Two years ago I stood in an India market looking at an ABC wall hanging. It had hand painted wooden letters glued to a piece of burlap. It was simple, yet beautiful. I loved it, yet had no reason to buy it. But I did buy it thinking that someday, hopefully, I could start a library/learning center at New Faith and hang it on the wall. It was a far off dream, but the wall hanging represented hope. Once I returned to America from India I stuck it in a box to one day take to the Philippines. I “knew” I wouldn’t need it for several years.
Six months after I moved to Manila the Lord opened the door to start a library for these kids. The decision was made slowly; there was no huge meeting or big plan. There were simply a few passing conversations that led to cleaning out an old office that turned into storing school supplies and books in that room. And suddenly, before I knew it, we had a library!
The library hadn’t been open more than a couple of weeks before I realized that very few books were actually being opened, but there was a whole lot of drawing, journaling, and playing taking place within the walls. This wasn’t just a room full of books; these four walls were becoming their safe place, a place of comfort, and a therapy room. It was a room that had been created just for them.
I was recently asked by our director to name it. After praying and researching I decided on the name: The Selah Center. Selah is a Hebrew word that means, “to praise, or “to pause and reflect”. We have been able to give each child their own personal shoebox to fill with whatever they want. It is untouchable to everyone except the child and the leaders of the home. They love it! They have a safe place to store their things. It is their box and no one else’s. It is a blessing to see the kids cherish something so simple. Some kids have chosen to write, “Do not touch” signs on their box. Some keep small stuffed animals in them, some a special coloring book or notebook, and some have chosen not to put anything at all in them and are completely happy carrying around an empty box. But it is THEIR empty box.
It has taken time, but the kids have begun using their imagination to play. The Legos with directions to make certain item are barely used these days. Wooden blocks and dinosaurs have become the most played with toys (at least for now.) We are seeing theses kids come alive and laugh and play through play like we never have seen before.
Last week my mom sent a package through a team from my home state. I asked her to include that wall hanging I bought two years ago in India. After I had hung it on the wall in The Selah Center I stood back to see how it looked. It was perfect. The colors matched the room perfectly. And it was the first time I realized how long the Lord had been planning The Selah Center. It was never my plan, but the Lord’s. Starting The Selah Center has been eas
y; it happened naturally. Dozen of people recognized the need for it. The Lord has blessed our cup full to overflowing so much so that we have been able to pass on over 200 books to a high school to teach child how to read. Two hundred books we didn’t have room for. Yet the Lord is using this to show our kids how to bless and honor Him through giving.
The Selah Center is a library, a playroom, a study room, and a quite room, but most importantly it is a place where they feel safe and comfortable, a room created just for them. They needed it, and the Lord made it happen.