Saturday, the day that our week is coming closer to the end but today was a special day also. Why? Well, all week we have been going out and helping canvas by giving out flyers for the Kid’s Club ministry. Going door to door trying to share the awesome stuff Kids club had going on, a back-to-school bash with bouncy houses, free school supplies and most importantly the chance for kids to get to experience and hear about Jesus!
Saturday was here and after doing all the ground work to get kids there, the time was here to see how many kids would come. As we woke up early to prepare for the day and get the Dream center ready to have all these young guns running around, we started with prayer. Something we’ve seen time and time again this week, if we start with prayer in all we do, when we take our requests to God, it doesn’t take long to see how faithful and good our God is to answer us and strengthen us for what He’s called us to. The lesson learned here all week and on Saturday was prayer first, go to God and then go. Things get real wild when you put God before your actions of “GO”, I’m telling ya from personal experience this week and watching the students live this out as well, this truth changed EVERYTHING!!!
Before I get into the day at the back to school bash, I want to briefly share with you just the magnitude of what Kid’s club does and has done through the years. I got to talking to volunteers that had been working there for years. The kids club has been around for over 20 years now, they have made a point to go into some of the roughest, most broken areas to take Jesus to kids. That’s it, kids who grow up in what seems like sometimes impossible circumstances, they step out on faith to take them Jesus, the only One who can meet their needs. It’s amazing to see the affects of all the many seeds planted over the years and how it’s impacted the community.
We had the chance to meet several people who are adults now but used to be one of the kids reached by the kids club. One of the coolest stories although there is so many, is with a guy named Daisean. Had the chance to meet Daisean yesterday and hear his story, I asked him, “how did you get into serving with the Kids club?” He told me about he started coming to kids club when he was 5 and just had been investing more and more ever since. He said, “as much as kids club has changed my life, I volunteer to help kids in a rough spot have that same experience with Jesus.”
A kid had his life changed by some random people planting seeds years ago, now he’s one of those people planting seeds!!! Daggum, isn’t God GOOD!!! Daisean faced a situation that a lot of these kids face now, an almost impossible environment to break through. The thing is though, these kids don’t deserve this, they are just there in that environment of darkness and until they have random strangers come into their lives telling them about Jesus, they don’t even know there’s another way!!! That’s what makes the kids club and the Dream Center as a whole such a special ministry, they don’t sit around and wait for someone to be those faithful few, they step out and are those faithful few, and it makes the difference in a life lost and a life lived with, for, and through Jesus Christ.
The volunteers continued to tell me of all these kids go through and their responses broke me. How could this kind of evil and hurt even be possible? I would list off the different things I heard about their circumstances but just look down the street or somewhere in your area because the sad thing is, these needs are literally all around us. It’s convicting to see the magnitude of hurt going on in the world but seeing the magnitude of what God has done and continues to do excites me and gives me full confidence in how Lakeland will continue to grow.
After going house to house all week, seeing the need and hurt that these kids go through, when we picked them up Saturday, it was like God had been preparing our hearts all week to love you on them. The students were split up into groups as some got on the busses to go pick the kids up. The students had the chance to greet each child as they got on the bus and begin building a relationship with them that would really mean the world to them.
The kids club ended up having a great turnout and with possible rain showers the Lord thankfully held those off. It was crazy as the kids got on the bus and went inside to eat their pop-tart and fruit breakfast, just how quickly they were attached with the students and leaders. It was neat too seeing how the students and leaders were serving them and being intentional with them, that was it, all they needed was to be loved on and some attention, then they followed us around all day as your little buddy. It’s like you spend five minutes with a kid and then they won’t let you go the rest of the day. I myself had this experience with a couple of kids but everywhere I went I could see students walking with a little kid hand-in-hand, or just seeing the kid run up and hug them. It was little moments like that, moments that would break your heart into a million pieces. For one, you wonder what they face at home, are they given attention, are they loved and cared for, so many questions could be asked but unfortunately there wasn’t many that didn’t face these battles.
It was quite an experience for the students and leaders alike to serve and love on these kids all morning. Seeing the complete joy ok kids faces and getting to plant seeds of Gods love in their lives, there is nothing better than this.
The back-to-school bash in itself was an awesome time! They had set up all kinds of different things to first off, have fun with these kids and build relationships with them where they would want to continue coming back. Also, they shared Jesus with the kids in couple of different creative ways. It was so unique and creative to see how they brought together fun by getting four bouncy houses and different activities outside for the kids. And yes, I said FOUR! Then they had bags set aside for each kid that contained tons of school supplies for the upcoming school year. For most of these kids, their parents sent them specifically for this reason. But besides the school supplies being given out which met a great need for them, the kids got way more than they bargained for as the kids club leaders led a lesson about “Never Stop Praying” with a visual example from Finding Nemo where Dory says, “never stop swimming.” This was a fun and creative way for these kids to get introduced to Jesus and why they should always be prayerful in all they do. This lesson goes right into how I started this message, take everything to God all the time no matter what the situation. They also had a little craft that went right with the lesson from Finding Nemo as they made a fish on construction paper and the Dream center had put the verse at the bottom;
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
So the kids went home happier than they could be, they received school supplies, friendship and love, and most of all they received the Good News of Jesus which is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. The students were definitely humbled and had their perspectives change quite a bit from seeing what these kids had to deal with on the daily. They also got to experience sharing God’s love with kids who may not know much about Him. It really does not get any better than that.
After the long morning then the kids leaving at lunch, we hung out all afternoon and ended up going to Downtown Disney with the students. It was definitely a treat as we all enjoyed the sights and sounds of what being in “Disney country” is like. It was mostly shops and music so we just walked til we couldn’t walk anymore and right before leaving, we decided to leave our mark. We saw this area of people dancing in front of a live band so we were challenged by Pastor Matthew to “bring the party.” Oh and did we ever bring it!!! It was wild and a ton of fun to end our last night in Florida. The last day is coming up and as sad as that makes me, its what must happen. Can’t wait to share the final Dream Center Gold with you tomorrow and also stay tuned for a God Gold outtakes from the Dream Center trip! It’s all the stuff that might have been left out for the moment!
I leave you with this challenge for today, be those faithful few that step out to serve others Gods love, not the few that sit around and wait until someone else does! Kids lives are more important than our comfort. If that makes you feel a certain type of way, good because it makes me feel that too, that’s what the reality we face will do to ya! I ask you pray for myself and our youth group as well in this challenge too as I know it can be tough at times, but together we can be a faithful many that attacks Gods mission with all God has given us.