The day God gave the disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit is celebrated as Pentecost. It also marks the birth of the church. God gave the disciples the gift of language to go to all ends of the earth to spread His message, the gospel. We all are called as His disciples to go forth and share Him in our words and in our actions.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
We visit, we educate, we laugh, we share, we sometimes cry but, as disciples, our mission is to bring Christ to these children. We always bring it with our actions and words; sometimes we bring the church and our beautiful sanctuary directly into their lives.
Recently, while helping a young lady acquire Social Security Card and state identification card, we asked what she wanted to do after school. To our astonishment she said “I want to be a nurse, but how can I get your job? I would like to help kids like me too.” She didn’t believe us that we were volunteers and we didn’t get paid, monetarily anyway, for helping her. She realized that we were helping her because of a higher calling, because we cared.
God moves souls. God brings us together for all the right reasons. A few months, ago one of our ministers set up a half day retreat at St Patrick with the help of the Life Teen Core Team. It was sold to me as a “Beautifully Broken” retreat with lots of learning, friendship, and sharing, and touchy-feely things that left me a bit anxious about the event. Keep in mind that we were inviting girls from two different homes who sometimes didn’t get along that well, to put it mildly. We all met at the church early on Saturday morning, not the happiest of groups that early in the morning. My apprehension grew in those first minutes, not really knowing how this all would play out. The first exercise was a “Get to Know you” game mixed with musical chairs. I was ready for anything, except what happened. The girls had fun–more than fun–learning about each other and about the women who were helping and running the day’s festivities. The room was alive with their sharing and laughing. My heart was so filled with joy, and all of the apprehension evaporated in an instant. The remainder of the day went the same way: tremendous amounts of love and more than a few tears. Everyone was saddened when the day came to an end, with tears and hugs all around. God was within the walls of our Holy Ground. He was evident in all who attended that day.
A few weeks later, three of the young ladies from the retreat also joined the Life Teen retreat in Payson. They were strangers amongst the campers, with worried looks on their faces as we waited with them prior to boarding the busses. That was not the way they got off the busses on their return. The children of our parish welcomed them, showed them God’s love, demonstrating that they are welcome, that all are welcome. And that our parish will reach out to be there for them. This experience has changed the lives of these three young women. I see it every time I am with these three girls. Their smile is a little broader, their hugs a little stronger, and they have expanded their lives beyond the four walls of the group home.
I thank God every day for this parish, for this holy building, for I have seen the face of God here in these “Beautifully Broken” children and in the wonderful children of the parish.
Thanks to the St Patrick Life Teen Core Team! You all rock!
I would like to give a special thank you to Jen, Kelli, Meagan and Laura for their inspiration and willingness to share stories and Jen’s book with the girls.
We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.
That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.