It is no longer easy to share faith in public schools anymore in Europe, as the OM team in Romania has discovered. So when they found an open door to a village school in Rau de Mori, they took the opportunity. This year, 120 children and their teachers participated in the two-day KidsGames (KG) programme.
“This is the third year when the OM team comes to our school. The first two years, we only had one day for the competitions, but the kids loved it so much that this year we wanted to have two days of KidsGames. Every year when we hosted the KidsGames, our school was granted a special award from the county’s teaching director for the best teaching activities outside the national curriculum,” one of the teachers from the school said. “This year, even the mayor’s house sent a photographer/journalist to spend both days with us at the school and write articles about the activities. The KidsGames programme is so complex and so creative, and the kids get to develop in a short time so many different skills from sports to building/architecture, social skills or cultural heritage.”
The school was transformed into an ‘Olympian facility,’ and 10 teams competed against each other in many different games and activities. At the end of the two days, every child was given a diploma for participating, and the top three winning teams received medals—and lots of applause.
“Each team had kids in all age groups. The eighth graders were the leaders of the groups, and it was amazing to see how, in only two days, they got to develop their leadership skills so much,” an OMer said. “Some of them had no idea that they are born leaders and that they can do such a great job in this role. It was eye-opening experience for them and we were happy to coach them and teach them how to take on the responsibility of carrying for their teams and leading them to the podium.” At the end of the games, OM offered a special prize to the best leader in the school.
“I loved to play newspaper hockey. I never played this game before. It was so much fun. I hope next year we can play newspaper bowling as well,” one of the kids in fifth grade enthused.
“The only thing I didn’t like about KidsGames was that my team didn’t win,” another boy from fifth grade joked.
“You cannot imagine the conditions some of these kids have in their homes. The first time I visited them to meet their families was shocking for me. The houses look like they are about to fall over them,” a kindergarten teacher shared. “When they are not in school, they have to work the fields in order to help their families earn money to buy food. I am so glad when I see them laughing and having fun through the KG, it’s like they forgot for a moment about all the troubles at home.”
Some games were purely for fun, while others were based on the Bible. On the second day, the OM team shared the biblical story of Noah, and, afterwards, played some interesting games about the oceans.
“My favourite part of the whole programme was that we had a special 'station' where we could do a ‘science club.’ Here we did some experiments and we could compare what happened in the experiments with our day-to-day life,” an OMer said.
The experiments also provided a place for spiritual input. “For example, we used raw and boiled eggs to compare people. From the outside we cannot judge people, because we are all the same. What sets us apart from each other is the way we behave, just as the eggs [react] when we spin them. Also, if we have a glass of water we will see that the boiled egg will sink. If we add salt to the water, the egg will float. It’s just like that with Jesus—if we have Jesus in our life, we will be able to float, but if not, we will sink. It was so interesting for the children to make these analogies and learn in a practical way how Jesus can be a part of our life.”