English for Kids 2023: My View from the Kitchen
by Kirsten Belh
6:00AM. “Time to make the donuts!” Mornings started early at English for Kids Bible Camp at the Eglise Reformee de Beauce (Reformed Church of Beauce).
This was my family’s second year serving with the OPC’s short-term mission to Quebec. Whereas I was a teacher last year, this year I had the unique perspective of working in the kitchen, providing meals for the U.S. team. Three things stood out to me.
First of all, I witnessed the amount of planning and preparation that went into making this week of camp successful. Both Olivia Durham of Covenant OPC in Barre, Vermont and the Quebecois team of Eglise Reformee de Beauce put in hours upon hours of meal planning, costume and set design, lesson planning and skit writing months before camp began. There was not a detail they overlooked. Several church families opened their homes for the week to various team members. We were honored to be the guests of a young woman named Larissa, a relatively new member of the church who was originally from Burundi and had moved from Ottawa to Quebec to be a part of the church in St. Georges. While the Eglise Reformee de Beauce is a small church, their dedication to Christ and this outreach effort is anything but small. It was an encouragement to see what a small church can do when they are devoted and determined.
Secondly, it was awe-inspiring to see Christ use our OPC young people to serve, teach, lead, and love the children of the small town of St. Georges-de-Beauce, and to form life-long friendships with each other over the course of one week. These young people took on BIG responsibilities this week and exceeded expectations. Many of them expressed how lonely it can be to be in smaller OPC congregations with limited interaction with other OPC young people. This week was an encouragement to our youth just as much as they were an encouragement to the children.
Finally, serving in this OPC short-term mission gave us all a glimpse of heaven. We surmounted language and cultural differences and in unity worshipped the triune God of the universe, in whom there is no American or Quebecois, no French or English, no one too old or too young to give all that they have in service of Christ and others. It was heartwarming to see our team follow along with the printed sermon on Sunday, realizing He who unites us is so much greater than that which divides us.
From the perspective of the mom at the kitchen sink this summer, this week was life-changing. If our Lord sees fit to draw these families and children we served this summer to Himself we may never know. We planted the seeds, it is He who brings the harvest. But for the fruit he produced in the lives of our young people - of my teenagers - I am eternally grateful. All praise and glory to Him.