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Pastor's Message

Pastor Jody Silliker

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I never would have guessed I’d see the day that we had so many children in Sunday School that we would need to divide them into two groups, with age-appropriate material for each. One of the things we have been working on with all the kids is helping them to identify at least one of their gifts.

We start by telling them that gifts are those things that a person really enjoys doing, or something that comes easy to them, something they might do a little better than many other people do. We explain that God gives each one of us gifts, and the gifts are always given to us so that we can share them with others. Then each child is challenged to name their gift. In return, we honor the gift and give them a way to share it.

One child, who had been knitting in church using two pencils, identified her gift as knitting. We got her knitting needles and yarn. The next week she presented us with a dish cloth she had made.

Some of our kids decided their gift was art or coloring. The youngest received coloring books and crayons which they immediately put to use creating pictures for us to hang on the bulletin board. I love one hand drawn picture that features the rows of “angles” who watch over children. On top is a cloud labeled "God" from which issue the words, “I’m watching you Ty’lisa.”

One boy identified his gift as the ability to play football. We interpreted that as God having given him a strong healthy body. We gave him exercise bands to build strength and a hacky-sack to build agility. He shares his gift by helping the sexton clean the church after worship.

One Sunday a child held my face and greeted me with great excitement, “I know my gift!” She, as well as two other girls, are writers. They each got a journal and a fancy pen. This is what the kids wrote for this newsletter:

  • “I love you to God. Dear God, Thank you so much. I am happy u in my life. Thank you for looking out for my family. Thank you God for helping my mom with are Christmas stuff. We mite not got a lot of stuff because my mom got a lot of kids but she made sure we had some. So thank you Lord for making that happen. I want to say thank you for my book. God I love you in always will. Thank you for making me in my family.”
  • “Dear God. I know you help my mom with us and I am thankful for that. But sometime I wish my mom would have a little more help with us …I wish my mom could buy herself stuff…My mom love us God and she love you. She go to church now. We love the church we go to. They make us very happy…[church members are] very nice and loveable and we are happy you put them in are life God.”
  • What I love about church is that we get to play downstairs and that you preach good. And I also like that y’all give us breakfast in the morning and snacks after church. P.S. And I’m lucky to have two pastors.”
  • One created an eight-page illustrated booklet entitled “A Book About God.” My favorite page says, “God don’t want us to take stuff that don’t belong to us because that is call stilling!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It took a lot of time to help the children understand that when we spoke about gifts, we weren’t talking about presents. I’m pretty good at explaining it to them. But I can’t begin to tell them what a gift they are to me and that their offerings are presents I treasure.

In Gratitude and Advent Joy,
Pastor Jody