A letter to a Children's ministry worker

You may not remember me. You may not know what my home life was like and the family I came from. Or you might know everything about me. But I want to thank you. I want to thank you for investing your time, your energy and your life into mine.
Thank you.
It was so long ago, 27 years or so, that I hopped down the brown tile stairs to the basement of the Nazarene church. I can still remember the smell of homemade playdough, glue and construction paper. I remember standing there saying my memory verses to you, putting the sticker on the chart and watching the story unfold on the flannel-graph.
Thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to prepare the lesson, to be patient with me while my little fingers and hands figured out the scissors and to sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army” every Sunday because the 3 year olds love yelling “Yes sir!”
I remember, I think I was 5 or 6, working on a skit and song for a talent contest. I am surprised sometimes that my mom let me go on a trip to the little church in Lyons. I think of that trip every time we drive by. I remember praying the night before we all slept there. And I remember the prayer of one young lady…she prayed for you not to be afraid because you had just lost your baby. I don’t remember anything else that was said and I’m not even sure I understood at that moment what it meant, but I remember you. I remember you sitting there surrounded by the youth, with tears in your eyes…grieving your loss and being with us. As a mother who has lost 4 children, the fact that you were even there is more profound to me…more meaningful and significant. Thank you for being there in your time of loss to be there for us, the youth who so admired you and were blessed by you.
Thank you.
I still have the Christmas ornament you made for us one year. I hang it on my tree every year and I tell my children about the children’s ministry worker who invested in me. Who helped build the foundation of my faith, in the middle of the turmoil of my life, but who invested in me…who believed I was worth it. And I send up a prayer of thanks for you and the impact you had, whether you knew it or not.
Thank you.
I think of you every time I tell my faith story. Because of the time you invested in me (and the prayers I believe of my grandparents and great grandparents), the teaching, the prayers you offered on my behalf, I knew God’s word was true when I was very young. I trusted in Him early on.
Thank you.
I moved when I was 8. I came less often and eventually stopped all together. But you had a lasting impact on my life. We would occasionally see each other in passing. I always remembered you and how you made me feel. I think seriously, that if you had not been willing to spend the time you did teaching me and investing in my life I would have a very different faith life. In those 8 years you had more impact on me and my life than any other youth worker I had after.
Thank you.
I couldn’t appreciate it then like I can now, both as a mother and a children’s ministry worker myself. There are days when I am exhausted and the thought of voluntarily caring for a room full of preschoolers seems just more than I can handle. And I think of you. I don’t remember the lessons necessarily, but I think of you, how you made me feel and I can recognize it now…how you lived your faith in front of my eyes every time I saw you. You put your belief into action. You believed children, that we, were blessings. You believed in investing in the next generation, in helping us grow up in faith, and you were obedient to God’s call. You showed it every time you came. Every time you gave a hug or high five and every time you bowed your head and prayed with us…thanking God for each one. You lived it and that’s what I remember. You were one of the first people I saw who showed me what it meant to serve Christ.
I’m sure it wasn’t always glorious, it wasn’t appreciated like it should have been and that there were times when you were just plain exhausted and wanted to stay home. But you came, you taught and you cared. ¬†For that, I am ever thankful. And I wanted you to know that you made a difference to me.
Thank you.

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