The big white van pulled into the parking lot behind 711 house, and I braced myself to be run over by 4 preteen boys, 15 year old Rahmo, and Hawa and her brood of six young'uns. It's this way every Monday night at Computer Cafe, where we help students with homework, their parents with English, and the little ones are loved downstairs by Mama Linda or I (or both).
But not tonight! Tonight I was prepared-I had the sign in sheet all prepared to check each of the boys off quickly as they would dash past me up the stairs to snag a laptop before the rest of them could get up there, and had all Hawa's children's nametags ready to stick on their backs.
Imagine my surprise, then, when each of the boys stopped politefully and made sure I checked them off the list, "You know I'm Ahmed, right?" "What's MY name, Hannah?"
"Wow, that was easy!" I thought to myself. "What's got into them?"
Eldon explained when he came in and asked, "Did they give you a hard time with check-in, Hannah?" Ahhh...no wonder they were easy-Eldon had commanded politeness towards "Miss Hannah" this Monday. Thanks Eldon. :)
Hawa's kids all helped each other with their stickers and headed themselves down to the basement to play with "Linda."
Usually I find myself helping three elementary school-aged girls with their homework on Monday nights, but tonight they finished it super fast. Then word reached them that Linda was having a cookie-decorating party downstairs, so we dashed downstairs to join in the fun. As soon as I came in view, sweet little Hamdi (1 year) got a huge grin on her face and ran to me, arms outstretched. I swung her around and around while she giggled and clapped her hands. Dahabo, Hamdi's 4 year old sister, with hands covered in frosting and sugary sprinkles, noticed us, and ran over to grab my legs in a tight hug as she exclaimed, "I love you, Sweet Mousy!"
Awww. I don't know where the nickname came from, but in that moment I felt incredibly loved. :) Dahabo and Hamdi, I love you both, too!
Some moments on Monday nights, when it feels like we could really use an extra pair of hands or an extra brain much better at math, it's easy to feel like no progress is being made. But then God sends moments like these-boys shaping up at the request of their elder, and little girls overflowing with love-and it wipes away all doubts of His hand at work in each and every life that comes through these doors.