This past Monday was amazing.

I put together my lesson plan in the morning. The virtue of the week was patience.

Emma, Janet, and I arrive at 2:00 instead of our usual 5:00. Janet, who’s been attending trainings in Lakewood to become a junior youth animator, needs to catch up on some material. Since all three of us had flexible schedules, we made an afternoon of it.

I cannot explain how much I adore the animator training.

[This turned into a really long tangent about how inspiring it is for me to train animators, so I’ve cut it out and saved it for another post. This was just supposed to be about Monday!]

At 5:00, other people start to arrive. Seth and his two daughters. Danna and her two daughters are already there. Then Jim. Then Anne Marie comes with her daughter and two grandkids. Then Dee comes with her two daughters, and a friend’s son, too!

When we all gather for prayers, we barely fit in Danna’s living room. It reminds me of Feasts back in Malawi, with all the kids and half the adventurous adults squeezed together on the floor while the rest sit on every available sofa and chair.

My children’s class has doubled from four kids to eight kids overnight. Ages 3-10.

And we have SO MUCH FUN.

Our virtue of the week is patience. And we rock it.

The older kids help the younger ones. Everyone listens to the story. The game (really a drama warm-up activity, but who needs labels?) is a smash hit, and the art project takes different amounts of time for each kid, so it’s perfect timing for getting dinner started, two children at a time.

It looks like this is going to be our regular Monday night crew from now on. Only Celia also comes every other week, and Amanda will be back from pilgrimage soon.

Only a few years ago, there was no group like this in Lorain county. Bit by bit, it grew.

It’s not glamorous work. There’s no big budget, no widespread public recognition, no quick expansion that shows everyone, “See? We’re making a difference.”

There are certainly faster ways of giving large numbers of people a feeling of community for a while. Conferences, festivals, intensive programs.

But the virtue of the week is patience.

And did I mention this group rocks at that?

Sitting on the floor, surrounded by mostly-cleaned-up art supplies and trying not to spill green bean casserole on my knee, I’m completely happy with the work we’re doing. Soon there will be more teachers. Next year, with lots of encouragement, we could start a new class in Norwalk, or Lorain, or maybe just down the street.

There’s a lot you can accomplish with a little bit of patience.

Good thing we reviewed it this week. With that under our belts, who knows where we’ll be next year?