Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Reflection

This year I was able to participate in a wonderful new tradition(at least I hope it becomes a tradition) at our Church. Trinity UMC adopted Ruston Elementary school for Christmas. We as a church purchased books and Sweatshirts for everystudent.  Small groups, Sunday school classes and other groups connected with the church adopted individual classes and were supposed to throw a party for the class.  Our small group got to work with Mrs. Garner's 5th grade class.

I was able to go meet the teacher and the students in late Novemeber. I took pictures of the students and found out that they are a group of kids that likes to read. I told them how we wanted to make Ruston a better place and that we couldn't think of a better way than for us to make a difference in the youth of our community. Since they are the future of Ruston.  We made a prayer sheet of the class so our small group could pray for the students. 

It was exciting discussing with our small group what we were going to do for the party and what else did we want to get for the students besides books and a sweatshirt.  So we opted to get a bunch of school supply refills that Mrs. Garner mentioned, and we also ordered a 100 books from Sch0lastic Books so each kid got 5 books. There were some grammer board games Mrs. Garner mentioned that we got for her too.  

The party was fun.  We had 3 stations set up. One for decorating and eating cupcakes. Another for playing a Christmas Bingo game, and the last one for decorating an ornament with their picture on it.   We told stories and then handed out the gifts.  I got to over hear one of the students saying how impressed she was.  She thought it was going to be some kind of cheap gifts. She really appreciated the nice sweatshirt.

I kept the prayer sheet on my desk in my office and would pray for them as we approached the day of the party. I had hoped that I would remember a few of the kids names at the party (no such luck). The thing that may seem really simple, but made a big impression on me was while we were gathering in the hallway outside the office to prepare the party.  A bunch of the students that I had met from Mrs. Garner's class weeks before recognized me and remembered my name.  It was amazing to me that such a little investment of time and they were able to remember me.  I hope that more than them remembering me that they know that the creator of the universe cares for them much more than I was able to show them in these few short visits.

Also the other thing that left a big impression on me was that all 450 students in each class at the entire school was having a similar experience as we were having in Mrs. Garner's class.  It was special to watch my friends care for these students in Mrs. Garner's class and knowing the same was going on all over the school was awesome. There were so many people at Ruston Elementary school serving and loving on the students that parking was a problem. They were constantly announcing over the intercom for someone to move their vehicle.  It was an amazing experience to participate in.

I wasn't a leader in making this outreach happen, but for whatever reason I felt very connected to what happened. Maybe it was that I got to do the interviews for a video to promote this project, maybe it was that I was able to meet the students and Mrs. Garner one extra time, or maybe it was the prayer sheet with all the kids faces.  Whatever it was, this will be one part of Christmas I hope to remember.

Here is the video I produced to promote this outreach.

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