Back to Valentine’s Day

On February 14, 2009, Kairos 2 and Kairos 4 students and staff enjoyed a very special Valentine’s day at a transition center in Oakland.

Johnny demonstrating how to Get Down

Johnny demonstrating how to "Get Down"

We arrived at the transition home around 2 pm to set up the cafeteria with space for singing and dancing and playing games. To tell you the truth, I was a little bit nervous to meet our young guests, because the building was only thinly scattered with people and I wondered if anyone would come. Soon the first family came in, and immediately, many of our students and staff got into a conversation with the family, from the mother to the older brother to the younger brother, who was nine years old. I waited near the door and a little girl came in with her mom. I immediately recognized her as Tori from last year’s Valentine’s day. Last year, I had a really hard time getting her to join in our dancing and singing because she just stood there looking like she was so bored. But today, Tori seemed a little friendlier as she saw the beading table and asked if she can make a necklace. Soon, Chanhee, Cristina (of Kairos 4) and I surrounded her and she started talking to us excitedly about her Tamaguchis (remember those?).

Stuffing the goodie bags for the kids

Stuffing the goodie bags for the kids

When more families arrived, we got ready for the singing and dancing time. Four of us were lead dancers since the kids are not familiar with the songs. We enjoyed the happy dance to “Majestic” and got a really good workout dancing to “Get Down” and ended with a meaningful “Your Love is Deep”. After that, Abe gave a message about the prodigal son while Richard and Robert acted out father and son convincingly (Guess who was who). Then we decided to dance to “Get Down” and “Your Love is Deep” again. It was great to see the kids dancing energetically (especially Tori, who was so bored last year during the dance and song).  Even some of the older kids got really into it!

Lin really getting into the song & dance (and Ryan, too...)

Lin really getting into the song & dance (and Ryan, too...)

After the group time was over, we broke up into teams to make beaded jewelry for the children’s mothers/grandmothers, to play a cup stacking game, and to play King Kong Shower. It was not only a good time for the kids, but it was good to be a kid again for us college students. Even though spending Valentines’ day like this is uncommon, I can’t imagine spending it a better way. Afterwards, as we nursed our aching muscles from doing the Get Down move 40 times, we said goodbye to the families and ended our short Valentines’ Day of Compassion, even though it was more like Valentine’s day of gratitude and joy to us. I hope we can go back to the Center again next year and share a beautiful Valentines’ day with the kids.

Editor’s note: Even though we took many good photos at the transition home, unfortunately, we are not allowed to post them online. However, you could look at more of our practice photos here.


13 Responses to “Back to Valentine’s Day”

  1. 1 robertkim
    February 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I was blessed by the transformation of a young man who was cold to us into
    a friend who was laughing beside us. To be able to share in God’s love and
    joy was worth way more than the $45 dollar parking ticket.

  2. February 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Thanks for the post, Lin. Indeed, it was a great reminder for me, personally, of just how blessed I really am. This time around, I noticed more of the parents’ expressions during our stay there. When they first entered the room with their kids, they themselves were rather unsure about us and the event that we were hosting. However, as the afternoon progressed, I think they really loosened up. In fact, I think some parents had more fun with our songs than their children! I am so grateful that we were able to use Valentine’s Day as a way to share true love — God’s love — to them.

  3. February 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    @Robert: Thanks, Robert, for the sacrifice. Your reward is in heaven. Except it isn’t anymore, because I’ve just complimented you.

  4. 4 Cristina Hernandez
    February 23, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    At first I was nervous, I didn’t think I would be able to connect with the kids or that they would even want to sing the songs. But when I was on stage I saw some of the older kids smiling, they looked just as happy as the younger children. After that, I knew that we were going to be able to bring them joy on Valentine’s Day. At the end of the day, I took away a feeling of happiness that no amount of chocolate could ever give me!

  5. 5 Ryan
    February 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    What really struck me was the parents’ reaction to our coming. As we interacted with their children, I could tell that it had been a long time since someone had genuinely reached out to them and their families. It was truly amazing to watch them experience God’s love on a day that otherwise would have only reminded them of their loneliness.

  6. 6 robertkim
    February 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Great… Abe…
    I just lost my treasure up in heaven. I guess I have to go and store up some more 😛
    Man, I definitely noticed the parents having a lot of fun, though they sounded a lot like our staff complaining about how hard “Get Down” was.

  7. 7 andy
    February 24, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I’m really glad that we were able to do this as a church! I wish I could have been there, but thank you all for praying for me and the youth retreat! We had a blast up at Sierra Lodge and God really worked in all of us, including my heart!!

  8. 8 Johnny
    February 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I think we should do Joyland songs regularly as a way of fellowship and great bonding (much better way of exercise than running on treadmill…)
    I would have really enjoyed seeing Andy “Get Down”… although I’m not sure if he’ll be able to “get up” afterwards

  9. 9 cjko
    February 24, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Haha me too Johnny 😀

  10. 10 andy
    February 25, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Oh, would you have a hard time “getting up” too? 🙂

  11. 11 cjko
    February 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Nope, I had no trouble at all. This is because I am young 😀

  12. 12 robertkim
    February 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    haha, does that mean that everyone who had trouble “getting up” is old?

  13. March 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Just wanted to point out Kelly Kang’s blog post on Valentine’s Day of Compassion and how it fits into the context of Luke 8. Moreover, Grace (of Kairos 1) and Richard Yen (of Kairos 4) both commented on her post (as well as their respective blogs).

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