What’s Your Story?

by Jennifer Wilder

New friends learn about each other by connecting through stories. One person shares a recent experience, which triggers a memory in the other person who recalls a similar situation, and voila! Bonds are created, familiarity grows, and we begin to know and be known.

Through the email address, mystory@rethinkgroup.org, it is Orange’s aim to connect with you, learn from you, and get to know you. We want to hear how you are using Orange strategies, how your community is responding to Orange curriculums, how partnering with parents is changing your church. Consider sharing your story with us so we can get to know you.

Recently, the Orange staff was encouraged by Kathy from Addison, Ill., who connected with us to share her family’s story.

“A friend invited me to go to Mission Church in Bloomingdale, Ill., a year ago. I didn’t have much to do that weekend so I asked my husband if he’d like to go. Why not? We didn’t have anything else to do.

“As soon as we walked in, we were immediately struck by the friendliness of the group of people that were going to take care of our four-year-old son while we enjoyed our first church service. I didn’t really know what to think about someone teaching my son about God and Jesus. Honestly, I didn’t know how I felt about my learning about God and Jesus.

“Later, we picked up our son and asked him how he liked his day. He explained to us that Jesus had turned water into party juice and at that point, my husband was sold.

“My head was swirling as we got into the car after our first church experience in many years. My husband looked at me and said, “Do you want to come back next week?”

“I couldn’t even believe we had gone to a church, but we loved it. As the day progressed, I found myself looking on my phone at the church’s website and found the family ministry page. I read through the newsletter and tried to imagine myself as someone who would have these conversations with my son.

“The past year has brought many conversations into our home. We have made dinner a time where we sit and talk about the kind things we did for others throughout the day. We share what we’re thankful for and add it to our thankful tree. And we think about the things that we need help with.

“Just before Easter last year, the church asked for more volunteers to help facilitate an extra service. I didn’t feel like I was a visitor anymore, so I signed up. As a full-time teacher of 13 years, I thought I would be able to lend my experience to the family ministry. My heart and my faith have grown through these volunteer opportunities. Every other weekend, I work with a small group of children. It’s during this time that I’ve learned some of the big ideas of the Christian faith. I have learned how to pray, how to talk to God. I have stumbled through the Bible, and questioned what I have read. I heard the Christmas story with new eyes ears and heart.

“One night I asked my son, ‘Who helps you do big things?’
‘God,’ he answered.
‘So, what big things does He help you do?’
‘Move big trucks!’ he said.

“Obviously he was going to need an example.

“‘Do you know what He helps me with?’ I asked. ‘He helps me when I am not feeling like I am very good at something. I talk to Him and He reminds me that I am good at other things, and that makes me feel better.’

“After a second, he said, ‘Oh, I get it, Mommy. Like you’re not that good at making pancakes, but you are really good at love.’

“Every time I struggle a bit, I think about that and smile. I might not be great at making pancakes, but I love people. And honestly, that is what I think Jesus would want me to remember. Love.”

If you have a ministry story you’d like to share, contact us at mystory@rethinkgroup.org. We’d love to connect and get to know you.

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