Friday, October 3, 2008

An Experience I Will Not Soon Forget

I was going to tell you all about the last couple of days and what Allan and I have seen, but want to tell you about the experience we had today when we were in Kagoshima, Japan.

When we were on our organized tour which was taking us to Mt. Sakurajima we had a 40 minute bus ride to get on a ferry. First of all, I realized I have never been on a ferry—at least not that I remember!!! The experience I want to share with you occurred when we were traveling back on the ferry after visiting Mt. Sakurajima (which I will post about later).

When we climbed up to the top of the ferry we were surprised to see lots and lots of school children—somewhere between 60 or 70 10-year olds. They were excited to see Americans and came up and talked to us first of all asking us if we were Americans. They were so adorable. They would try out their English and let us try out our Japanese. They would ask our name and then tell us their names and reach out to shake our hand--and come up several times to shake hands.

A week or so before we left for the cruise I was sent an e-mail from the Stake Primary asking me to participate in their in-service and to do a 40 minute presentation on helping children feel the Spirit and engaging them in the lessons. This experience today just touched my heart for several reasons. I was reminded that children are children wherever you go in the world. These children were each so different—there was one little girl who just touched my heart. She came up and in her limited English asked me if I liked Japan. I told her I liked it very much. She stayed near me while we talked with all of the children—then she walked away and stood off by herself (which, of course, tugged at my heartstrings). I motioned to her to come back and she immediately came, and we tried to communicate with one another.

Each of these children was so different—from this sweet little girl, to the little boy who would come up (over and over) and yell a new word in English and then run away and laugh, to another little boy who would come and ask a question, to those who would just stand there and wave. They would clap when we would say Konnichiwa (hello) or when we could say Arigato (thank you) which is the extent of our Japanese. We talked about sports—which was so fun. When we talked about baseball one little boy ran to his backpack and came back with a big smile and showed us a baseball One little boy came up and touched Allan’s nose and said “nose” and then Allan touched his ear and the boy said “ear”. This little boy was quite proud of himself when he sang “head and shoulders, knees and toes” and I must add did a darn good job ; ) I laughed when one little girl said something and then gave me a high five.

When our ferry got ready to stop all of them were waving and saying goodbye. We felt like we had made a whole group of new little friends—this is an experience I will not soon forget. I wondered how many of them would go home tonight and tell their parents about meeting a couple of Americans.

After dinner, when Allan and I were on our walk around the ship, we  talked about this experience, and he said that what amazed him was how they were not the least bit inhibited. They just wanted to try out their English and watch our expressions—they knew we were enjoying the experience because we were smiling and sharing with them.   The first time they said hello, if we had ignored them, there would have been no experience, and that would have been sad.

I guess when I think about the whole Primary experience—that is so key when teaching children. When they feel loved and encouraged they are willing to participate and are eager to learn. I know I was eager to learn and learned so much in my short time with them.

I can’t wait to post the picture I took of Allan with some of these children. When I would get the camera ready they would all come running to get their picture taken—quick to give the peace sign.

I will cherish what happened today.   It meant the world to me.  There are so many ways to communicate and it felt so good to communicate with these children. I am so glad we had the opportunity to be there on that ferry with those children.  

Sidenote #1: Actually, it is not a sidenote, but we head home a week from today. We are at sea tomorrow and then are in Dalian, China on Sunday and Beijing on Monday. We will be in Beijing until Friday when we head home--crossing the International Date Line the other direction. This means we leave Friday in the afternoon and get home Friday a couple of hours later. (No, the flight isn't just a couple of hours long ; )

Sidenote #2: We will be in China for Conference, so I will be checking out blogs looking for your updates. Will be glad to read/listen when I get home.

Sidenote #3: Working hard to get the blanket done for my great-grandchild. (No news yet--maybe the baby will be born October 7th--on Heidi's birthday ; )


[Somebody Loved] said...

I have missed you.

What a beautiful experience!

There was a time when I was struggling with adults... especially women. I was uncomfortable with them because of an experience that happened at church. I had some trust issues... I asked the Bishop to put me in the nursery and it was the best thing for me at that time... ever.

I think that is why my bond with children is so strong. They love unconditionally... like Christ did.
I thank heaven for little children.


glittersmama said...

What a sweet experience with Heavenly Father's children.

Tonya said...

What an amazing experience that must have been. I'm so glad you shared. I can just see their smiling, happy faces in my mind. It just goes to show you that the language of love is universal.

Klin said...

So touched by your statement that children are children no matter where you go. I couldn't agree more.

I am grateful to you for sharing your travels. I love the way it enriches my life.

I'm looking forward to the pictures.

Yvonne, I just love you. I wanted you to know that.

JustRandi said...

What a wonderful experience. It really touched my heart to hear you tell about it.
I love that you'll have some amazing stories for your inservice, too.
Thanks for sharing that.

Sheri said...

Thanks so much for this post1 It reminded me how lucky I am and also what a responsibility I have to be a great teacher for the precious children intrusted to me and to look for each one's uniqueness - is that a word? As always you inspire me!

Amanda said...

What a sweet and touching experience. Can't wait to see pictures. Thanks for sharing it with us. Children really are so very precious. :)

Tori :) said...

That is such a neat experience and I loved hearing it from your perspective. Can't wait to see the pic!!

Heffalump said...

How cool! I bet you made their day too!

Chel said...

What a wonderful experience for you and the children. I am sure they will always hold it dear to them too.

You have an amazing heir about you Yvonne. It won't soon be forgotten by those children.

Another week. Blast! Get home already! I miss you. :)

Glad you are having fun. I think of you often!

Chelli said...

You are very blessed to have such an open heart. I can tell from your blog that you love people naturally. Obviously these children could sense that as well. Enjoy the rest of your vacation. I check back regularly to see what you've written. I can't wait to see the pictures!

txmommy said...

what a neat experience! Have fun in China, I am excited to see your pictures when you get home.

Sorry you have to miss conference, is someone going to DVR it for you?

Nancy Face said...

Oh, Yvonne! This was so sweet, and I loved that you shared it!

I can completely understand why the children were drawn to you...they could see the genuine interest displayed in your expression, and the kindness and love in your eyes! I know this, because I've seen it myself! :)

It will be great to see pictures! I hope every part of your trip will be as wonderful as the experiences you've had so far. I'm looking forward to hearing more! :D

I miss you and ♥ you lots! :)

Ashley said...

What a neat experience! Children are so awesome. They have really strong emotions, very willing to share, and have strong spirits. I loved talking to the children in Mexico. They do not care about who you are or where you are from. They treat everyone the same. To bad we lose a lot of that as adults. You will probably always remember the feelings you had on that ferry. Very special!

aubrey said...

what an awesome experience, yvonne. i can't wait to see pictures of the little kids. you are so cool, i love the story of you with that one little girl. i can just imagine you being so gentle and sweet.

aurora said...

I agree that your love of people comes naturally and people (especially children) must feel it very strongly.
I think that the Lord gave this experience as a gift to both you and them. What a precious experience. ♥♥

annie said...

That sounds like such a wonderful experience Yvonne, thanks for sharing your trip with us!!!

sweetpea said...

What a neat experience! Thank you so much for sharing it. Enjoy your trip--it sounds amazing!

Jess said...

I love this post. What an amazing experience. Kids are so amazing and as I watch Abby grow and develop I am just in awe of what Heavenly Father has allowed us to be part of. I wish I could hear your amazing talk in leadership!!

Corrine said...

what a neat experience. in brazil the kids would flock to us in the street and would always ask us "what time is it?" for some reason that is a sentence they all learned in english. kids are great.

Amber said...

I miss you! But I am eating up this update and what a treasured experience you had. Pictures will only make it that much more powerful and I cannot wait!

Jodi said...

That is amazing... the spirit does cross all communication barriers.

I can't wait to see photos!!!! What a fantastic experience this has been for ME just to read about it! Thanks so much for sharing it all with us!

Tiffany said...

What a beautiful experience. Children are children no matter the language, race, color, or background. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. What a wonderful couple you and your husband are.:)

Magirk said...

What a lovely post. :-)

You're so right about children.

It's no wonder we're commanded to become like them!

Melissa said...

What a wonderful experience for you and for those kids! They will probably never forget that and how awesome it was to chat with you guys :)