After morning classes, I headed across the courtyard to music class, sometimes venturing outside the school’s gate to buy some one-kuai waters vendors were selling across the street. There was no telling how many times in a given day we’d have to go through B-I-N-G-O, or how many times the wheels on the bus would go round and round. It could be taxing on the throat.
The higher-ups in our camp administration assumed that just because I had brought a guitar with me, I would be delighted to drone through an endless directory of camp songs. They were right in assuming that I would do it, but wanting to was a different story. For one, I’ve never been a “campy” type of person. I don’t consider myself smug or too cool for school or anything; I’ve just never really been that excitable, especially with music.
Most of my playing occurs within the confines of my own bedroom, with the wall and the ceiling fan as the only audience. Not that I’d be too nervous to play in front of children, but the smooth sound of the acoustic guitar tends to mellow me out, not hype me up. So you can guess just how delighted I was to hear that our arrangement of songs for the week came straight from the “unnecessarily giddy music” hall of fame.
Consider such hits as “BINGO,” “The Hokey Pokey,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It…,” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” among others. The great thing was that these kids, who are almost all 14 years old or above, don’t know that the songs they’re singing are for preschoolers in the states. With the English levels they displayed, they didn’t need to go much higher.
It’s interesting to see how slow to develop these kids are, physically, emotionally, and socially. They could be living in downright iniquity for all I know, but they all seem so innocent, so clueless as to what’s going on in the world. The 15-year-olds looked and acted about like Michelle and Charlotte, members of our team who are both 13. Maybe their mature side was hidden behind the language barrier.
I had two choices when going to music class. Man up and do my job, or complain about anything from the humidity in the room to lack of sleep to the spicy noodle breakfast that didn’t settle right in my stomach. To whine or shrink back would be a waste of the money and the prayers people have spent to get me across the Pacific Ocean. Amid all the spiritual attacks, I would do what I came to do.
The kids fed off their teachers’ energy in class. If we didn’t set an example, the kids would never have branched out. By making fools of ourselves, we became vulnerable, and in doing so made it clear to these gun-shy teenagers that participating in ridiculous activities like the hokey pokey would not lower your social standing. By bending their routine and making learning fun, we left them with more of a handle on English and a better impression of American Christians.
My journal about that day:
“Being an active, energetic person is not my strong suit, but God’s been giving me strength to keep the pace fast. I’ve been having the same ol’ spiritual attacks from the enemy as I go off to camp each day: the sinking feelings about having to do work, the desire to sleep but an inability to do so, the discouragement about the relevance of our work. But small prayers have called the H.S. to my aid. Through his strength--and the smiles of the kids--I’ve been able to stop whining and be thankful…”