We are currently working on Pinewood Derby cars with the EMS kids. The idea of Pinewood Derby cars came about a month ago when we realized the kids needed something positive to do with their hands. Between snow storms and broken saws, we’re making some progress. This week we finally got the cars cut out and the kids were tasked with the grueling work of sanding them.

Some kids were in and out of the workshop in minutes. Their cars are likely going to look like rough cut wood. A few kids took their time. This was the first time in the process of making these cars that the kids held something in their hands that they had a part in creating. Multiple kids asked me to make some additional cuts or tweaks, many more looked for praise as they deliberately worked to get every rough edge off their car.

We have some kids are EMS that are full of energy, as in they never sit still, and rarely stop talking. For one of those kids, sanding his car seemed to soothe him. When everyone else quit sanding and moved on to games and homework, this child stayed put. I let him know he was going to miss games, and to my surprise he kept sanding. “I want the smoothest car,” he said. Later I told him he’d miss dessert and again he said, “I just want my car to look the best, and be the fastest.” He showed me his car multiple times and asked for my opinion on its smoothness. I finally had to coerce him out of the wood shop because it was past time to leave. He reluctantly left, but followed me around asking me how he did, and if I thought his car had a chance. I told him I was proud of him for his hard work. He smiled. It was one of the first genuine smiles I have seen from him.

While I long for this child to experience salvation, I know that this brief moment in the wood shop was a sign of hope. My prayer is that this child will encounter Jesus and experience the real joy of hearing God say, “You are my child, I love you, I forgive you, and I’m proud of you.”