REFUGEE SERVICES: Finding God in the Hearts of Children

“Like this? Miss Haley, like this?” a student asks, waving her construction paper creation in the air. Once assured that she is correct and that her creation matches the example, the student continues happily creating her masterpiece for art class in LSG’s ASAP After-School Program at Indian Creek Elementary School. Reflecting on my experience as a seminary student helping with the program, I have seen a glimpse of the kingdom of God from the students I tutor. The students are from a wonderful mix of backgrounds and from all over the globe. Refugees, immigrants, and native-born U.S. citizens learn, play, and create together.  The kids get along with simplicity and joy in the messy, beautiful world of elementary school tutoring, full of differences.

As I go forward in ministry, I can’t help but look back to these children as models. To my students and the Holy Spirit that works amongst them, it is my turn to ask “Like this? Does the kingdom of God look like this?”

Luke 18:16: “But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

Haley Mills is a student at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.  For her Contextual Education Community Placement, she served with Lutheran Service of Georgia’s Refugee Services weekly during the 2011-2012 school year as and ESL assistant teacher and as a tutor in the ASAP Afterschool Academic/Arts Program.