As you know, we work with our Parfums de Vie kids everyday. On Wednesdays, the Elementary age kids come all day (from 9am until 4pm) and we have plenty of time, not just for homework, but for games, crafts, food, prayer and time in the Word. One of the games that the kids LOVE is "Just Dance". I'm sure you know this game, basically, they just dance! Anyway, the kids were playing and dancing and having a ball, but Norane (pronounced Noor-anne) all of a sudden stopped dancing and asked Vincent for a Bible. He wondered why, as it wasn't time for the Bible story. She said that she wanted to read it, so he gave her the Sally Lloyd Jones Kids Story Book Bible which we read with them every week. She sat down in a corner all by herself and read for a while - she's in 3rd Grade. Then she came to Vincent and said, "Can I please read the Bible Story today? I have planned the story that I want us to read and talk about!"
Of course she was given permission and did a wonderful job reading the story she had chosen, "When Heaven Breaks Through", about John the Baptist - and then this spirited 8 year old initiated a discussion about how John came to tell the people that God was sending Jesus to rescue them! She wanted to encourage everyone to turn to Jesus for help! I wanted to share this story with you because on so many levels it is a beautiful illustration of how God is at work through Parfums de Vie. Not only has Norane become a confident reader (and on track to becoming a great student) but reading the Bible, learning about Jesus and teaching her peers to do the same has become part of Norane's "normal".
Norane has two older brothers and her parents are strict Muslims. Her family life and home circumstances aren't easy - that's why Norane loves the stories of Jesus, she is already far too familiar with being in scary places and loves knowing that she can find help from Jesus in the midst of it. She knows He is rescuing her too! Over the many years that we have known this family (since before Norane was born!) their Mother, Amena, has often literally cried in my arms, sharing the hardships of her life and the disappointments of her toxic marriage. Amena is an intelligent woman, but like so many of the Moms we know, she is uneducated and feels sad and frustrated that she didn't have an opportunity to get a High School education and now feels trapped in difficult circumstances. More than anything, she wants her beautiful, creative daughter to succeed!
Of course we can't know what God has in store for Norane's life, but we hope and pray that her effervescent curiosity for life and learning will pave the way for her to grow into an influential leader who will in turn, like John the Baptist, impact many others for the Kingdom.
Thank you so much for partnering with us and helping to provide a safe space for so many children and teens to grow and learn in the love and presence of Jesus.
Nicole and Vincent