From the Children’s Ministry…

“Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11

As you have probably heard in a past children’s sermon, when I was twenty-five years old I served as a Christian Service Corp Volunteer for a month in the summer. My father had died suddenly of a heart attack the year before, in my presence. I was still healing emotionally. My assignment was to a camp in Virginia. I
had never camped in my life. I don’t know how much you know about the woods of Virginia, but, while beautiful, they are full of challenges. I am convinced that the original tick colony of the United States is in the Virginia woods. To say that they live in abundance there is a true understatement. Late June and early July is a hot, thunderstorm-ridden time in Virginia. We had to wear jeans and hats at all times to try to keep the ticks off (as we soon found out, you can’t keep ticks off your body in the woods of Virginia).

We cooked all of our meals on a small gas camping stove and ate under the trees. Every single meal included pulling out our pocket knives (I had wondered why they were required) and killing the ticks that fell on our food.

Our job was to clear out the trees and brush to create a camp. I can tell you anything you want to know about wood. There were a lot of those trees in the area we were to clear. Our nighttime ritual included clearing the spiders off our cots and securing our tents to the platforms so that animals could not get in during the night.
The bathrooms were about 50 yards up the hill from our tents. The shower was a cold water shower with no roof. Ticks would fall on us as we showered. I was miserable, emotionally and physically and I wasn’t even one week into my month-long commitment! It was during one of our mid day devotional times that I opened my Bible to Philippians 4:11. That verse became my mantra that summer. I survived (and even learned to enjoy) my time at camp. That verse has stayed with me and helped me get through many other rough times in my life. I leaned on that verse when I had difficult classes and felt as if I were going into a battle every day as I went to work. I leaned on that verse when I broke my ankle and spent most of six weeks in a recliner. And I am leaning on that verse during this period of social distancing.

I wish I could tell you that I have used this time to clean my house from top to bottom, sew masks, complete knitting projects and such, but I can’t. I have done some of those things, but what I have done the most of is to spend some time with my mother. This time of quarantine has been extremely hard on her as her greatest joy in life is eating out and shopping. Hopefully, I will get some things accomplished, but I am learning to be content in this time with her.

I desperately miss this time with the Parkway family, especially the Parkway children. I am looking forward to visiting with them through Zoom. As I write this, I am planning our first session for this coming Saturday. It will be a time of learning. I am sure that there will be adjustments after this first meeting. I anticipate having multiple meetings for different age groups with age appropriate discussions and lessons. As with all things, what we do will in large part be guided by the interests and needs of the children. I look forward to the day when we can safely be back together!

I hope that all of you are well and content. I hope that you are finding joy in time with your family and with God. I also hope that you are keeping your Parkway family in your heart and in your prayers. Linda King sent me a text recommending I check out a book, “The Invisible String”. I haven’t read the book yet, but have ordered it. The idea of the book is that we are all connected by an invisible string that is love. I would add that we are bound by the invisible string that is God. We are a family of faith. During this time apart, pull that string tight and keep your Parkway family close, especially those who are alone and those who are on the front lines of this battle. Stay safe! I hope to see you all soon!