
I remembered this particular girl from Sunday. She was very quiet and did not interact with the group. I asked her several times if she wanted to play. She always shook her head no, and just sat quietly and watched.
So I was thrilled today that she showed an interest in something. We sat together and I taught her how to crochet. She picked it up quickly and did a fantastic job! She had to stop to take a short break- crocheting is hard work! But she came back and finished. She made a turquoise headband and I added a pink, crocheted flower to it.
Once it was finished, I put it on her head and, in my broken Spanish, proclaimed excitedly what a great job she did and how beautiful she looked. She had a big smile on her face as tears rolled down her cheeks. We shared a heartfelt hug as she continued to wipe the tears from her cheeks, then she quietly walked away, still wiping away the tears.
My heart broke for her as I thought to myself that perhaps this girl has never had anyone in her life that has been proud of something that she accomplished, or told her how beautiful she is. It made me sad to think of what she has missed out on in her life, but happy that I could possibly shine a little light of Jesus into her life.
As one of our translators led the girls in a prayer to receive Jesus as their savior, she stood, along with many other girls. What an incredible, touching moment! These are the moments that make the heat, oppressive humidity, bug bites, and sleepless nights worth it. I love when God allows me to see Him work in such a mighty way among His people!
I was sad to leave her, but gave her a big hug and said, "Dios te bendigas!", which means "God bless you!". This young woman may soon forget me, but she left an indelible print on my heart, and I don't think I will ever be able to forget her, her precious tears, and her beautiful smile!