“Aunt Jill, don’t you work at the church now? What do you do?” Those were the questions from my ten year old niece, Ella. When she asked again, I told her she should come to work with me one day. She quickly told me she was available the next day. She and I arrived “at work” around 8:15 the next morning and settled into my office. The first question came before I unlocked my office when she saw the beautiful flowers in the hall. I explained to her that two ladies make the bouquets and others pick them up and take them to people who are homebound. She has visited rehab centers so she understood this concept. She wanted to look around so we took a tour. I showed her the medical equipment room explaining that people donate this equipment and then we loan it out to people who need it. I told her people come every day for medical equipment! She knew one of her grandmother’s neighbors who had just donated equipment. When we got to the kitchen the Egganizers were making egg salad. They told her how they make it for the Good Shepherd House which feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. They also shared that they need more hard-boiled (Must Be PEELED) eggs! While she was working on a project to help Ms.Terri, she saw a boy, close to her age, picking up crutches from the medical equipment room. A little while later the prayer shawl ladies came in my office and asked about me doing a story about chemo caps. Ella learned that all of my stories show what God is doing. They explained to Ella about their prayer shawls and showed her some. Later we visited upstairs to see the pillowcase ministry. She was so surprised that there was a huge sewing room upstairs. She thought the bolts of butterfly fabric and all of the colorful ribbons were beautiful. She saw the ladies making them; cutting, sewing and ironing. They explained the Bible verse on the pillow case and who they go to. On the way back to my office Ella saw my stories printed for people to take. She took the one I had written about camp - which she attended. She read the story and told me she was going to share it at the supper table that night.
All through the day, Ella thanked me for letting her come to work. While I worked she read her book. Before her mom came I asked Ella what she had learned about Pine Valley United Methodist Church. She told me she had learned a lot starting with, “a lot goes on here.” She loved the flower ministry, medical equipment, prayer shawls, chemo caps, pillowcases, stories and Egganizers. We were talking about her wanting to be a teacher one day and I asked her what she would want to do at church. She quickly told me she would want to teach children’s Sunday School. And she wants to make prayer shawls. She also added that she wants to be a camp counselor. “One of those who is very nice to the little kids and always says, ‘I’ll see you again next year!’”
After Ella left I kept thinking about her response to all of the things she learned. I asked her why she thinks those people serve. Her answer was that those people have a passion for helping people. 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” While Ella may not understand the concepts of mercy, love and grace like a mature Christian, she knows the importance of their service. As she grows in Christ, I believe she will see it as a passion for Jesus.
Ella witnessed servants' hearts. Philippians 2:5-11, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” She witnessed people doing for others in the name of Jesus. They were serving others to bring glory to God! She saw people using their gifts to serve others. 1 Peter 4:10-11, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Ella may not understand her own callings yet but she sees me living out mine. She understands that I always loved to write and now I love being in the ministry and writing about God. So many of our stories can be traced back to God working in our lives before we knew it. I shared with her how I wanted to write a book when I was a little girl. I just never knew what I wanted to write about. I had not found my passion. We talked about how God knew before I was born that I was going to write for PVUMC! She understands that God has a plan for our lives.
Through Ella’s eyes I was reminded of our great responsibility to children. We must share the good things that God is doing in our lives and around us! Her desire to be a part of those things warmed my heart. God is already working in her life. When she sees a homeless person, a person with a chemo hat, or visits a rehab center and sees the flowers, she will be reminded of the servants who bring glory to God. Psalm 78:4, “We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Hearing about what Ella saw reminded me of a song we sing in the 9:45 contemporary service called, “Way Maker” by Sinach. It begins, “You are here, You're moving in our midst. I worship You, I worship You. You are here, You’re working in this place. I worship You, I worship You.” God is moving in our midst and, like Ella, we only see a glimpse of what all HE is doing! God is working in this place! Through our many ministries, hearts are being connected to Christ and one another!