On Sunday we met a sweet young couple that is loving Jesus and making a difference here in Abilene. They live in a cute little duplex and currently have their uncle, who has Down Syndrome, living with them. Their threesome is pretty hilarious. We were able to spend some time in their home this past week and enjoyed sharing our hearts and visions for our futures as well as enjoy some fun board games – one of our favorite things!
During this time together we got a little glimpse into their hearts and loved how much they love each other and seek to follow Jesus. On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to serve alongside Mark and Kaylene and was “WOWed” by what they do with the children at their church. I have a heart to see kids connecting to Jesus and learning how to interact with Him in real, personal ways. The majority of kid’s ministries that I’ve been a part of or observed in the past 7 years try but fail. Kids are always getting in trouble, expected to fit into a certain mold, told to do motions to songs, asked to sit and listen, etc. The older kids might complain of coming and the parents might be scared to let the younger ones come. Granted, I know their children’s program isn’t perfect, but I do believe it is the best I’ve witnessed!
I arrived and before too long was playing air-hockey with a mid elementary age boy. We played and had a nice conversation as other kids played dodge ball, talked about their weeks, and rode little cars around the room. In the middle of our game the boy said, “It is time, we gotta go.” He proceeded to put our supplies up and turn off the table – telling me he knew how to do it. I turned around and all the kids were in the middle of picking up their toys and standing in a line in front of a door. No one yelled and I’m not sure who told them it “was time.” But, they all knew. I then noticed that everyone was standing in a line and getting pretty quiet. I watched as they proceeded into their worship room with quite mouths. Within a few minutes these kids were worshiping Jesus with their voices. Some did motions, others danced, and some boys worshiped sitting down. They were invited to partake in all types of worship styles. It was a beautiful thing. The evening proceeded and I was amazed at the children’s attentive, alert minds: the older girls gathered around a friend that was having a tough week and prayed Scripture over her, the guys let the girls get their snacks first, time was scheduled for the kids to have fun hanging out with each other, and their learning time was active and engaging.
It was a pretty remarkable experience. Mark and Kaylene love Jesus and are having a huge impact in the lives of these children. They listen to them, encourage them, pray for them, and help their parents know how to lead their own children closer to the heart of God. It isn’t just the kids who they are a witness to, but their parents and other adults in the church who watch their compassionate hearts lead people closer to our Father. So after our game night and watching them in action with the kids, I’m even more convinced of their contagious love and joy that is spilling into the lives of the people in Abilene, TX.