This week (January 26-30) the church my mother attends, Hillcrest Baptist is reaching out to the local community in an event called Mission Connect 2011. I am very happy to be a part of it! Ever since my mission trip to Chicago with Xtreme Impact (link to site in my blogroll – you can read about that trip at my other blog http://katrir.blogspot.com) in the summer of 2009, I have more than ever seen the need to not just be reaching out to people in far away places, but also be reaching out to people, who need us now in our own area. I am currently reading Acts and it is noteworthy that in chapter one, verse 8 Jesus Christ’s last words to his disciples were to be his witnesses in not just the uttermost parts of the earth but in their own venue of Jerusalem. We would be surprised if we knew how many people in our country have never heard the gospel. Thus, I was very excited when my mother invited me to help out at her church. There was something in the application packet that attracted me. It said, “How can our actions, our life, impact those we see and come in contact with? This mission trio may not take us into another country, cost you thousands of dollars, allow you to pack a bag, sleep on a dirt floor, eat cheese and rice daily and shower in a watering hole once weekly, but it can change your life and impact those around you. The goal of this mission is not just to help others as Jesus did, but also to confirm and realize that God can and will use each and every one of us to accomplish His mission, which is save to the lost. Hopefully you will recognize that God has given you a gift, but He also gave you free will to use that gift. ” I came yesterday ready to use the only gift I know for sure I have, which is the love of God.
We are reaching out to a residential community in North Charleston called Pepperhill by doing a local VBS/Backyard for kindergarten through fifth grade in the evenings. We arrived yesterday at the Pepperhill community center (a park, baseball field and one small community building with a large classroom) to a rain shower. We had planned to have each grade rotate from 6 different stations outside in tented areas which included story time, music and interp, crafts, recreation, prayer, and snack time. If there is one thing though that I have learned in ministry over the years, it’s that you must be flexible. As the rain picked up it became quite clear to our leaders that we would have to make other plans. I was concerned that kids would not show up when it began to sprinkle when we were packing up at the church. When we arrived though, 30 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin, there were already kids and parents waiting, and watching. I helped with registration, which was fun because I got to meet every kid who came in. The leaders decided we would have to keep the groups all in the classroom due to the rain. We started off the event with singing led by the talented youth of Hillcrest, which included lots of hand motions and movements (Like you’ve got you’re J, you’ve got your J…goes on til they spell Jesus)!
The kids loved it. There was just two little boys who were from the group I was assigned to(5th and 6th grade) which sat down the whole time. They admitted they came just for the kick ball time, but thankfully they stayed and managed to have fun later on in the evening. When we were almost done singing, much to our surprise, about a dozen teenagers showed up! We broke the groups up between kindergarten – 2nd, 3rd – 6th grade, and then one of leaders and some of our teens took the group of teenagers outside (they were mostly a tough and I might add large and tall group of boys – they weren’t the least bit worried about the rain 🙂 There were about 10 kids in the group I was helping out with, which was 3rd – 6th and about 10 in the kindergarten – 2nd grade. Luckily, the room was large enough that we could hold the two groups on opposite sides. The 3rd-5th grade child group started out with the story time, which was on David and Goliath. I was amazed at how fascinated these kids were by the story, many of them hearing it for the first time. They also stopped to ask the teacher lots of questions and make commentary along the way! They were amusing.
Then we had prayer time, which the kids were equally enthused about. The next thing we did was music and interp time. The talented youth of Hillcrest taught them this dance, which I absolutely loved. It was Jeff Slaughter’s “Why Don’t You” which is basically John 3:16 sung to a catchy song with dance moves. Even the two kids who told me they just came to play sports really got into it. They were practically screaming the song toward the end. Boy, those kids could move! Then, we had craft time and the kids decorated their own hacky sacks (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacky_Sack).
I was amazed by the creativity of some of the kids. Thankfully, the rain dried up so we could at least run around outside with the kids. The energy kinda wore my body out, but it was fun! We gathered all grades and our surprise group of youth back together for snack time and then all the kids and volunteers joined hands as we prayed over our first day together. It was a beautiful thing to see. That was it for our first day. It was just a very good turn out, especially with the rain. Things were even better today and I saw God moving in the hearts of a couple of these kids, but that blog will have to wait til tomorrow. Ministry with kids is a blast, but I have to admit this Jesus-loving chick is a bit tired.
Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the video above. Thanks to those who uploaded! If you have any problem with sharing, let me know and I will immediately take it down! This is the main song we are teaching the kids which will be performed on the final day. The kids at Pepperhill had better moves and rhythm than they do in this video. I will try to see if I can get a good recording of them before the week is over!