Something that I really enjoy about living in Jerusalem is the opportunity to serve here.
A couple days ago, Chelsea asked me to come down to the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children with her to check out a service opportunity. We went with Greg, Sister Judd, and Brother & Sister Bentley (The service couple living here in the center), to check out the wall space to start working on a mural there.
We got there and met with the woman in charge of the center. She was a sweet older woman who has been there since it opened after the 6 day war. She was so excited to meet us and to have us there. She showed us around the center for a while, picking out different walls for us to use. Then they let us explore a little to see what past semesters had done and to see what the center was all about.
When we went down to the bottom level, one of the headmistresses in charge of the Pre-school and Kindergarten found us and asked if we would like a tour. She took us in to meet the children and see what they were learning about. They start to teach them English as soon as possible, so the children were so excited to use what they learned. When we walked in the classrooms, their faces would light up! They all would wave and say HELLO! Everyone wanted to shake out hands and give us high fives. It was so much fun to interact with these children, to see what they were drawing, and to help them practice their english. If they didn't know what you were saying, they would just reply "Thank you". It was such a unique experience to meet and play with these children.
Brother Bentley pointed out the important work we are doing here. Without these murals and paintings, the center would feel cold, like a jail cell. Children are sent from all over Israel to learn and to grow here, they need an uplifting environment to aid that growth. The project only calls for a couple people, because it would be hard to have more than 6 people painting at one time. I felt so honored to be a part of that group. It made me grateful for my talents and for the fact that I could use the gifts that god has given me in order to serve others. There is nothing more rewarding then knowing that a skill you have been working to develop are being used to bless the lives of others.
We decided on the large wall in the Cafeteria. We are in the process of designing and planning the mural. We want something bright and colorful, as well as something that incorporates a bigger idea, something that the children can interact with. If you have any ideas or impressions, please let me know! I would love to hear your input. This is a huge undertaking, and I feel so attached to it already. I'm excited for the opportunity to serve these children. Just by visiting for a couple minuets I have fallen in love with them, seeing their sweet spirits and the potential that they have to grow and overcome their disabilities. The center really is an amazing place, blessing the lives of so many. I love that by putting my heart into this project, a little piece of me will always be in Jerusalem, continually blessing the children there in some small way.
Today we had another opportunity to go out into the Old City and meet with some elderly folk and sing to them. Before we went to their houses, we met with Raja, the head of a non profit charity in the Old City that helps to take care of these people and I really liked what he said about service. He said "Stop preaching, we have enough preachers here... Go out and DO. Show your love for the Savior through your actions". I love that. Stop preaching. Just Do It.