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Touching Heaven; Changing Earth
In July 2015 we hosted the first ever team to come on mission from the Emmanuel Christian School in Walsall; eight sixteen year old students, accompanied by four members of staff.
All of the students were due to leave the school in the summer. This was the beginning of a partnership that expects to see a team coming out from Emmanuel every two years. They ran a three day Holiday Club at Sliven Baptist Church, attended by around twenty five Bulgarian children each day. They chose great stories, starting with the plagues in Egypt, through the Red Sea, the spies in the land and finally the walls of Jericho. It was a huge success. On top of the serious side, everyone had so much fun. It ended with four members of the team being completely drenched in a water game, much to everyone’s delight!
The team also visited many of the local protected care homes for children, had fun with parachute, football and other games, painted
faces and nails, became hairdressers and sang songs. At one of these homes, the disabilities are so severe that the young residents will never live independently.
At first, the team were stunned but, as we slowly drew them into making contact, it became a life changing experience. One of the team, tears rolling down her face, sat with a young woman of twenty four who was in a wheelchair and who was not much bigger than a four year old, simply stroking her face.
Another team girl painted the face of a young woman who only had half a normal face … one side was just a blank piece of skin covering over where her other eye should have been. The girl painted beautiful flowers on this face! We have taken many adults into places where the disabilities have not been this severe and they have struggled to cope. This group of sixteen year olds were so moved by compassion and love for these disadvantaged youngsters that it truly felt like a touch of Heaven.