Thursday, February 12, 2009
Today was AWESOME!!!!!
We had our monthly, PlayDate with a Purpose today and it was AMAZING!!!!
We went to the Orlando Rescue Mission which houses homeless families and helps them get on their feet. We had the opportunity to throw a Valentines Party for the 30 kids who live there right now (ages 3-5th grade with some middle schoolers sneaking in =) + our kiddos too! (It was Brooke, Theresa, Jaci and I from church along with Brooke's sweet MIL and our new friend, Emmy and our 16 kids combined. . though lots of them were big helpers!)
We got there a bit early to really set up and decorate. Our goal was to make these children feel special today, to make them understand just a small taste of the goodness of the God who adores them.
We started off with an adorable craft that Brooke picked out! It was super cute and required RIDICULOUS hours of work (though she'll deny that!) to cut out 100 little hearts!
Next, we gathered the kiddos around to talk about LOVE and what it looks like. We then talked about how we don't always feel loved even though we know that there is a God who loves us all the time. We spent time learning Zephaniah 3:17 together which is a beautiful picture of how God loves us. (do you know this verse? The Lord Your God is with you, He is MIGHTY to save, He will take great DELIGHT in you, He will quiet you with His LOVE and REJOICE over you with SINGING") Doesn't that just sound like a Hallmark card? The kids were so cute learning it together and I had a BLAST!
While I was teaching, a couple of the other moms set us up for the next section of the party: COOKIES! Frosting and decorating them to be exact (BIG thanks to Jaci and her kiddos who spent the whole day making 100 cookies!)
Can I just tell you that this was an AMAZING day? It was so fun to be able to spend time with these precious ones. Jaci commented later about how throughout the party she would look down at a little one and realize they were "homeless" and tear up. It certainly changes the face of homelessness. It also was a wonderful reminder of our old "Y" days. I'm not even sure if I've ever told you guys about that, but we used to run a small group Bible study program at the local YMCA during their afterschool session. I did this for 3 years and LOVED my kiddos. Jaci was one of our small group leaders at the time and we just kept smiling at each other today b/c it brought back our wonderful memories.
I talked to Brooke later and she commented, "I'm on a high or something and I can't come down!" This is exactly how we all felt. It was just a WONDERFUL day. We LOVED our time spent with the kids and are already talking about making it a monthly outing. Heck, our kids are always begging for fun things to do so why not make our "fun thing" also meaningful by building relationships with kids who could use another caring adult to be Jesus' hands and feet to them (in kid language that's read: hugs, smiles and games!).
I STRONGLY recommend calling YOUR local shelter and asking about throwing a party for the in-residence kids. I'm sorry we didn't blog this idea sooner so that you could do a Valentines Party!!
God is so good. . . I know I'm gushing at this point, but it was just a GOOD DAY!